That the defense would only allow three points to Chicago’s offense?
That Jared Goff would have one of his best statistical performances of the season?
That the Rams would rush for 160 yards and the Bears wouldn’t even gain 50 yards on the ground?
If so, you would have been correct on all four. Anything can happen.
Well, LA and Chicago meet again this Sunday in the 2021 season opener and these are the four bold predictions that I’m making for what will happen when they do.
9️⃣ days until QB1 makes his Rams debut. pic.twitter.com/dWdr6KAfyE— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 4, 2021
Matthew Stafford throws for 400+ yards and two touchdowns
Come Sunday night, Sean McVay will unleash Stafford for all to see and it might even be an offensive masterpiece. Stafford has thrown over 400 yards in 10 games in his career with the Detroit Lions, three of which came in his 2012 campaign alone, but his most recent was in 2020 ...
Against the Chicago Bears.
In that game Stafford had a 109.4 passer rating, three touchdowns, and 402 yards on 42 attempts. The Lions beat the Bears 30-34.
Matthew Stafford over 400 ❗— Mike Archambeau #OnePride DetroitLionsVsEverybody (@archambeaum3) December 6, 2020
The only thing stopping the Stafford from reaching his 11th 400+ passing game could be not the Chicago defense but LA’s number one ranked defense, which may overwhelm the Bears offense and allow McVay to call the run more often than allowing his QB to drop back.
If Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey have anything to say on Sunday, the Rams offense may not need Stafford to win a shootout, so this prediction does depend on the Bears being competitive throughout.
But I say that Sean McVay will show his new-look offense to the world by letting Stafford go off while Sony Michel is still getting used to the offense, resulting in over 400 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense will force two turnovers, get four sacks
The number one defense returns from a long offseason to prove that they are at the top of food chain once again—and they will prove it when the defense gets its first two turnovers of the season along with four sacks.
In just nine games last season with the Dallas Cowboys, Andy Dalton turned the ball over 10 times, with eight coming from the air and two on the ground.
In 2020, LA had 14 interceptions and eight fumbles recovered in which three interceptions were returned for a touchdown, along with one fumble recovered for six. Just one year ago, the Rams held the Bears to just three offensive points and intercepted Nick Foles twice.
Jalen Ramsey got UP for that interception pic.twitter.com/6qdapVhAKf— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) October 27, 2020
The defensive line also played a significant role in the dismantling of Foles’ offense in that game. The team as a whole came away with four total sacks, two of which came from ex-Bear Leonard Floyd.
Though the Rams have lost some firepower on the defensive side of the ball, they still have Ramsey prowling the field. The newly titled Captain of LA does not get thrown to very often when he is on the field—in fact the usual game plan for opposing teams is the keep the ball away from Ramsey, but that may not be so easy this season. Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris has talked about the versatility of his star corner this offseason,
(12:26) “He’s one of those guys that can go anywhere—outside, inside, outside linebacker. You can put him almost anywhere... He wants to be in the action... Every once in awhile you want to get in the mix, get a little dirty, get your hands in there and be able to do some good things”
Morris will utilize Ramsey’s versatility in order to put him in the best position to make impactful plays in 2021. No matter how much tape QB Andy Dalton and the rest of the Bears’ offense watches, the new version of Morris’ scheme will make it difficult for Dalton and Co. to identify where Ramsey is on the field. Even more unfortunate for the Bears is game wrecker Aaron Donald blowing up the middle of the offensive line.
The Rams finished number two in total sacks last season behind the Pittsburgh Steelers with 53, and in the same season Chicago allowed opponents to take down their QB 36 times. Donald and partner-in-crime Floyd plan on frustrating Dalton and offensive line with devastating pressure up the middle and an impressive technique coming from the edge—leading to a long night for the Bears’ offense.
The Bears 28th ranked offensive line will be no match for the pure dominance of Donald and his fellow rushers. Donald is coming off his third Defensive Player of the Year award and is as hungry as ever after an injury took him out for the majority of the Divisional round of the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers.
After letting the Packers torch them in the playoffs, the defense has an eagerness to prove they are the best in the business.
That may not bold well for coach Matt Nagy, who is dealing with an outcry from fans to play Justin Fields over Dalton in the season opener. If Chicago’s offense stalls for an entire half of play, will it be time to see what the rookie can do? In order to save his job, it may be Nagy’s only option if the Rams are firing on all cylinders on Sunday night.
Darrell Henderson rushes for over 80 yards, Sony Michel scores a touchdown
McVay has shown a strong confidence in Henderson since the first day it was announced that running back Cam Akers was lost for the season due to injury, yet two weeks ago news spread across the NFL that the Rams were trading with the New England Patriots for Sony Michel. The addition of the Super Bowl-winning running back has further complicated the Rams back field.
The good news for Henderson at the moment is that he knows the playbook well and adding some competition at the position will only elevate his game as he fights to stay as the lead back. With something to prove, Henderson will get the majority of snaps in the backfield with 16 carries and average five yards a carry, good for 80 yards on the ground as McVay, for the majority of the game, sticks to the passing game.
Though Henderson will get the majority of snaps, Michel will get his own piece of the action with some opportunities in short yardage situations. Los Angeles has had trouble in the past in red zone efficiency, ranking 19th in 2020 behind teams such as the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins. After an offseason of planning, McVay will have an answer to his red zone woes and Michel will be the tool he uses, leading to Michel’s first score of the season.
Time will tell what becomes of the Rams backfield but for at least this one game Henderson is the lead guy.
Van Jefferson has more yards than Allen Robinson!
If you are looking for a sleeper to watch for in your Fantasy Football Leagues, look no further than the second year receiver out of the University of Florida. Jefferson had some offseason hype surrounding him as a rookie last season but could never find much time on the field behind the likes of Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Josh Reynolds—not to mention a shortened training camp and zero preseason games due to Covid-19. With Reynolds absent from the roster this year, a full season under his belt, Jefferson will look to capitalize on his experience in McVay’s offense and finish Sunday nights matchup with more receiving yards than Bears’ number one receiver Allen Robinson.
In truth, Jefferson just might have Ramsey to thank if the prediction comes true. Though Ramsey may be lining up in different positions on the field, his major responsibility will be shutting down Bears’ number one receiver. Last year Robinson had four catches for 70 yards in his game against the Rams defense—if it weren’t for a 43 yard bomb from Nick Foles in garbage time of that game Robinson could have ended with only 27 yards total.
Rams CB Jalen Ramsey with the body slam on Bears WR Allen Robinson pic.twitter.com/WQjwPgnwTI— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) November 18, 2019
That is not to take away what Jefferson could do on Sunday night. He is truly another weapon on the Rams offense and has created some rapport with Stafford this offseason. He is known mostly for his smart route running and has been groomed by Kupp and Woods for the last year. His talent will be showcased against the Bears as he catches all 5 of his targets from Stafford, good for 75 yards.
What are your bold predictions for Sunday’s game against the Bears? Let us know in the comments and on our social media pages!