It’s hard to believe it’s already the 14th week of the 2022 NFL season. The Rams continue to fight injury while adding to the longest losing streak in the Sean McVay era. At this stage, Rams fans have shifted focus to the draft, watching their former players on other teams, and cheering for any team playing an NFC West rival. Here’s a game by game analysis of why each game should interest Rams fans and NFL fans in general.
The best thing in L.A.’s interests moving forward would be the highest second round pick possible, although that is a tiny consolation for how bad this season has gone and there’s no first round pick on the way to help.
The Jets offense has been resurrected under Mike White and is no longer a tireless slog to watch. A stellar defense led by Sauce Gardner will take on a tough challenge against Josh Allen’s Bills. Von Miller recently announced he’s out for the season with a dreaded ACL tear which could be a huge blow to Buffalo’s championship aspirations. Former Rams to watch: S Lamarcus Joyner, DE John Franklin-Myers of the Jets and G Rodger Saffold of the Bills.
The battle of Ohio offers a matchup between a rusty Deshaun Watson and a red hot Joe Burrow with an offense recovering from injuries. I fully expect a Bengals win in this one but it is largely dependent on how quickly Watson can readjust to the speed of the game. There aren’t any notable former Rams in this one.
Root for: Texans
Houston is set to pick first overall, but L.A. could still end up with a worse overall record.
The Texans and Cowboys have had almost polar opposite seasons. Dallas is cruising to a potential playoff bye while Houston has only managed one win all season. I’d assume the Cowboys dominate this game and gain control of the state of Texas. It’s always fun as a fan to watch Micah Parsons, Tony Pollard, and CeeDee Lamb play football. Former Rams to watch: EDGE Dante Fowler Jr of the Cowboys and WR Brandin Cooks of the Texans.
Root for: Vikings
The Lions are out-classing L.A. and getting their first round pick. That just won’t do.
This is my pick for game of the week and it has all the ingredients to be a high scoring affair until the end. Both teams have powerful offenses but also are highly suspect on defense, particularly through the air. Jared Goff has gotten most of his weapons back from injury and has been humming. I think this game is a total toss up despite the standings. Former Rams to watch: TE Johnny Mundt of the Vikings and QB Jared Goff, WR Josh Reynolds, and DT Michael Brockers of the Lions.
Root for: Jaguars
The Jaguars avoided a scare last week as Trevor Lawrence returned to the field after what initially looked to be a serious knee injury. They head into Nashville to face a Titans team who just fired their GM and are looking to rebound after a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles behind a huge performance from former wideout A.J. Brown. Former Rams to watch: WR Robert Woods of the Titans and RB Darrell Henderson, CB Darious Williams of the Jaguars.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants (10:00 PST)
The 2022 Eagles are a juggernaut that can win through the air, on the ground, or by the play of a talented defense. They currently sit atop the league at 11-1 and take on a Giants team that has regressed to the mean in recent weeks after a fast start that I always viewed as somewhat of a fluke. Former Rams to watch: EDGE Robert Quinn of the Eagles and S Terrell Burgess of the Giants.
Root for: Steelers
Lamar Jackson is out for several weeks due to injury, much to the dismay of my fantasy teams. Unlike the Rams, the Ravens have a great backup in Tyler Huntley and should be able to compete well in this game. On the other side, the Steelers continue to live and die by the play of tumultuous rookie Kenny Pickett. Former Rams to watch: CB Marcus Peters of the Ravens.
Root for: Broncos
Denver needs to improve their record, weaken their grip on a draft pick.
I’m not a betting man but I’d bet the farm on the Chiefs taking care of business here against the single most boring team of the entire season up to this point. Is the Russell Wilson experiment in Denver ever going to yield results? Is Russ simply washed? Regardless, the Chiefs will likely coast to their tenth win in this spot. There aren’t any notable former Rams in this one.
Root for: Bucs
No thanks, 49ers
Tom Brady has managed to keep the Buccaneers afloat despite some close calls and an offense that is simply out of sync and lacking consistency. Their playoff hopes could become dim if they lose to a 49ers team with Brock Purdy making his first NFL start after being Mr. Irrelevant in this year’s draft. Former Rams to watch: EDGE Samson Ebukam of the 49ers.
Root for: Panthers
Panthers could have a higher draft priority, but Seahawks are in the division.
Sam Darnold has assumed the mantle as the Panthers QB once again and will lead an inferior team into Seattle to face the team fresh off a win against the Rams. The biggest question mark in this one is who will play RB for the Seahawks. Kenneth Murray and Deejay Dallas are banged up and are questionable. Former Rams to watch: C Austin Blythe of Seahawks and G Austin Corbett of the Panthers.
Root for: Dolphins
Brandon Staley could be fired and return as defensive coordinator.
Has Miami been a paper tiger? Is there loss last week to the 49ers an indication of a team that has won games by picking on inferior opponents? I think we will get some answers to those queries on Sunday night. Justin Herbert and the Chargers aren’t an easy out and Mike McDaniel’s squad will have to prove they can beat better competition. It’s also good to see Keenan Allen back. Former Rams to watch: TE Gerald Everett, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day, RB Sony Michel of the Chargers.
Root for: Patriots
The Patriots have regressed to a 6-6 record and look the part: a middling team that lacks a real identity. The Cardinals are in a similar but slightly worse space, owning a 4-8 record with fans wondering if Kyler Murray and/or Kliff Kingsbury are the right men to lead this team. There aren’t any notable ex-Rams in this one.