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CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: Los Angeles Rams reclaim NFC West crown but bow out again in the wildcard round

Prisco gives his game-by-game predictions for 2018 to include the playoffs. Does being in “win now” mode equate to the LA Rams hoisting the Lombardi Trophy?

Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay congratulates QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley (30) after a touchdown in Week 2, Sep. 17, 2017. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Following a very active offseason, many believe the Los Angeles Rams are in “win now” mode (Editor’s note: I think I remember reading something like that from a certain author...). Building on an extremely impressive about-face in 2017, the team acquired star players the likes of DL Ndamukong Suh, CB Aqib Talib, CB Marcus Peters and WR Brandin Cooks stealing the show in the early stages of NFL’s 2018 calendar year.

There’s nothing wrong with believing they’re all in. It makes sense. The 2017 roster was very good. On paper, the 2018 squad is better. And it’s been noted that it’s a wise decision to take advantage of some extra funds (sure they could give them to DL Aaron Donald, but why do that?!) before QB Jared Goff ultimately gets paid big quarterback money.

But despite the fact that a very good Rams team won the NFC West crown, the postseason was short-lived. Being better “on paper” is nice. It gives a fan the warm-and-fuzzies they require heading into September. But winning in the NFL isn’t easy. Making it to the playoffs is downright difficult. And there are 13 teams that have never won a Super Bowl.

It’s a fun exercise to prognosticate how the upcoming year will go week-to-week, despite how silly it may be in the summer. But that’s what CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has done. He’s provided game-by-game predictions for every game of the 2018 season, to include the playoffs and Super Bowl. Here’s how he sees it shaking out for the Rams:

Week 1: Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders: Raiders 27, Rams 23

Week 2: Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams: Rams 24, Cardinals 23

Week 3: Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams: Rams 27, Chargers 24

Week 4: Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Rams: Rams 21, Vikings 16

Week 5: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks: Seahawks 21, Rams 20

Week 6: Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos: Broncos 26, Rams 17

Week 7: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers: Rams 21, 49ers 17

Week 8: Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Rams: Rams 28, Packers 27

Week 9: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints: Saints 31, Rams 30

Week 10: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams: Rams 12, Seahawks 10

Week 11: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams (Mexico City): Rams 21, Chiefs 17

Week 13: Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions: Lions 27, Rams 24

Week 14: Los Angeles Rams at Chicago Bears: Rams 19, Bears 16

Week 15: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams: Rams 27, Eagles 26

Week 16: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals: Rams 16, Cardinals 10

Week 17: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams: Rams 30, 49ers 29

Final Record: 11-5

Things to note:

  • Rams sweep the 49ers and Cardinals in 2018
  • Rams lose to the Seahawks (21-20) in Seattle in Week 5
  • The Rams, once again, win the NFC West title
  • No other team in the NFC West finishes above .500 — Cardinals (7-9), 49ers (7-9), Seahawks (5-11)
  • Prisco has the Rams scoring 30 points (their season average in 2017) twice in the upcoming season. They eclipsed 30 points eight times last year.
  • Nail-biters: Prisco has the Rams in 3-point decisions (whether winning or losing) in 10 games. They are in 1-point games in six of them.

The NFC postseason:

NFC Seeds

1. Green Bay Packers

2. Atlanta Falcons

3. Los Angeles Rams

4. Philadelphia Eagles

5. Minnesota Vikings

6. New Orleans Saints


Byes: Packers, Falcons

As aforementioned, last year’s first round exit from the postseason - while it was a strong year - was disheartening. Will continuity in coaching and an improved roster lead to a more desirable result?


Wild-card round: Saints at Rams (Saints 30, Rams 27)

For the second time in 2018, the Saints will get the best of the Rams. And it’s another early exodus from the playoffs for the Rams of Los Angeles.

Pete’s got the Packers (who he’s got the Rams defeating in the regular season) besting the Jaguars in the Super Bowl (27-20).