The Los Angeles Rams are only about a week away from a showdown with the division rival Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field. With the season just around the corner, and most of the rosters settled, lets take a look at LA’s schedule and what the season could look like for 2023.
Week 1: @ Seattle Seahawks
Crowd noise is also always a factor at Lumen Field, especially when LA has such a young team. Considering the burners that Seattle sports at wide receiver, especially if Jaxon Smith-Njigba can recover from his wrist injury in time to play, I am worried that the Rams inexperience on defense, along with the possibility of Cooper Kupp missing the game due to his reaggravation of a previous hamstring injury earlier this week, will cause them to stumble in a close game week 1.
Week 2: San Francisco 49ers
While a controversial pick for the win category, I truly believe the Rams can defeat the Niners in SoFi week 2. Nick Bosa has been out all summer and even if he signs before the game, there’s a chance he may not be in football shape right away. Brock Purdy will also be fresh off elbow surgery and if the Rams are going to nab a win against the 49ers this season, I think it’s going to be early on when they have some question marks.
Week 3: @ Cincinnati Bengals
This is more than likely going to be a win for Cincinnati. Right now the Rams just do not have the defense to keep up with Ja’marr Chase and Tee Higgins. If Joe Burrow’s calf injury from training camp somehow keeps him out of this game and LA is facing Jake Browning at quarterback, it would be a completely different situation. That seems unlikely though as Burrow returned to practice on Wednesday, so assuming he has no set backs, he will be playing by week 3 and this one will tilt in favor the Bengals.
Week 4: @ Indianapolis Colts
The Rams have defeated the Colts in their last three meetings and I think this trend will continue in 2023. Indianapolis’ star running back, Jonathan Taylor, will not be playing as he has been placed on the PUP list and will miss the first four games. Indy will also go into the game with a rookie starting quarterback, University of Florida’s Anthony Richardson. Both of these situations bode well for LA, along with the fact that Indianapolis just doesn’t have a great defense. I think the Rams offense gets the better of the Colts in this one.
Week 5: Philadelphia Eagles
Rams lose to the Eagles, who have the hands down best team in the NFC conference. This one will probably not be close and the Eagles realistically may get back to the Super Bowl this year, led by a stellar defense and fantastic dual threat QB, Jalen Hurts.
Week 6: Arizona Cardinals
Arizona is tanking no matter how much they don’t want to admit it. In theory, this should be a no brainer win for Los Angeles. When Josh Dobbs is the best quarterback on your roster, there’s probably not a ton of hope for a successful season. The Rams are also 11-2 in the last 13 meetings with Arizona, so even with a better Cardinals team, this one would probably be in LA’s favor.
Week 7: Pittsburgh Steelers
This was one of the harder games to figure out, we just don’t know how good the Steelers actually are. Kenny Pickett looked like a rookie early on in his campaign last year but really picked it up towards the end of the season. Pickett has continued to look good this preseason, but the Steelers offensive line is average at best, recently ranked 17th in the league by CBS sport’s Ross Tucker. I think Aaron Donald shows off for his hometown team and gets to Pickett multiple times.
Week 8: @ Dallas Cowboys
Dallas will be one of the better NFC teams in the conference. Dak is still an above average QB and with the offense now turned over to shifty back, Tony Pollard, I’m not sure the Rams can get enough defensive pressure to stop him. Dallas also has three talented wide receivers in CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and former Ram, Brandin Cooks.
Week 9: @ Green Bay Packers
Cold weather games in Green Bay seems to be a recipe for disaster with LA. While Jordan Love is a question mark, the Packers pose one of the best defensive backfields in the NFL. I think these two things make it more likely that the Rams struggle in Wisconsin during a chilly November bout.
Week 10: Bye
Nothing to see here, time to recover and get ready for a home game next week.
Week 11: Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has had trouble with Los Angeles in the past and when these two teams meet you need to just throw records to the side. The Rams were 8-2 against the Seahawks up until 2022. Seattle holds a two game win streak over LA as of late, but I think the Rams show some pride at home and split the divisional series.
Week 12: @ Arizona Cardinals
Caleb Williams will not be drafted by Arizona before week 12 and their defense is not much better outside of Budda Baker, so again, this should be an easy win for LA.
Week 13: Cleveland Browns
I am not confident in Deshaun Watson’s ability to improve on last season, after his two year layoff from the game due to legal issues. The Browns only real threat on the outside are an aging Amari Cooper and Jets send off, Elijah Moore. This is good for a Rams defense that might have some trouble against the pass. If the offensive line can give Stafford some time against Miles Garrett, I think LA could get a win at home here against a mediocre Browns team.
Week 14: @ Baltimore Ravens
If healthy, Odell Beckham is going to want to have a big game against his former team. Between him, Zay Flowers and Lamar Jackson, I just don’t know if the Rams have the horses to keep up with that lightning fast offense. The Ravens also sport one of the best rush offenses, which could be something Los Angeles will struggle with considering their defensive line is a question mark outside of Aaron Donald.
Week 15: Washington Commanders
The Commanders look to be improved on last year, and while he has limited playing time, I am already a fan of Sam Howell. The Commanders defensive line is good, but the backend of their defense is nothing to write home about. Sean McVay is able to rally the troops at home against his former team (he was with Washington in a variety of coaching roles from 2010-16) and get a much needed NFC win towards the end of the year.
Week 16: New Orleans Saints
This is no longer the Sean Payton Saints with Drew Brees. I like Derek Carr, and Alvin Kamara should be back for this game, however it’s always 50/50 if Michael Thomas will play, leaving just 2nd year wideout Chris Olave. The Saints have some good players on defense in Cam Jordan and Marshon Lattimore, but they are aging quick and I think the young, fast receivers of the Rams can get the job done in a needed win.
Week 17: New York Giants
Giants improved greatly under head coach Brian Daboll last year and were able to retain Daniel Jones and All-Pro running back, Saquon Barkley. I think Barkley runs all over the LA defense and the Rams drop one to the Giants late in the season.
Week 18: @ San Francisco 49ers
This game is a toss up, but considering the Rams track record with the 49ers as of late, and the fact it’s in San Francisco, I am giving the hated division rivals a win here. This all goes out the window though if Brock Purdy is unable to stay health or does not live up to the hype gained from his play last year.
Total Record: 9-8 (4-2 divisional record)
The beginning of the schedule is very daunting for this young Rams team. They open the season with three of five games on the road, and four of the first five games against teams that were in the playoffs last season, including the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles.
The backend has the possibility of a late season resurgence, with games against the Cardinals, Browns, Commanders and Saints. Overall, I think the Rams will be a middle of the pack team that play above expectations due to great leadership from McVay.
In a relatively weak NFC, finishing 9-8 may just be enough to back into the playoffs as a wildcard team, which I think most Rams fans would be more than happy with in a “retooling” year.