Remember when some of these so-called “experts” predicted that the Los Angeles Rams would be lucky to win one of their first five games? Some even thought LA would start the year 0-5.
I suppose it’s still possible for the Rams to lose out in their opening slate but I’d say the team has already surpassed early expectations. Now this is no time for a victory lap. Yet, when sorting through the remainder of LA’s schedule, it doesn’t seem quite as daunting as we originally thought.
For one, the team’s road game against the Bengals on Monday night is a toss up. Cincinnati was projected to be an AFC favorite heading into the season. So far they’ve started 0-2 and just haven’t looked like themselves. There’s plenty of time for Cincy to turn it around as they were winless through the first two games in 2022 and advanced to the AFC Championship. Initial questions surrounding the status of Joe Burrow in Week 3 appear to be promising for the Bengals as we hit midweek.
Indications are Joe Burrow has been feeling better the last two days than he was on Sunday. As @RapSheet notes, no injury report today because the #Bengals play on Monday. The extra day will surely help. https://t.co/royp7NCKmo— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 20, 2023
As for the remainder of the Rams’ opening slate, after Cincinnati they’ve got Indy. The Colts appear to have found a quarterback in Anthony Richardson but we’ll see whether he can make it through a full game without hurting himself. Philadelphia continues to be a force even if they’ve “regressed”. I found that notion ridiculous. Even a “down” Eagles squad is one of the top teams in the NFC. Arizona isn’t exactly a pushover. However, how bad do you have to be to blow a 28-7 lead in the second half? Even the ‘08 Lions would’ve protected that lead.
LA could realistically get out of the first five games with a 2-3 record or better yet, 3-2. Either one sets the Rams up for a playoff push which isn’t laughable at all. There are plenty of winnable games left for the team, especially in the second half of the year.
Upcoming games against the Steelers, Packers, Cardinals (Part II), Seahawks, Browns and Giants are favorable matchups. Steelers are inept on offense. The Giants were until the second half against Arizona. Maybe they’re still inept I don’t know. Green Bay essentially has a “rookie” quarterback. Cleveland has a signal caller who’s rapidly deteriorating before our very eyes. Hope the Browns kept a receipt on Deshaun Watson but for karma’s sake I’m glad they burnt their money to a crisp.
Baker Mayfield leads Deshaun Watson in every key QB metric.— ThatsGoodSports (@BrandonPerna) September 19, 2023
1. Passing Yards
2. TD passes
3. Yards per attempt
4. Completion percentage
5. Passer Rating
8. Treating Women with Respect & Dignity
Don’t get me wrong, there are a fair share of tough games coming up as well. Games against the Ravens, Saints, Commanders and 49ers in the season finale will be hard ones for LA to win. Aside from the Niners matchup, the most brutal remaining game on the Rams’ schedule will be a Week 8 trip to Dallas.
Despite beating up on crappy New York teams the first two weeks, this is likely the best Cowboys team since they last won the Super Bowl. You know, in the days when VHS tapes were super rad. Dallas seems to be on a mission which means their fanbase is going to be more obnoxious, if that’s possible. With all disrespect intended to the 49ers, the Cowboys have the best defense in the NFL and in my mind it’s not even close. Over the last three seasons with Dan Quinn in charge, I’ve never seen a more turnover hungry unit.
I’m nervous but anxious to see how well LA’s retooled offensive line holds up against Micah Parsons and company.
Again, this is no time for a victory lap. Moral victories against the 49ers don’t mean a damn thing in the win column, sorry.
While I’m excited about LA’s future whether or not they make the postseason, I firmly believe this team has a playoff push in them. Why not them right? What a storyline that would make after almost everyone counted them out ahead of ‘23. I’ll admit I was guilty of it but the Rams are starting to make a believer out of me.
After all, there’s nothing more dangerous than a young team on the rise.