While it felt as though the Los Angeles Rams were an abject disaster last year after missing the playoffs with their high-priced roster and hotshot head coach, the team did finish a respectable 9-7 with a number of close losses. The campaign was no doubt a disappointment for the organization after making it to the Super Bowl a season prior but far from the calamity that developed into a prevailing narrative.
Now comes the hard part for Sean McVay: turning the ship around and getting the team back into the playoffs in what might be the toughest division in football. There is still elite talent on the roster with the likes of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, but questions will remain regarding depth and installing two new coordinators in the middle of a global pandemic.
Oh, and they’ll have to open that sparkling new billion-dollar home in eerie silence instead of the legions of new NFL fans in Los Angeles showing up to check out the marvel that is SoFi Stadium.
So just how will things end up playing out for the Rams? Athlon Sports asked several experts how the season would play out and what the team record would be when all is said and done.
Los Angeles Rams Game-by-Game Predictions for 2020
Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer)
Health may be the determining factor as to how far this Rams team can go, but I would not be betting against a bit of a bounce-back campaign in Los Angeles. Obviously they could have gotten a bigger bump from the opening of their stadium with fans, but everybody will be dealing with that issue this year. And this group still has Aaron Donald looking like the best defender in football combined with an offseason of Sean McVay sitting around at his house drawing up play designs. The schedule outside the division sets up well to get some easy opponents and a return to double digits in the win column certainly could be in store.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
The Rams are an interesting team to assess. They didn't make the playoffs a year after playing in the Super Bowl but didn't implode either, and their 9-7 record included three losses by no more than five points. However, a lot of pieces from that team are gone, so how all the new faces fit in with the incumbents will be critical. Sean McVay didn't forget how to coach, but the defense has a rookie coordinator, and Los Angeles resides in one of the toughest divisions in the entire NFL. But the Rams still feature plenty of talent, and I think there are enough winnable games on their schedule for them to make a serious run at one the wild-card berths in the expanded playoff field.
Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)
The Rams are definitely one of the seven most talented teams in the NFC, but their schedule might make it difficult to make the playoffs once again. The good news is getting a full year out of Jalen Ramsey will do wonders to make up for the departures of quite a few key defensive players (Cory Littleton, Clay Matthews, Eric Weddle, Nickell Robey-Coleman). And the team should also get a major boost from a better running game. Cam Akers may not be more talented than Todd Gurley in a vacuum, but it won't take much for him to surpass the former Offensive Player of the Year's injury-plagued 2019 production. With play-action a bigger threat, this offense should return to its top-10 glory because it's too talented to play like it did last season (24.6 ppg, 11th in the NFL).