The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Los Angeles Rams. The time off allowed Matthew Stafford rest as he recovers from his thumb injury. His new backup, Carson Wentz, was also afforded a week to acclimate to the team and learn the ropes of the Sean McVay offense—last year’s first game with Baker Mayfield indicates that Wentz should be ready is Stafford goes down at some point.
Unfortunately for LA, the pecking order of the NFC West seems to be shifting. The Seattle Seahawks continue to keep pace with the San Francisco 49ers after they held on for last-second win over the Washington Commanders. The Seahawks are headed to Los Angeles this weekend and are looking to improve their 6-3 record.
Kyler Murray also returned this past week for the Arizona Cardinals. While he threw an ugly interception, he also led an impressive game-winning drive to give the Cardinals a win over the Atlanta Falcons and help them earn their second win on the season. Arizona is now 2-8 and are just a single win behind the Rams.
Now that the Cardinals’ franchise quarterback is back in the fold. could they make a push for the third spot in the NFC West—pushing the Rams into last place?
Let’s check in on LA’s upcoming schedule and see when we can expect them to end their current losing streak and get back in the win column:
Week 11 vs Seattle Seahawks
LA surprised most of the NFL world by leading a resounding Week 1 victory on the road in Seattle. The Rams stole a win in the season opener with a final score of 30-13. Geno Smith and the Seattle offense weren’t able to get much going against a Los Angeles defense that is starting to make a name for itself.
But Seattle was somewhat short-handed and was missing both rookies they drafted in the first round: CB Devon Witherspoon and WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The Seahawks also saw both of their starting offensive tackles injured in the first half of their Week 1 contest against the Rams. They are still without Abraham Lucas but overall Seattle has stabilized their offensive line.
The Seahawks have lost only a single game since their opening loss to Los Angeles. These are two teams trending in very different directions, and it’s difficult to see the Rams pulling this one off.
Prediction: Seahawks win; Rams move to 3-7
Week 12 at Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray is back for Arizona, though the Rams defense has performed well against him in the past. This is a new offensive scheme under Drew Petzing for the Cardinals. Meanwhile LA is also expecting reinforcements, and they should get back standout running back Kyren Williams for this game.
Still, Murray played well in his first game back from an ACL tear. He’s still shaking off the rust from taking nearly a calendar year off from football, and he’s out to prove he can be Arizona’s quarterback of the future. The first step he can take in earning job security would be putting the Cardinals out of position to land Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in next year’s NFL Draft. A win over the Rams would certainly help with that.
Prediction: Cardinals win; Rams move to 3-8
Week 13 vs Cleveland Browns
Cleveland’s defense is among the best in the NFL and they make life difficult for opposing quarterbacks, though their offense is far from consistent. The Rams have struggled against similarly built teams in the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and the Green Bay Packers. If LA cannot hold their own in the trenches this game could be ugly from an offensive production standpoint.
Prediction: Browns win; Rams move to 3-9
Week 14 at Baltimore Ravens
While the Ravens dropped a winnable game to the aforementioned Browns this past weekend, the Baltimore offense looks unstoppable at times. Lamar Jackson has taken a step forward this season as a passer. The Ravens defense can rush the passer but after a slew of injuries they are very thin in the secondary.
We could see an offensive shootout in this game, but ultimately it’s difficult to see the Rams keep up with Lamar Jackson who seems to have all the answers this year. He can beat you through the air or with his legs, and Baltimore has a stable of running backs with different skillsets.
Prediction: Ravens win; Rams move to 3-10
Week 15 vs Washington Commanders
If the Rams truly lose seven games in a row, could we see Carson Wentz making the start for LA against his most recent former team?
Sam Howell has flashed and maybe proven that he’s Washington’s QB of the future, but he’s still volatile. Ron Rivera is effectively a coaching lame duck.
Prediction: Rams win, move to 4-10
Week 16 vs New Orleans Saints
Which quarterback will be starting for New Orleans this late into the season: Derek Carr or Jameis Winston? The Saints have plenty of firepower on offense but they very rarely put it all together. They are a frustrating team that will probably hover around the .500 mark, but the difference in quarterback between Carr or Winston and Stafford will be the difference in this game.
Prediction: Rams win, move to 5-10
Week 17 at New York Giants
The Giants likely have no hopes of winning a game for as long as UDFA rookie Tommy DeVito is their starter—and that will likely net New York either Williams or Maye in the draft. They are likely headed for the first overall pick.
Meanwhile, the Rams could win three-in-a-row late into the year to damage their chances at a top draft pick. Still, it’s positive to build momentum heading into the offseason.
Prediction: Rams win, move to 6-10
Week 18 at San Francisco 49ers
Will the 49ers be resting starters in the final week, or will the Seahawks push them to the wire in the race for first place in the NFC West? That will play the biggest role in determining who wins this game, as a fully loaded San Francisco team with an intent to win outclasses this version of the Rams nearly every time.