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Los Angeles Rams Vs. Arizona Cardinals: Perspective Outlook Heading Into Bye For 5-2 NFC West-Leading Rams

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Here’s how things look headed into what should be a restful bye week.

Los Angeles Rams Vs. Arizona Cardinals
Los Angeles Rams Vs. Arizona Cardinals
Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Rams departed London, England, on the back of their Week 7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, 33-0.

Today, they’re looking down at the rest of the NFC West after seven games headed into a bye week to rest up and summon a new source of momentum to begin November football heading toward the weeks of playoff pushes and seeding.

New times.

Here’s how things look headed into the bye.

Injuries

The one major injury from yesterday was C John Sullivan who got his leg rolled up on early in the third quarter. Sounds like perhaps it might not be too bad:

The other issue coming out of yesterday was WR Josh Reynolds sustaining a concussion among the first plays of the game.

Performance Issues

Hard to find a ton when you win 33-0, but there are two key technical issues that I could see having a big effect in a couple of games down the stretch as the impact and pressure of late season football magnifies these kinds of problems.

One is the flippancy with which Rams Head Coach Sean McVay uses timeouts. Clearly, there’s not a high value put on preserving them or ensuring that playcalls are adequately provided backups and audibles and hot routes and all the other varieties of options to avoid burning timeouts early. The Rams used all three of their timeouts in the first half with more than 11 minutes left in the second quarter. Extremely fortunately, the Rams avoided paying a price for doing so by converting a two-minute drill for a touchdown and then converting a subsequent interception for a half-ending field goal. But I’m sure we could all envision a different set of circumstances in the weeks ahead where burning those timeouts ends up burning the Rams when it matters most.

The second issue is the lack of a consistent pass rush without having to employ blitzers. Against an offense as limited as the Cardinals especially once QB Drew Stanton was in the game, the Rams avoided the price to pay for bringing extra defenders to attack the QB out of the defensive zone. Better offenses though won’t be as inept. Adding fifth or even sixth rushers leaves tons of space for better QBs to exploit. Much like the timeout issue, the Rams not only got away with it on Sunday; they couldn’t have asked to avoid less punishment then they received.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we’re talking about one of these two issues as a major factor for a loss ahead.

Standings

2017 NFC West Standings After Week 7
2017 NFC West Standings After Week 7

That Week 14 & 15 duo of the home game against the 5-1 Philadelphia Eagles followed by the road game against the Seattle Seahawks is shaping up to be a season-defining duo.

One thing to keep in mind with the Seahawks? Their bye week has already come and gone as they prep to play three of their next four at home. Should they come out of that without a winning record, I’ll feel even better about the divisional outlook with late road contests against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys remaining in Weeks 14 & 16.

While I’ve failed to get these perspective recaps up following games like the last two years (yeah, I forgot), we can start looking around the conference after Week 8 as playoff standings come into view and the fight for the postseason begins in earnest.