Every year some team has to win the Super Bowl, it’s right there in the NFL rulebook. Probably. If not, it’s an unwritten rule: Somebody’s gotta do it! The league needs a champion and what better choice than a team like the 2021 L.A. Rams, a perennial contender with some of the most talented stars in the NFL.
Yet somehow the last 17 teams to be the “somebody” that ends up winning the Super Bowl have not been the “somebody” when the next season rolls around.
What keeps going wrong for those teams and why have only a few of them even come close? What will the 2022 Rams have to learn about the failures of other franchises, as well as what they need to takeaway from the 2021 Rams, that will help them avoid a disappointing finish in their quest to run it back?
There’s no simple answer on what will help the Rams avoid losing, but I can give one on why L.A. could stand a greater chance than most defending champions at winning: The rest of the NFC is must weaker than usual.
While DraftKings Sportsbook currently sets the L.A. Rams at a 10.5 over/under on their win total for the 2022 season, less than the projected win totals of the Packers and Bills but no other teams, the schedule and the rest of the conference could allow Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford to reach or best their 12-5 record from last year.
3 reasons the Rams will win 11 +games and potentially the Super Bowl
1 - They have a clear path to the number one seed
Among the players who were in the NFC last year but are in the AFC this year are Russell Wilson, meaning that the Rams now get two games against either Geno Smith or Drew Lock (or both) instead this season, Davante Adams (Rams play Packers in Week 15), Matt Ryan (Rams play Falcons in Week 2), and Amari Cooper (Rams play Cowboys in Week 5), for starters.
Additionally, the Cardinals will be without DeAndre Hopkins for six games because of a suspension (the Rams get Arizona in Week 3) and who knows how long 45-year-old Tom Brady (Rams-Bucs in Week 9) will be on vacation for given his indefinite absence from Bucs training camp.
L.A.’s best known competition for the NFC one seed would be Aaron Rodgers, Brady, Dak Prescott, and ... Trey Lance? Though Jimmy Garoppolo is not one to fear, that is a starting quarterback from the NFC Championship who won’t be starting in the NFC this season and if he does ... Good!
With Lock, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Baker Mayfield, Lance, Jalen Hurts, Daniel Jones, Justin Fields, Jared Goff, and Carson Wentz comprising 10 of the NFC’s 16 starting quarterbacks, never before has the opportunity for Stafford to be MVP ever been so obvious.
2 - Offseason changes indicate more success ahead
Despite losing a lot of talent like OBJ, Von Miller, Andrew Whitworth, Robert Woods, Darious Williams, and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, it’s hard to not feel optimistic about the replacements and the job done by Les Snead to keep the good times rolling.
Allen Robinson is going to attempt to be the best duo partner than Kupp has ever had, with no disrespect intended to a great one in Woods. The Rams re-signed Joseph Noteboom giving the fifth-year offensive lineman to prove something we already know, which is that he’s a good left tackle, even if he’s not Big Whit. And while Troy Hill is not a world beater at cornerback, neither was Williams and that didn’t stop L.A. from reaching the top last season. Hill is one of the best replacements McVay could ask for because he’s cheap, experienced, and he knows the team very well already.
Fans should also be excited to see what Coen brings relative to his predecessor.
The only gap left to fill is that of Miller, but is that the end of days? The Rams didn’t have Von Miller for half of last season and they were still 7-1 prior to trading for him. In fact, I did not notice a dramatic difference in pass rushing in the regular season before and after the trade even if we do know that Miller is a better edge than Justin Hollins or Terrell Lewis.
If Snead could find Miller midseason, who’s to say he can’t “run it back” with his next trade too?
3 - McVay’s steady calm and experience
After years of consistent mediocrity turned Jeff Fisher into a meme, why not the same level of belief in knowing that Sean McVay will give the Rams a legitimate chance to make the playoffs every single season he’s at the helm?
His records so far: 11-5, 13-3 (Super Bowl appearance), 9-7, 10-6, 12-5 (Super Bowl win)
With Sean McVay, the Rams have never had a losing season and they have averaged 11 wins a season. If L.A. can hit 11 wins on an average, who in the heck am I to bet against them winning 11 games as the defending CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD?!?!
NFL fans have come to revere the great head coaches for many decades and McVay has done nothing to make me question his place as one of the best of all-time through a coach’s first five seasons. That is undeniable, two Super Bowl appearances and five winning records.
With the schedule, the talent, the coaching staff, and the best stadium in the world, I see the Rams are clearly going towards a record of 13-4.
So I must go over the projected win total of 10.5 and I am surprised that bettors are making that decision so easy. The L.A. Rams are poised to do something that the last 17 Super Bowl champions have not.