The Los Angeles Rams made impressive progress under first-year head coach Sean McVay in the 2017 season, winning the NFC West for the first time in 14 years.
The club meandered under the tenure of Jeff Fisher, failing to win over seven matches in five seasons with the franchise. However, McVay in his first campaign was able to bring an energy to the entire team to end their playoff drought.
Los Angeles’ season did end in a disappointing fashion. The Rams were beaten on home soil in the Wildcard Round by the Atlanta Falcons, who used their nous in the post-season secure a comfortable victory at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Despite the defeat, the Rams’ season was one of encouragement. Todd Gurley bounced back to his All-Pro form, producing a brilliant campaign. Quarterback Jared Goff took huge steps forward in his development, becoming a reliable passer in McVay’s offense.
Aaron Donald continued to be dominant on defense, although his current contract status remains up in the air. The Rams are yet to tie him down to a long-term deal, but reports suggest that the two parties are edging closer to terms.
Donald’s return to the fold will be a huge for a defense that has the potential to be downright imperious. The additions of Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters give LA two lockdown cornerbacks, while Ndamukong Suh’s arrival adds another superstar to the defensive line.
It would be an underwhelming campaign if the Rams were unable to make a deep surge in the NFC post-season.
Goff will be the key to whether the Rams are able to make the move from the Wildcard Round to the latter stages of the post-season. Under the tutelage of McVay, the 23-year-old was a safe pair of hands, throwing 28 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. His statistics were slightly better than his standard of play.
Goff capitalised on the advantageous positions he was placed in by his head coach on the sideline. He still needed to produce the plays on the field and more often than not, Goff was able to deliver during the regular season. In his first playoff match, the lights appeared to be bit too bright for the quarterback. Goff couldn’t make the plays when it mattered the most. As he enters his third season that will be the aspect of his play that will determine whether the Rams will be able to make the deep surge towards the Super Bowl.
He will be assisted by Gurley, who was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award for his outstanding campaign in 2017. The running back bounced back from his sophomore slump with 1,305 rushing yards and 788 receiving yards. Gurley also had nine touchdowns on the term.
If he maintains that level of form, the Rams will have no issue winning the NFC West once again. The 24-year-old took the pressure off his quarterback, making dynamic plays out of the backfield. He has carved out a reputations as one of the leading backs in the NFL. Another impressive season could see him move to the outright lead at his position.
Los Angeles traded their first-round pick for Brandin Cooks from the New England Patriots. Cooks had a solid season for the Patriots, although he missed the majority of the Super Bowl after being concussed in the first quarter. The Rams’ offense might to more of his liking than the Patriots’ system where straight-line speed is not always beneficial. Expect big plays from the wideout should he build an instant rapport with Goff.
The defense has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL. Wade Phillips’ unit was an average one last term, laying in the middle of the league in yards allowed and just inside the top-12 in points allowed. There’s plenty of room for improvement and with the talent acquired there should be. Talib has established himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL during his career.
He’s approaching the end of his time in the league, but should have at least two more seasons. His height and ability in man coverage will lock down one side of the defense. Talib will be the number two cornerback this term as the Rams also acquired Peters.
The 25-year-old has been outstanding on the field, although his flamboyant nature makes him very unpredictable. He has 19 interceptions in three seasons, displaying his quality. Peters is capable of locking down the best wideouts in the NFL. His presence should ensure that one side of the field is completely out of play for opposing offenses.
Donald has not reported to training at the time of writing. The Rams and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year have failed to come to terms on a long-term deal. Donald has been an utter force in the middle of the line, notching 39 sacks in four seasons, including 11 last term. Every opposing offense runs away from the defensive tackle and double-teams him in pass-rushing situations. Therefore the arrival of Suh could free up Donald to be even more devastating.
Suh has been in a similar situation at his last two clubs. At the Detroit Lions and the Miami Dolphins, he was the focal point of the opposing offensive line. He has the potential to wreck any gameplan due to his ability to penetrate in the run and passing game. With Donald alongside him, offenses will have to pick their poison. The duo could be unstoppable next season.
The Rams have the strongest side by far in the NFC West. Therefore they should have no issue winning the division barring crippling injuries. Back them at odds of -140 with BetOnline to take the crown for the second year on the bounce.
Beyond that will hinge on the performances of Goff. The Philadelphia Eagles proved that you don’t need a stellar quarterback to win the Super Bowl. Therefore take Los Angeles at +550 to win the NFC Conference and +1200 to claim the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time since the 1999 campaign.
Goff has the quality to become MVP of the league, although at this stage of his career it will likely be beyond him. For value alone though +5000 with TopBet is a good price to win the award. Also back the quarterback to throw for the most passing yards at +3046 with Bookmaker. Take the over on him to throw for 3,925 passing yards at -110 and over 27 touchdowns at -115 along with 11 interceptions and under at -110 all with BetOnline.
Kareem Hunt was the rushing champion by 22 yards last season. Back Gurley to claim the crown in 2018 at +900 with TopBet. Gurley was one of the leading contenders for MVP last season. He lost out to Tom Brady, but the value of +3010 with Bookmaker should be considered. Gurley will need a strong season for that to happen. Take him to rush for over 1,349 yards at -120 and over 16 touchdowns at -110 with BetOnline.
Cooks should be in line for a solid year, take him to have over six touchdowns at +100 and over 800 receiving yards at -135 with BetOnline. Rounding out the bets will be Donald, take him to match the accomplishment of JJ Watt with back-to-back wins at odds of +700 with BetOnline. Peters could also come into contention on value at +6600 .
Los Angeles Rams To Win NFC West
Los Angeles Rams To Win NFC Conference
Los Angeles Rams To Win Super Bowl LIII
Jared Goff To Be NFL MVP
Jared Goff To Lead NFL In Passing Yards
Jared Goff To Throw Over 3,925 Passing Yards
Jared Goff To Throw Over 27 Touchdowns
Jared Goff To Throw Under 11 Interceptions
Todd Gurley To Lead NFL In Rushing Yards
Todd Gurley To Be NFL MVP
Todd Gurley To Rush For Over 1,349 Rushing Yards
Todd Gurley To Record Over 16 Touchdowns
Brandin Cooks To Record Over Six Touchdowns
Brandin Cooks To Record Over 800 Receiving Yards
Aaron Donald To Be Defensive Player Of The Year
Marcus Peters To Be Defensive Player Of The Year