All of ESPN’s bloggers offered their win-loss predictions for the teams they cover today, and Alden Gonzalez, who covers the Los Angeles Rams, has Sean McVay leading the team to a 7-9 record in his first year.
We’ll have updates to our staff projections next week (I might update mine over the weekend), so stay tuned on that front. I recommend checking Alden’s piece out as he has write-ups on every game prediction that are worth your time.
What’s interesting to me are the chunks you can carve out as chapters in the season from AG’s predictions.
Take the first three games. He has us going 2-1 to start the year. That record combined with the optimism being carried over in the Sean McVay era (partly because of what McVay can do/represents and partly because he’s just not Jeff Fisher)? You’d have a rabid Rams fan base going into October.
The next chunk comes from the next four games in the Rams go 1-3 heading into the bye. Goodbye rabid fan base. Hello familiar second half apathy/anger. The interesting thing here is that the Rams start this chunk out going 0-3 and stave off a four-game losing streak by beating the Arizona Cardinals in London. If the only thing standing between this and a 2-5 Rams are the Cardinals, I’m not feeling great about that. Especially if it comes on the heels of a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars...
The next chunk of the season is the biggest. No, it’s no Octet of Pain from 2014, but the six games coming out of the bye that culminate in the what should be a battle between Rams QB Jared Goff and Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz in a battle to assess the pair less than two seasons into their NFL careers after being the top two picks of the 2016 NFL Draft will likely define the Rams’ season. Gonzalez has the Rams going 2-3 coming out of the bye with Philly coming to LA...and losing the Goff-Wentz battle.
At that point, we’d be 5-8. The gas will have completely been exhausted. If we do head toward a Fisherballian 7-9 type season, thankfully, the Rams follow the Eagles game with two road contests. This would spare the Rams from what would likely be some very embarrassing optics at the Coliseum. With lazy (or worse) media having sniped the city of St. Louis at the end of the Rams tenure there for poor attendance, you can see the narrative coming if the Rams struggle again this season. Hell, we saw the narrative last year. I remember it in the early 1990s. I saw it play out in new media two years ago. The bottom line is that fans in any city aren’t interested in losing as an aspect of sports. In paying money to go to see their team lose. That’s not specific to St. Louis or Los Angeles or any other city. So let’s hope McBae works a minor miracle and we’re not looking at a Week 17 like last year that invited criticism of a fan base that was uninterested in showing up not because Rams fans are any worse fans than any other team and not because anything is wrong with LA.
Cause if Alden is on point and the Rams head home to finish the season sitting on a 6-9 record...
As a brief aside, some of the bloggers were looking at their team’s opponents projections and putting a W-L total that way. For example, the Chargers’ blogger looked at opponents projections who had the Chargers going 3-13 according to their individual projections. I did the same for the Rams, and they have us going 4-12 with the only wins coming in Week 1 against the Colts, a Week 5 win over the Seahawks and a two-game win streak against the Saints and Cardinals in late November.
Then we head to the games that matter.