NFL Media’s Adam Schein has an interesting piece at NFL.com that looks at his guarantees for the 2018 season.
Both teams are well-coached and have big-time running backs. Philip Rivers is a future Hall of Famer. Jared Goff blossomed into a fine player under Sean McVay. The Chargers and Rams are both hitting the postseason and winning playoff games. I guarantee it. An all-L.A. Super Bowl isn’t a Hollywood pipe dream. It’s truly possible.
It certainly isn’t inconceivable. And man, would it ever make the #FightForLA, manufactured though it is, an amazing narrative in 2018. Reminder: the Chargers come to the Coliseum in Week 3.
The next Ram-related guarantee after plugging the Denver Broncos at the bottom of the AFC West and the Cleveland Browns at the notbottom of the AFC North comes at #4 where Schein tabs DL Aaron Donald to win Defensive Player of the Year again:
Donald is the best defensive player in the sport by any measuring stick. This cat is the definition of a game wrecker. And now, with Ndamukong Suh joining him up front, Donald will have the opportuntiy to wreak even more havoc. He is going to ruin Sundays for offensive coordinators. Now, about that new contract...
Next up might ruffle some Rams fans who love them some Just Todd Gurley. Schein guarantees Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson will be the best running back in 2018.
He’s got a bounceback from the Houston Texans this year. After going 4-12 last year, it’s certainly possible if QB Deshaun Watson and DL J.J. Watt are fully healthy. Could Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky mirror Rams QB Jared Goff’s sophomore season surprise? Schein sees the Atlanta Falcons as a top-five offense. Perhaps he thinks higher of his colleague Chris Wesseling who had the Rams as the #8 offense for 2018. And lastly, Schein has the Jacksonville Jaguars with the NFL’s best defense. Not a stretch by any means.
As for the Rams specifically, here are five guarantees I’d be willing to put out.
Injuries will play a bigger factor than they have the last two seasons
The Rams were the healthiest team in the NFL in 2016. And 2017. That’s pretty incredible. So give Head Athletic Trainer Reggie Scott and his staff some credit...but prepare thyself for the cruel reality of this sport.
Coverage sacks will again rule the day
The Rams finished fourth in the NFL with 48 sacks largely on the back of their blitz packages and coverage downfield that gave their rushers more time. Replacing CB Trumaine Johnson and CB Kayvon Webster with CB Aqib Talib and CB Marcus Peters? And adding DL Ndamukong Suh up front? Bruh...
LT Andrew Whitworth will begin to show his age
Love the guy. And he’s a beast. But he turns 37-years old in December. Here’s hoping that we give him a long-deserved playoff run before entertaining the thoughts of a transition to 2018 NFL Draft third-round rookie OT Joseph Noteboom.
The offense remains balanced without a single major passing target
Between WR Brandin Cooks, WR Robert Woods, WR Cooper Kupp and TE Gerald Everett, I could see the 2018 Rams’ offense being without a 1,000-yard receiver and not having that be a problem in the slightest.
The Rams navigate a stacked NFC to get back to the playoffs
Yeah, I’m down to guarantee it. The roster’s too stacked and the coaching staff is too good.
What are your guarantees? Any statistical benchmarks you’re 100% sure of? What other teams are you certain of their 2018 fates?