Los Angeles Rams

Everyone will likely fixate on the stinker Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams put forth in Super Bowl LIII when they should be more focused on the overall body of work the team put forth in yet another dominant season under the new regime. LA was the class of the NFC in winning 13 overall games to breeze to the NFC West title and cash in on the futures odds at online sportsbooks for the second straight season. Linemakers installed the Rams favorites in all 16 of their regular season games, and they still went on to cover those games at a 7-8-1 clip even though they closed on average as 8.2-point favorites. That might be the most impressive aspect of last year’s team! Seriously, how’d the Golden State Warriors do against the spread this past season? While some new faces have arrived, the Rams still look to be the class of the NFC evidenced by their +545 odds to return to Super Bowl LIV.

Cementing himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Jared Goff will again be under center for the Rams potent offensive attack in 2019-20. Fresh off a season in which he threw for nearly 4,700 yards and racked up a solid 32:12 TD/INT ratio, No. 16 gets every single one of his toys back in the forms of Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp who is said to be fully recovered from the ACL tear that ended his season abruptly a year ago. Andrew Whitworth is also back to spearhead one of the best offensive lines in the business that opened holes for whoever toted the rock out of the backfield and allowed for Goff to stand tall in the pocket without worry. While Todd Gurley is still suffering from an arthritic knee, he’s still one of the premiere running backs in the NFL. That said, Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson are likely to eat into his carries so as to make sure he’s fresh this time around when the games matter most.

With as much talent Los Angeles had on the defensive side of the ball last season, it grossly failed to live up to expectations. While injuries played a major role in the secondaries shortcomings, the unit as a whole grossly underachieved. It more or less got bailed out repeatedly due to the efficient offense’s ability to go up and down the field and put points on the board. The biggest issues stemmed from the linebacker corps which forced upper management to shake things up in the offseason. Added to the defense are Jacksonville’s Dante Fowler Jr. and Green Bay’s Clay Matthews, while Eric Weddle comes over from Baltimore to shore up the pass defense. All three veteran additions should help improve a defense that ranked No. 19 overall and No. 20 in points allowed even with Aaron Donald routinely making life a living hell for opposing quarterbacks. Whether it’s enough to ultimately guide the franchise to its first Super Bowl win since “The Greatest Show on Turf” remains to be seen.

The NFC West will undoubtedly be one of the more competitive divisions in all of professional football. While the Rams are the current -180 favorites to win it a third straight season, the Seahawks and 49ers won’t go down without a fight. Los Angeles could win it again, but it won’t be by the comfy three games it pulled the feat off by last season – book it! That said, this is still the team to beat out west and the schedule laid out before them will allow them to showcase just that if navigated through successfully. LA got a taste of the big game last season but fell short. With so many members of last year’s team back in the mix, it’s extremely tough not to want to get a taste of their juicy 12-1 return to win it all heading into the regular season.