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Los Angeles Rams: The Season To Come - Part 1

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When the NFL sets its game schedule each year, a course is plotted, and the twists and turns ahead for teams begins to etch itself on a broad map. Odds maker start punching in the data into their betting GPS, while fans guess the path to Super Bowl nirvana for their favorite NFL franchise...

The Los Angeles Rams have a borderline tough schedule. In truth, this can be a stretch in both directions. I guess it depends on how you want to look at it? A long time owner of rose colored glasses when it comes to the Rams, I tend to bend toward seeing that oh-so-perfect world for the team I’ve followed for decades. On the flip side, there’ll be the fans who I classify in the “We’re all going to die...”, “I want to be the one who told you so...” body of folks who I’ve never quite understood?

Looking down the 2017 NFL road, brings to mind the lead in song for the last episode each TV season for: “Super Natural”...

Hey! I don’t make fun of you who watch “Survivor”, or re-runs of “The Apprentice”... Do I tease Joe McAtee about his watching past episodes of “Hanna Montana”? Er, uh... OK, I do, but that’s not the point... Where was I?

The thing is, this little video kind of speaks to what the Rams have been through to this point, if you look at the 2012 to now period of time. Young players-o’-plenty, they’ve rode their relocation-black Impala down the back roads of the NFL trying to kill off the franchise’s mediocrity demons...

The schedule for the 2017 NFL season for the Los Angeles Rams looks to have both exciting portent, and doom-ish qualities to it. Let’s take a look:

Week 1 - The Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles smacks of a win-able game for the Rams. I don’t think it will go down in the NFL annals as a well played game. Notorious for being kind of slow out the gate during the Jeff Fisher era, a completely altered defense - the Wade Phillips 3-4 - will face a Colts’ quarterback on the mend from shoulder surgery. Should Andrew Luck come out firing passes like earlier in his career, it could be a long day for the Rams defense. The kicker here, is if Jared Goff finds his NFL footing, and the Rams offensive line can create lanes for Todd Gurley. Lots of “if-s” here, with potential for post-game “shoulda, coulda-s”...

Final score: Rams win: 16-13

Week 2 - At home for a second week, Los Angeles will face Washington. New Rams head coach Sean McVey’s former team will ride into town with an edge. Once again, it comes down to a quarterback for the opposing team: Kirk Cousins. Rams fans should begin to see if Phillip’s defense was a smart move. All eyes will be on the L.A. linebacker corp, where Alec Ogletree leads a thin, suspect group into uncharted waters. Redskins tight end Jordan Reed will tell the tale...

Final score: Washington: 27-17

Week 3 - As a Rams fan, that “City by the Bay” has a history filled with highs and lows. The longest running, twice a year NFL rivalry represents more to experienced Rams fans than to newer ones. Quite honestly, if the Rams can’t get to the post season each year, true Rams fan eyes shift squarely to the two games these two teams play during a season. Not for the first time, both franchises won’t be top quality when they face off. In a kind of bizarre shift, it’s the San Francisco 49ers losing the best quarterback question here. Jared Goff will face one of the weaker defenses he’ll face all season, and the Rams defense has a one dimensional offense to challenge them.

Like last season, I think this will be a Todd Gurey-Carlos Hyde game, and whichever one of them comes out on top will seal the win for their teams. It hurts me to say this, but...

Final Score: San Francisco - 16-8...

Week 4 - Oh, the humanity! The Rams travel to Jerry-ville, and face an offense that could literally run them over. In this one, I’ll be looking at the Rams front four. Robert Quinn should mark this game down on his calendar. It’s where he’ll be able to say his career made a final turn for the good or bad. He can’t rely on much help at the second level, but hybrid S/LB Mark Barron could wind up being Brutus, to Quinn’s Caesar...

Oddly enough, Jared Goff could have a very good game here. Mark me down for Goff throwing for 300 plus yards in Dallas, but a INT - or two? - could ruin a decent day...

Final Score: Dallas - 33-24

Week 5 - The Seattle Seahawks come to L.A., and I can’t really decide what kind of team they’ll be in 2017? The givens will be a Russell Wilson playing well, and a strong running game. Yet, just how good their defense will be at this point in the season is a huge question mark. The Los Angeles Rams do have a kind of “Seahawks killer” history about them, but that’s not going to be enough. I think Seattle has a losing record at this point in the season, and pull out all the stops. It’s a close one though...

Final Score: Seattle - 24-23

Week 6 - If “promise” were wings, the Jacksonville Jaguars would have been flying high in 2016. Playing this one in Jacksonville, the Jags have a decent roster, but a new head coach in 2017, - and a weirdly awful quarterback in Blake Bortles - have them juggling pieces as NFL pundits once again label them a sleeper team. I’m not buying in, so this game will be about two franchises trying to hold onto downward tipping seasons. Oddly enough, this is the kind of game where the team that cuts loose and plays with some abandon could light up the day.

Sometimes, you got-s to just let theme play. It’s time to shrug off soccer-mom leanings, and hold on loosely...

Final Score: Rams: 27-15

Week 7 - Huffing and puffing, Sean McVey’s Rams are eyeing their bye week in week 8 like kids in school watching the clock in the last period of the day. I seldom did this, since the school bell usually signaled the start of times where certain teachers and Principles wanted me to spend some extra time contemplating my minor miscues of the day...

Across the pond in London, the Rams face a Cardinals team trying to keep hope alive. I think they’ll - Arizona - be a .500 team here, and looking to edge toward the postseason discussion. I have little doubt that the Arizona defense will Top 5 at this point in the season. Running back David Johnson will be the key here, since Carson Palmer will be on the hot seat as his career edges toward “maybe he should’ve retired” whispers... The Rams have a chance in this one, when they send yet another Cardinals quarterback to the showers early.

In a brutal defensive contest, the Rams get the edge on last second field goal...

Final score: Rams - 16-14

***

The first act in the 2017 NFL play sees the curtain come down with the Los Angeles Rams holding a 3-4 win/loss record at their bye week intermission. For fans, they’ll be like cats on parade at this point. Thoughts co-mingle across a broad spectrum of ideas and tantrum-based adjectives. It’s the time of year each Rams fan finds their strength, will, and pie-in-the-sky directional wisdom...

The Rams will approach the second half of their 2017 NFL season with eyes wide open. But they’ll have to walk forward, game plan right, and play like they never have before to see... To carry on...