It’s at the point in the NFL offseason where news is sparse so writers like myself are stuck for ideas. Watching sports isn’t the same without football around. (I realize the USFL is a thing but I mean football that people actually care about.)
There’s still plenty of time before the Los Angeles Rams take on the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium in the season opener on Thursday, September 8. In the meantime, why not predict every game on the Rams’ 2022 schedule? Last season, I did an exercise exactly like this and finished with a winning record (10-7) with my predictions.
As a warning I always have in mind before doing predictions of any kind, obviously nothing about them is set in stone. Anything can happen between now and September. Without further ado, let’s get into the predictions and feel free to let me now how wrong I am in the comments below. Nothing would warm my heart more!
Week 1: vs Buffalo Bills
This is the best possible way for the schedule makers to begin an NFL season. Starting off 2022 with a Super Bowl preview will be such a treat. Budding superstar Josh Allen is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and will be the first of many tough signal callers LA will face throughout the year. Stefon Diggs vs Jalen Ramsey will be the matchup to watch all night long. Clearly, this is a challenging game to have right off the bat, but this is a winnable game for the Rams. Better to play the Bills early in the season while they’re figuring themselves out then later in the year when they’re clicking on all cylinders.
Week 2: vs Atlanta Falcons
If you were to tell me that the Falcons would be among the worst teams in the league, I (along with Calvin Ridley) would have easily taken that bet. The problem with Atlanta is that they have no depth on their roster and they aren’t top-heavy at all either. After trading franchise star Matt Ryan to the Colts this offseason, it’s evident the Dirty Birds are waving the white flag. They have Marcus Mariota in line to take the reins and there’s zero chance he’ll remain healthy all season long. Expect the Rams to win this one rather easily...by at least a score of 28-3.
Week 3: at Arizona Cardinals
Last season, the Rams down several starters due to COVID were able to pull off a 30-23 upset in Glendale which eventually took the NFC West from the Redbirds. I’m not completely down on the Cardinals this year but they haven’t improved at all this offseason. From an expected playoff contender, that’s more concerning than Kliff Kingsbury’s late-season track record. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will be suspended for the first six games. So the guy will take PED’s but not a vaccine, that makes sense. Anyways, Kyler Murray (in the long-shot event he’s not traded) will only do so much against a hungry LA squad.
Week 4: at San Francisco 49ers
The Rams’ last trip to San Francisco didn’t go well at all as they were soundly beaten 31-10. SF has a quarterback controversy on their hands. It’s a “toss-up” for George Kittle as to whether Shanahan should go with Jimmy G or second-year passer Trey Lance. The 49ers haven’t improved much this offseason much like their divisional mate in the desert. They’re also facing trouble with their best offensive player, Deebo Samuel. No matter who plays for the opposition this week, the Niners have always been a thorn in Sean McVay’s side and that will (SIGH) again be reflected on the scoreboard.
Week 5: vs Dallas Cowboys
Someone once told me that Dak Prescott is Dallas’ version of Kirk Cousins. Since then, I haven’t been able to get that out of my head. Both are decent players who put up nice stats but neither come through in big games. The Cowboys will be playing a big game against the defending champs and Jerry might wanna look away from the action down on the field. Dallas isn’t a horrible team but they frequently beat up on the league’s worst competition in the NFC Least last season. This made their delusional fanbase believe they had a title contender on their hands. As long as the Cowboys have Mike McCarthy leading this team, they aren’t going anywhere, and that is a fact.
Week 6: vs Carolina Panthers
This team is playing the worst game of QB musical chairs I have ever seen. Cam Newton? Sam Darnold? Matt Corral? Darnold started out hot in 2021 until we realized Adam Gase might not have been his problem after all. The USC product believes he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL so nice to see his confidence hasn’t been shattered. This year will likely be his last chance to prove himself as a starter in the NFL. He might have Christian McCaffrey to hand the ball off to but I wouldn’t count on it. Carolina might not be the five-win disaster they were a year ago but I don’t expect them to improve much. LA’s defense will have a field day against Darnold and all his miscues to send the Rams into their bye on a high note.
Week 7: BYE WEEK
Week 8: vs San Francisco 49ers
In the NFC Championship, the Rams exorcised their demons against the team that had beaten them six times in a row. SF has owned this series for a few seasons now even if LA was the more talented team in that span. This year, I predict the Rams to split the season series with their Californian arch nemesis. I’d say that’s progress everybody!
Week 9: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s a shame the Rams didn’t send Tom Brady out with a loss. That would’ve been poetic justice at it’s finest. Now that joker’s on a farewell tour and few people outside of Boston and Tampa will miss him. Then we’re gonna have to hear him on FOX once he calls it quits (hopefully for REAL). We just can’t get away from that guy. At least can someone hand him an “L” in his upcoming comedy roast?
This will be a matchup between NFC heavyweights. TB and TB12 has one of the deepest rosters in the league. Tampa will be the Rams’ biggest challengers in 2022 yet LA has won every meeting since Brady moved to Florida. Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp had their way with the Bucs’ D on their championship run but something has to give here. I predicted last year the Rams would lose a heartbreaker to TB and while I was wrong that time, I’m sticking to my guns here.
Week 10: vs Arizona Cardinals
Murray had a nightmarish game in his first postseason action against the Rams in a 34-11 blowout. It was week four in 2021 at SoFi Stadium in which the Redbirds blew out the Rams to hand the eventual champs not only their first loss of the season but McVay’s first career loss to Arizona. While this game won’t be as brutal as the Wild Card Round, the Rams should beat a sputtering Cardinals team.
Week 11: at New Orleans Saints
New Orleans has done so much to improve the weapons for presumed starter Jameis Winston. Coming off a torn ACL, Winston was having his greatest start to a season, throwing 14 touchdowns to just three picks. He’ll now have Jarvis Laundry, a healthy Michael Thomas and rookie Chris Olave to make him even better. Cam Jordan is among the best game wreckers in the sport. The Saints added Tyrann Mathieu to an already physical defense. NOLA has always been a tough environment to play and the Saints’ stars will step up in crunch time to upset Los Angeles in a likely trap game.
Week 12: at Kansas City Chiefs
That’s it, that’s all I have to say about the Chiefs.
Just kidding of course. KC has hosted the last four AFC Championship games. They’ll have a much harder path to get there considering nearly every team in their conference has powered up in an attempt to stop them. Mahomes no longer has Tyreek Hill but he’s still got Travis Kelce as a security blanket. Andy Reid has always found a way to make it work. The last time these teams faced off was in 2018 when we got the classic 54-51 thriller. This game probably won’t be that high-scoring but it’ll still be exciting. I’m predicting a shootout between these teams. Whoever has the ball last wins, and I have a sinking feeling it’ll be the Chiefs.
Week 13: vs Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks are going to be a bad football team this year. Despite that, I don’t think they’ll be as terrible as everyone believes. Seattle always plays hard for Pete Carroll. While shifting from Russell Wilson to Geno Smith/Drew Lock is just a slight downgrade, the Seahawks will oddly make it work. That is unless that add another veteran quarterback after this is published. Seattle will put up a respectable effort but Bobby Wagner will do everything possible to make his former team pay for abruptly letting him go.
Week 14: vs Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders game was the hardest to predict as it could honestly go either way. Derek Carr has been partnered with old college friend Davante Adams so Jalen Ramsey will get to oppose someone he’s got high regard for. Vegas also added Chandler Jones who paired with the underrated Maxx Crosby will make some noise. As I’ve said, this game could either be a major upset at home or a win and that’s the route I’m taking here. Carr and Adams will make enough plays but will fall just short thanks to a game-winning drive by Stafford.
Week 15: at Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers has been immunized from having top playmakers now that Davante Adams was traded to the Raiders. At least he still has Shailene...oh wait never mind. The last couple matchups LA has had in Green Bay have been as ugly as they’ve come. This one won’t be any different as defenses will steal the show. Both Rodgers and Stafford will do enough to keep the game in their hands but the Rams will steal one at Lambeau thanks to a late defensive stop.
Week 16: vs Denver Broncos
Santa’s coming to town and so is Russell Wilson. Do the Rams have to leave out cookies for him too? Couldn’t hurt I guess. Denver will be a very fascinating team this season thanks to their trade for Wilson. Russell has a nice variety of receivers to throw to. Unlike his old team, the Broncos are committed to building the offense around him. That is what teams should be doing with a franchise cornerstone at the most important position. Wilson has plenty of familiarity with LA but Aaron Donald and company won’t let him pass at will. I predict a very Merry Christmas for the Rams...and a not-so-happy New Year that I’ll be getting to below.
Week 17: at Los Angeles Chargers
I keep making jokes that the Rams should make a deal with the Chargers that the loser has to move out of SoFi. The Bolts have emerging face of the NFL Justin Herbert, who is “off to the single-greatest start in NFL history at the quarterback position”. Brandon Staley is a smart and aggressive coach fitting into his role as head coach nicely. About the only thing holding this talented team back is defense. If they can get it figured out, it’s not hard to imagine them a Super Bowl favorite out of the AFC. I do think they upset their big brother in their own palace this week which means the Rams would have to move out. Anyone know if the Coliseum is still available?
Week 18: at Seattle Seahawks
In this final week of the season, McVay might keep his starters in the game for about a half before letting them rest for the playoffs. Stafford will have a stellar first half before being pulled. Seattle will just be playing for next year after another lost year.
Final Record: 12-5
How close is your prediction to my own?