The Los Angeles Rams are the one NFL team this year that has to wear the biggest target on their backs. It is a little difficult to even get back into that same headspace that we’ve had over the previous 21 years when the Rams were not the defending champions. Are we overlooking, at least a little bit, what those expectations really do to a franchise?
Or are the Rams maybe even being underrated as they prepare to open the 2022 NFL season at home against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night?
Expectations for L.A. should be sky high, at least internally, as the Rams bring back almost the same squad as last season with a few important changes. Entering the season, the L.A. Rams have one of the most successful first-five-years head coaches in NFL history, a top-tier quarterback, the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, one of the greatest defensive football players that man has ever known, and several All-Pro quality players around their MVP candidates. Perhaps most encouraging of all, the NFC appears to be centering on only a few teams for the number one seed, including of course the Rams, although it is way too early to start counting out other franchises.
So what will be the ultimate Achilles’ heel for the 2022 Los Angeles Rams? Here are a few options from me, but then it will be your opportunity to speak on L.A.’s biggest concern moving forward.
Matthew Stafford’s elbow/health
If the Rams have to turn to anyone other than Stafford for an extended period of time, it is difficult to imagine the team running it back. Stafford may have an uphill battle to win an MVP award, but he was the biggest difference between the 2018 Super Bowl team and the 2021 Super Bowl team.
The Super Bowl hangover/distractions
A team hasn’t repeated since the 2004 New England Patriots. Is it a curse or just simple math: Just because you were 1-of-32 one year, it doesn’t mean you’ll be 1-of-32 the next year.
Does winning the Super Bowl cause too many distractions, especially in the social media era and the ability to make millions of dollars outside of football?
The offensive line
With two new starters, including at left tackle, and a ton of questions about the depth pieces, could it be a weaker offensive line that brings down Stafford and the offense?
An extended absence by Cooper Kupp
One of the other changes from 2018 to 2021 was the presence of Kupp in the playoffs. Is the addition of Allen Robinson II enough to insure L.A. against losing too much offense just in case Kupp ends up missing action? Can the Rams feel comfortable with Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, and Ben Skowronek as depth?
The loss of Von Miller and pressure on the edge
It was important for Les Snead and Sean McVay to acquire Miller midseason and by the playoffs, he had really turned it on. There’s just more there with Aaron Donald and Miller than there has been with just Donald and Leonard Floyd. For now, there is no apparent threat opposite of Floyd. Is that going to turn into a big deal again?
In my opinion, this is the best Packers team that Aaron Rodgers has ever been surrounded by and that’s even after losing Davante Adams. The Saints are stacked everywhere except quarterback and Jameis Winston was once an undefeated national champion. Tom Brady is back...we think? Teams like the 49ers, Vikings, Cardinals, Cowboys, and Eagles would like to think they’re right in the thick of it.
The NFC seems like the weaker conference compared to the AFC, but things aren’t always what they seem and the Rams do have to put up with a first place schedule.
See a bigger threat than all of these? Tell us in the comments!
Biggest threat to the Rams’ chances of a repeat?
This poll is closed
Making sure Kupp stays available all year
Pass rush outside of AD