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TST Weekly Slack Chat: Schedule galore

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Upon the release of the schedule, Sosa, 3K, and Bate go in-depth in the potential for the season

Wild Card Round - Atlanta Falcons v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Last week’s Slack Chat can be found here.

This week on slack chat, myself, 3K, and Brandon Bate analyze the Los Angeles Rams 2018 schedule. That includes potential trap games, the hardest stretch of the season, and which our favorite game is. Enjoy!

Aquip Talip (TST user Sosa Kremenjas): Alright welcome back to another episode of Slack Chat! 2/3 of us understand how clocks work!

Joe McAtee (TST user 3K): Haha

Bate (TST user Brandon Bate): get ‘em

Aquip Talip: Let’s jump right into it:

Question one: Which of the Rams games are going to be the biggest matchup of the season?

Joe McAtee: We got Baltimore in the preseason opener

Obvious call, yeah?

Bate: I think it’s easy to point to the games with the “usual suspects” as far as the NFC contenders are. But gimme the Week 7 Sunday nighter in San Fran

Aquip Talip: I think I’m going to ride with PHI at the Coli in week 15 on Sunday Night Football

Any reasoning behind that one Bate?

Bate: there’s a lot of hype surrounding the 49ers, and maybe it’s warranted. But if everyone is healthy, the Rams have an opportunity to squash the notion that the 49ers are contenders for the NFCW crown. My $0.02

Aquip Talip: Agreed on that

Joe McAtee: That game’s gonna be huge

The primetime games would be easy candidates. Week 1 @ OAK, Week 4 @ MIN, Week 7 @ SF, Week 11 v.* KC, Week 15 v. PHI

Aquip Talip: I roll with Philly. I think that game can decide NFC seeding as the playoffs go

MIN could be a fun one too. It’s early, but that could be a tone-setter going forward in the season

Joe McAtee: For sure

I do like that we’re home in Minny and Philly again

Chance at reclamation

Aquip Talip: Very true

MIN is on a short week unfortunately

Joe McAtee: The Nola game flipped from LA to New Orleans though

Bate: That game.....will be a toughy

Aquip Talip: That leads me right into the next question...

What is the toughest stretch of the schedule?

Bate: pretty easy to look at the slate and consider taking an L in New Orleans

Joe McAtee: I’d still keep the first Seattle game and the Chargers game in the mix too

Gotta be Week 4-11, yeah?

Aquip Talip: Week 8-10 (GB, NO, SEA) is going to be a gauntlet

I guess if you’re looking at it in a large chunk, yeah Joe.

Bate: Toughest stretch? According to everything I’m reading, it’s the month of October. At Seahawks, at Broncos, at 49ers, and vs. Green Bay

Aquip Talip: That slate of games will define the year

GB/NO in back to back weeks will suck. Two HOF QB’s are never fun

Bate: But I don’t know if that’s simply because those teams are supposed* to be good. Because they were a combined 27-37 in 2017

Joe McAtee: That 8-game run is massive. v. MIN, @ SEA, @ DEN, @ SF, v. GB, @ NO, v. SEA, v.* KC

Just three games in LA

Aquip Talip: Yeah I think they got some easier ones sprinkled in there, but that’s a crazy stretch

Bate: I don’t really see any 4-game stretches on the schedule where the Rams can’t come out 3-1

Aquip Talip: The “easier” ones happen to be divisional games (SF, SEA)

Joe McAtee: Oh sure, the Rams can win every one of those games

Doesn’t mean they’re not the toughest though

Aquip Talip: That’s what’s so great about this season

Bate: that said, the Rams are sure to cough one up to someone like the Broncos, Lions, or Bears right?

Joe McAtee: Man I dunno

Aquip Talip: They really got a shot (and maybe the favorites) pretty much every week

Joe McAtee: Under Fisher? Yeah, they were sure to. Now? I’m not sold on that TBH.

Aquip Talip: I can’t see it being the case Bate

People kept bringing that up last year

Bate: I think I’m going to take caution when predicting a 13(+) win season. But I haven’t really dissected it that much yet

Aquip Talip: “Trap game this and that” yet it never happened

They were so prepared. Against bad teams it was particularly never close

Joe McAtee: Outside of the early Washington game, they ran with everyone

And yeah, we beat down teams we were ultimately supposed to

Bate: I love the notion that the Rams are going to struggle because they are away from home so often during that stretch though. I guess it doesn’t matter that they were 7-1 on the road last season

Aquip Talip: I think they just have too much talent. The offense is so good, and even if they have an off day that defense is going to keep the game close if not in our favor regardless

Joe McAtee: Who has said that though?

Bate: humans

Joe McAtee: That we’re going to struggle?

Bate: porn bots

Joe McAtee: I haven’t seen one human say that

And I don’t follow porn bots

Bate: I saw Will Brinson call it “brutal”

Joe McAtee: Well those aren’t mutually exclusive, yanno?

It can be brutal and have us not struggle!

Bate: to include two games against the Seahawks. Give me one break, Will Brinson

But it ain’t brutal

Joe McAtee: Good teams can survive brutal stretches. Shit, good teams DO survive brutal stretches.

Bate: there’s nothing brutal about it

Joe McAtee: Yeah maybe that’s where we disagree

Aquip Talip: Yeah I can’t see any “brutal” stretches

Joe McAtee: I think the competitive balance is just really, really, really high

Aquip Talip: Unfavorable? Sure. Brutal? Nah

Bate: So what’s brutal? Playing away from home, or playing those particular opponents?

Joe McAtee: Little from Column A, little from Column B

Bate: The Rams scored more points on the road last year than the 2001 squad did -- set a franchise record

Joe McAtee: But what does that have to do with the scope of the challenge?

The playoffs are brutal. But somebody’s gotta win

Aquip Talip: It makes it.... not a challenge?

Bate: Flew to New York, Jacksonville, Tennessee and London and whooped all of their asses by an average score of 35-12

They flew to another country and ended the Cardinals lives 33-0

I think they can handle a short flight to Denver

Joe McAtee: Yeah I’m not sure I’m pointing to the Giants or Cards in 2017 as brutal

Aquip Talip: The only brutal thing on the Rams schedule this year is the 16 unfortunate bastards that have to play against them

Bate: Haha

Joe McAtee: But last year, we went @ DAL, v. SEA, @ JAX and went 2-1

I would have offered that was a brutal trio and we passed the test

Or the late quintet: @ MIN, v. NO, @ ARI, v. PHI @ SEA

Bate: I’m with Sosa. None of these teams that we’re talking about got that much better. The Rams did

Joe McAtee: And we went 3-2

Aquip Talip: Anyways, we’ve beat the dead horse enough

Joe McAtee: I dunno

Bate: Joe’s takes are brutal

How about that

Joe McAtee: I’m motivated to PIOTS something now

Aquip Talip: Onto question #3: What game/thing are you looking forward to most?

Joe McAtee: I think there’s this idea of supremacy that I’m not sure the Rams are granted at this point

Bate: Samesies. 49ers in Week 7

Aquip Talip: I want nothing more than sweet revenge on Philly in week 15

Joe McAtee: Man there are so many

Bate: There is not one game on that schedule I want more than Sunday night in San Fran. Give it to me now.

Aquip Talip: For me it boils down to three easily: GB, MIN, PHI

Joe McAtee: I honestly could put 10 games here

Aquip Talip: PHI leads the way because they beat us (and not by much at all) and them being SB champs obviously

Joe McAtee: I mean, how exciting is Week 1 going to be? Season opener, Jon Gruden back in charge and a first legitimate look at Cooks, Peters, Talib, Suh and the whole operation?

Bate: that’s one of those true test kinda games, for sure. Philly’s damn good

Aquip Talip: Yeah that’ll be amazing

I think they should whip OAK around if we’re being honest

Bate: The Raiders are gonna get curb stomped

Joe McAtee: Week 3 in the 2018 #FightForLA rematch?

Rams fans love hating on the Chargers

Aquip Talip: We’re talking about one of the younger/faster teams in the league vs an Old/old school team/coach

Joe McAtee: And you know the NFL is dying to make that a huge rivalry

I’m actually really looking forward to the two Seahawks games too

Bate: has Jon Gruden made one good personnel move all offseason, aside from hiring Greg Olson?

Aquip Talip: No

Joe McAtee: None that I liked

Bate: Exactly. Raiders fans may get excited about it, but they’re already 0-1 as far as I’m concerned

Joe McAtee: Yeah that goes back to the brutal/supremacy thing

Bate: leave it alone

Joe McAtee: I think a lot of Rams fans are already framing this as if it’s a done deal

Bate: he’s being negative again everybody!

Joe McAtee: haha

But seriously

Bate: look at him!

Joe McAtee: Already 0-1?

C’mon

Aquip Talip: You sound like a narc

Joe McAtee: Why not just assume we’re already 16-0?

Aquip Talip: We should!

Bate: because I assume we’ll lose games that aren’t Week 1

Joe McAtee: Why?

Aquip Talip: Because we’re the best!

Bate: to piss you off

Joe McAtee: hahahaha

Aquip Talip: that too

Joe McAtee: Cause yeah, at this point, a lot of Rams fans (and apparently some in this Slack chat) have already talked themselves into January

Aquip Talip: Well, yeah, that is the expectation

Bate: Are the Rams going to be worse than 11-5?

Joe McAtee: And I think the competitive balance in the NFL and ESPECIALLY the NFC is such that that’s probably not prudent

Aquip Talip: Which is fair

Joe McAtee: It’s possible!

Bate: #negative

Joe McAtee: #realistic

Aquip Talip: I think they’ve got a better shot to go 14-2 than worse than 11-5

But I’m also dumb

Joe McAtee: Maybe

But that doesn’t mean the chance to go worse than 11-5 is insignificant

Bate: I will say that I was somewhat surprised the opening line for Rams-Raiders is 1.5 points

Aquip Talip: To be fair we had quite an easy schedule last year. I mean, we faced like what, 4 or 5 backup QB’s?

Joe McAtee: Why B?

Aquip Talip: Or just injury-riddled teams in general

Joe McAtee: That’s exactly what I mean

Bate: Seems a tad low, no?

Joe McAtee: Not at all

Aquip Talip: For me it did

Bate: Rams can’t beat them by a safety?

Aquip Talip: But it’s still so early

Joe McAtee: That’s exactly what I’m talking about

Some of y’all have gone waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in on expectations

Bate: Our optimism is your kryptonite

Joe McAtee: I literally said earlier on Twitter we could go 16-0

Aquip Talip: It’s the only way it’s fun man

I’m not out here expecting to win 5 games. There’s no reason to base that off of anything

Joe McAtee: That’s the problem with realism though. You have to consider what could go right and what could go wrong

And there’s a lot on both sides of that coin

Aquip Talip: Only thing we know for certain is this team/coaching staff has had a ton of success. Let’s rock with it

Bate: My expectations start at 11-5 and I take it from there. I don’t see anything on the schedule that suggests they can’t at least get to that point. And if they’re truly going “all in” then anything less - and we’ll know sooner than later if it’s working - would be an epic disappoint, right?

Joe McAtee: It would be an epic disappointment

And those tend to happen from time to time

Aquip Talip: Well sure. We’re one injury away from winning 4 games next year

You never know

Joe McAtee: Five of the six teams in the playoffs last year weren’t in there two years ago

Bate: They don’t happen in 2018 for the Los Angeles Rams

so pick another time

Joe McAtee: Which means five teams assumed they were going back to the playoffs and didn’t

Packers fans couldn’t see them doing worse than 11-5 last year

Or Cowboys fans

Or Seahawks fans

Aquip Talip: Injury!

Joe McAtee: The great thing about the NFL right now is that so many of these matchups are touch and go

Were we honestly any worse than the Eagles last year?

If we were, I don’t think it was by much

Bate: Are you asking if we could win the Super Bowl with Sean Mannion?

Joe McAtee: But we lost in the playoffs and the Eagles won the Super Bowl and people are framing it as if that’s representative of a huge gulf between the two teams that I don’t think exists

I could see 10 different teams in the Super Bowl in the NFC

Which means this games are gonna be really close

Like -1.5 to the Raiders close

I get it that we’re excited about how good this roster looks, but man...

Bate: 10 different teams...

Joe McAtee: The NFL builds this kind of parity on purpose

It makes things fun

Bate: Is Sosa ok?

Aquip Talip: I am

Joe McAtee: Injury!

Aquip Talip: I’m just thinking about 16-0 and how it’s realistic

Joe McAtee: It is realistic!

Bate: brutally realistic

Joe McAtee: But so is 7-9

Sad, but true

Aquip Talip: I mean outside of devastating injury I can’t see it

Joe McAtee: And this is why we watch

Aquip Talip: But I’m a dummy

Bate: the TST’ers are gonna scorch you for that 7-9 bit

Joe McAtee: Scorch away

Aquip Talip: Anyways

Down to our negative Nancy Q, I think Joe will like it:

Aquip Talip: Which game do you think best presents itself as the dreaded “trap” game?

Joe McAtee: That Denver one’s up there with the San Fran primetime game looming

Chicago in Week 14 too with Philly up next

Bate: Yeah, my initial thought was Denver too

Aquip Talip: The Chiefs scare me. But I could see us mess around and catch the L against the Chargers

Not sure those count as a “trap” because they’re good

Joe McAtee: This might be too early...but can we consider Seattle trap game potential yet?

Aquip Talip: But I presume most fans assume those are both chalked up W’s

Bate: I could also see the Lions but only because of Jim Bob Cooter

Joe McAtee: If they fall off this year, do the Seahawks turn into the Fisher Rams, plucking a win from us while we win 12 games?

Aquip Talip: Lol I hope not

It’s possible as long as Russell Wilson is there. He’s amazing.

Bate: I’m not sure. It’s not looking good for the Seahawks. Now, if the question were “what QB would you most like to watch Suh and Donald chase around on Sundays?” then it’s simple -- give me the Seahawks all day.

Aquip Talip: But the rest of the teams compared is such a massive talent disparity

Joe McAtee: I suppose it depends what uniforms we’re wearing...

Bate: always depends on the uniforms

a little dab of gold’ll do ya

Joe McAtee: How great is this fucking season going to be?

Aquip Talip: Any parting thoughts?

Bate: yeah, the schedule isn’t brutal

Joe McAtee: In terms of entertainment...it hasn’t been this high in 14 years

Bate: in fact, the NFL laid it out very nicely for the Rams

Aquip Talip: Alright. That’s all. Thanks for tuning in you animals!

What do you guys think of the Rams’ schedule?