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NFL Week 6 power rankings: Rams round-up

What’s being said about the Rams in the national media after week 5?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

I’m going to do the power rankings with a slight twist: ranking the power rankings based on how much I agree with what they say about the LA Rams. In the aftermath of the Los Angeles Rams win over the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night, everyone wants to know how the team is placing in the national power rankings. Power rankings are fun just to check out where your favorite team ranks across various sporting outlets.

So how to rank the power rankings?

Clearly if they’re being a bunch of meanies, they automatically go to the bottom. Obviously kidding but you should never put anything of that magnitude past me.

For these rankings, I’m going to start with the lowest ranking first and work my way up. So, you’re basically forced to read the whole article that way with no cheating. Of course if you scroll to see who’s first, go right ahead as I’d do the same. Enough of my blabbering and now that you know how this works, let’s get down to it (hit me with your best shot.)

5.) NFL.com

Rams Placement: No. 8

“Welcome back to the offense, Robert Woods. The veteran wide receiver is one of the Rams’ top weapons, but forming a connection with Matthew Stafford was more difficult than expected in the season’s first four weeks...The Los Angeles passing attack is imposing when Cooper Kupp, DeSean Jackson and Tyler Higbee are on the field at the same. Add Woods’ reliable presence into the mix, and it can be overwhelming.” per Dan Hanzus of NFL.com

I agree with Hanzus that Woods establishing more of a connection with Stafford will be the key to unlocking a more dangerous aerial attack. Especially when Woods caught 12 passes for 150 yards in the win over Seattle. His stat line might be compliments of a terrible Seahawks defense, or a sign of something greater to come. Let’s pray the latter is the case.

However, I didn’t agree with the ranking at all as I felt it was too low. There’s no way a one-loss team like the Rams should be only two spots ahead of the three-loss Chiefs. Los Angeles at the moment is at least a top-five team. The national media’s bias of the Chiefs is seeping through within these rankings. In their defense, I can understand entirely their belief in Patrick Mahomes, but defense is something KC doesn’t appear to be remotely interested playing this season. Belief in one guy shouldn’t merit a top-10 ranking so I guess Mr. Mahomes won’t be selling me Head & Shoulders anytime soon.

4.) Sports Illustrated

Rams Placement: No. 5

“After a loss to the Bucs and a less-than-dominant ‘TNF’ performance in Seattle, it feels like everyone’s taking a deep breath on the Rams and how good they are. Update: They’re still really, really good, and have three of the best players in football—plus one of the game’s best coaches, leading the way.” per Albert Breer of si.com

Um...Albert, the Rams actually beat the Bucs but I’ll give you points for the effort. You may want to consider checking the box scores again, or find new sources because they ain’t workin’. Regardless, I agree with the sentiment that LA is still a great team, even if the last couple weeks left a little to be desired. Breathe Rams fans, they’re still a good team with Aaron Donald and Sean McVay pulling the strings. Actually I think Donald’s the one pulling the strings given that he can turn invisible. I agree with most of Breer’s rankings but really, he had to put the little brother one spot above us? I understand they’ve been the more impressive LA team of late, but they’re the ones paying the rent!

3.) USA Today

Rams Placement: No. 2

“Their next three opponents (Giants, Detroit, Houston) are a combined 2-13. Golden opportunity to keep pace with Cardinals, the only team to beat Los Angeles this season, while padding their cushion on the rest of the NFC field.” per Nate Davis of USA Today

The only thing that hurt this ranking was lack of in-depth analysis, but I realize this is USA Today we’re talking about. Depth has never exactly been their specialty. I will say that Davis is right about the Rams being about to pad their cushion on the rest of the NFC. If they can’t beat any of the next three teams with ease, they don’t deserve to make a deep playoff run. Being unable to beat the teams you need to beat is the sign of a true contender, which I still believe about LA. While the next three opponents are cupcakes, fatty frosted cupcakes as they are, Detroit is the team I’d be worried about pulling off the upset. They should know Stafford fairly well and they’ve played so freaking hard under Dan Campbell.

2.) Bleacher Report

Rams Placement: No. 2

“It seems a little foolish to call a Week 5 matchup for a one-loss team a “must-win” game. But after suffering their first loss of the season the week before at the hands of the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals, the stakes were pretty high for quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Rams. Lose to the rival Seahawks in Seattle, and suddenly the team could be looking at a two-game gap in the division. The Rams answered the bell, riding big games from Stafford and wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods to a nine-point win.” per NFL Staff at Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report didn’t have much else to add about the Rams beside addressing their three upcoming bye weeks and how dumb it was to call the game against Seattle a must-win. In a way, yes it was a little foolish, but so many fans were panicking thinking LA was screwed after losing to the Cardinals. What media and fans don’t get sometimes, even the best teams suffer through the worst losses, but that shouldn’t take away their potential for greatness. Look at Tampa Bay last season, they lost by 35 at home to New Orleans and still won the Super Bowl. The Rams lost by only 17 to Arizona. I see this as an absolute win! (Enter Hulk from Avengers Endgame meme)

1.) ESPN

Rams Placement: No. 2

“The second-year receiver [Van Jefferson] admitted after his rookie season, despite displaying great maturity, that his head was spinning at times in the offense. But this season, Jefferson has proved to be a steady target for quarterback Matthew Stafford. He caught a 67-yard touchdown pass to ignite the offense in Week 1 and has seen his targets steadily increase — which is no easy feat when surrounded by other pass-catchers in Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, DeSean Jackson and Tyler Higbee. Jefferson has caught 14 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns.” per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN

In ESPN’s weekly power rankings, they typically look at a stat of player each week that fans need to be on the lookout for. This week, the power rankings were looking at the most improved player on all of the 32 teams. Thiry nailed it right on the head about Van Jefferson. For one, Jefferson helped ring in the Matthew Stafford era in style. In the loss against the Cardinals, Jefferson still had a quality effort, displaying signs of his continued growth.

Van has surpassed his yardage from last season (220) with 242 yards through five weeks. With 14 receptions, Jefferson is closing in the number of catches than he had in 16 games all of 2020 (19). Also, his yards-per-catch is over five yards from where it was last year (11.6 to 17.3). Jefferson may not have yet carved out a major role in the offense, but the progress has been apparent as Thiry noted.