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.
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
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?
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
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
Bate: look at him!
Joe McAtee: Already 0-1?
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!
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?