The Los Angeles Rams are 3-4 heading into Week 8, with a road game in Dallas to take on the Cowboys next on tap. The team is coming off a tough loss to the Steelers, where the Rams gave up a 17-10 lead in the third quarter, to lose 24-17, while missing two field goals and an extra point. Fans are feeling the loss this week, giving their lowest confidence vote of the year, plummeting from 96% confident in the team last week, down to 53%.
The Rams are currently the underdogs coming into Dallas, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
If you have followed our “Rams Reacts” surveys this year, this is to be expected as the fans have seem to go by the victory or defeat this season. Unfortunately, LA has had a very up and down year, much like the fan’s confidence, and just cannot seem to string together consecutive wins.
It also doesn’t help that the Rams cut their kicker Brett Maher for an unproven kicker off of the Cleveland Browns practice squad, Lucas Harvrisik. While the move was expected given Maher’s performance against the Steelers, it is a bit unnerving considering that at least Maher was an established veteran kicker.
Now McVay and company are putting all their eggs into the Havrisik basket, while making a midseason kicker switch, for a player who has no regular season kicks attempts thus far in his short career. It’s not to say the Rams can’t find another gem midseason like they did with Matt Gay a few years ago, but the timing of it makes it all a bit harder to stomach, especially with veteran free agents like Robbie Gould and Mason Crosby still available and LA one loss away from dropping to 3-5.
Los Angeles is also dealing with some injuries going into their game against the Cowboys this week. Their top two running backs, Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers, are both still out and Thursday Rob Havenstein was listed as a non-participant at practice, meaning there’s a chance that Joe Noteboom may need to fill in at right tackle.
However, there is always a silver lining to be found.
The first being that the Rams were still able to put together 135 yards rushing against Pittsburgh last week, even with their starters out, so they proved they can still have success running with Royce Freeman and Darrell Henderson. As far as their kicking situation, it’s not ideal, but if Havrisik could somehow find success the rest of the 2023 season, there’s a chance LA could gain a young franchise kicker for years to come.
Noteboom filling in for a leader like Havenstein wouldn’t be great in a week that the team is facing Micah Parsons, but with that said, he has filled in at right tackle once before during the covid season a few years back and performed well. He finished with a PFF score of 73.2 in the game, more than admirable for a backup out of position.
On top of that, the Buccaneers lost Thursday night and were the NFC seventh seed heading into the game, so with a victory at Dallas, the Rams would get even again at 4-4 and right back in the thick of the NFC playoff race - LA is currently tied for the eighth spot with the Commanders, Vikings and Saints on the outside looking in.