The Rams missed out on the playoffs last season after their Super Bowl run the previous season. Getting back will be tougher this season with some key players leaving and playing in the killer NFC West.
Odds to win NFC West: +500
Odds to win NFC: +1600
Odds to win Super Bowl: +3300
Key Additions: The Rams did not make any big additions in the off-season and they did not have a first-round pick in the last draft. They did have two second-round picks taking versatile RB Cam Akers and WR Van Jefferson.
Key Losses: The team lost former Offensive Player of the Year RB Todd Gurley, who has 54 TD in the last three seasons. The team also lost WR Brandin Cooks, DE Dante Fowler, who had 11.5 sacks last season, and K Greg Zuerlein. The big loss may be LB Cory Littleton, who led the team with 134 tackles last season.
The Rams finished 9-7 last season and while Gurley has had knee issues the last couple of seasons he was still a workhorse in the backfield.
Cam Akers may take the starting RB right away and Malcolm Brown is the leading returning rusher and he only had 255 rushing yards last season averaging 3.7 yards per carry.
Jared Goff passed for over 4,600 yards last season but only had 22 TD to go along with 16 INT. The WR duo of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods each had over 1,100 receiving yards last season and TE Tyler Higbee blew up at the end of last season with 43 receptions for 522 yards in the last five games.
Goff took a lot of heat last season even though he put up big numbers. He had a QBR of 86.5 last season while it was over 100 in his previous two seasons where he combined for 60 TD.
He needs to get back to playing as he did in the Rams’ playoff years and get the team to the end zone more often.
Goff has the weapons, but can Akers shoulder the RB load? L.A. will need more balance than last season when they ranked fourth in the league in passing yards per game while only ranking 26th in rushing yards per game.
New Faces On Defense
The Rams’ defense still has Pro Bowlers Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, but there will be many new faces on that side of the ball playing for first-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley.
The Rams have a solid secondary and even with Donald up front L.A. struggled against the run last season.
The losses of Littleton and Fowler, who combined for 15 sacks and 192 tackles last season, are big ones and Staley has to find a way to replace their production.
The Rams play all four teams in the NFC East in their first four games. They start the season tough opening with the Cowboys and then hit the road in their next two games to play the Eagles and Bills.
The Rams were only 1-3 against the Seahawks and 49ers last season and that has to change this season.
Prediction: I see the Rams being around 9-7 again but they will not be able to finish ahead of the 49ers or Seahawks. Still, with the extra team this season from both conferences in the post-season the Rams may slip in.
I don’t see that happening though, as the Rams are good but there will be some growing pains with many new defensive players and for the second straight season the Rams will miss the playoffs.