During the 2018 NFL season, the Los Angles Rams traveled East of the Mississippi River twice, week 9 against the New Orleans Saints and week 13 against the Detroit Lions. Their travel schedule was extremely friendly and probably benefited the Rams to some degree.
The 2019 NFL season won’t be nearly as kind. Three of the Rams first eight games take them into Eastern Standard Time with another taking them to London. Of those four games, three will be played at 10A PST, which has traditionally been difficult for West coast teams to overcome.
On the flip side, the Rams will only travel to EST once after their bye week - week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They also travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys in week 15, but that’s a relatively short trip all things considered.
The difference between the first half of the schedule and the second is pretty clear. The Rams will be traveling a TON until we begin approaching Thanksgiving, but after week 10, the frequent flyer miles will stop accumulating - and I think that’s a good thing.
Including the 2019 NFC Championship Game, Sean McVay has gone 4-1 in EST as the Rams head coach, and 2-0 in early games. That bodes well for their 2019 campaign, but it’d be naive to believe that ‘jet lag’ won’t have an impact on their performance early in the 2019 season.
The good news is that their last 7 games travel no further East than Dallas - which will undoubtedly feel like a cakewalk after multiple cross-country trips during the first 10 weeks.
Will it cause an impact in their season? Probably. But because of Sean McVay and their recent history of success, I’d argue that traditional variables such as injuries will play a much bigger role.
What do you think?