Los Angeles Rams football is not even a week away any longer and it’s time to tell you everything is going to be alright because these are the five reasons you can bet on the Rams making the playoffs.
1. The Defensive line is the best the Rams have had since the Fearsome Foursome
Bold? Maybe. Stupid? Not at all. The Rams put together a front four that would seriously make Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Lamar Lundy proud and we already know Rosey Grier is loving it as he has been a frequent visitor at Rams training camp.
Imagine being able to have the best interior defensive lineman in all of football on the same line as one of the fastest and most explosive edge rushers in the league, a veteran edge rusher who came out of seemingly nowhere and continues to perform at a high level and a defensive tackle who does everything he’s asked to do? Well what if I said that’s what you are getting with the Mob Squad Rams. Their defensive line is going to be something special.
The trick? The crazy plug-in-play rotation the Rams have put down. When you have players like Dominique Easley, Ethan Westbrooks, Matt Longacre and Eugene Sims on the back end of the defensive line who could realistically start on half the teams in the NFL..It gives you flexibility to let some of your starters come out for a snap or two and keep them fresh and ready all game long.
Did you hear that? That’s the sound of Russell Wilson hyperventilating realizing he has to play this group twice this season with no offensive line. A key stalwart in the Rams playoff hopes.
2. Todd Gurley
What more can you say? Todd Gurley is the face of the Los Angeles Rams at this very moment. He’s the been the player that has given Rams fans across the board hope. Whether it be from the fact he came back nine months after a torn ACL or whether he did that and won Rookie of the Year in that same year. Gurley has shown he is a game-changing player for this team.
The Rams are going to be starting a journeyman quarterback or as some teams may call him a priority backup. They could possibly end up starting the number one overall pick Jared Goff. Either way Gurley is going to need to takeover.
Don’t worry Gurley will take over and that will put your Rams in the playoffs.
3. Consistent winning in the NFC West
One thing is for sure, the NFC West is a brutal conference. It’s filled with two teams that have continuously made the playoffs in the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. The Rams find themselves going above .500 in their divisional games and that’s huge.
You need to think about the fact the Rams play the Cardinals, Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers twice a year. So with that being said, if they sweep the 49ers, and split games with the Seahawks and Cardinals. That ends up giving the Rams four wins out of just six right off the bat.
I expect the Rams history of playing tough in the NFC West divisional rivalry games to be repeated this season with a 4-2 record in the division leading the Rams one step closer to a playoff berth.
4. The Offense will improve significantly from last year
Yes, it’s easier said than done but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The Rams were among the worst in the league on offense yet they still managed to win seven games with how strong their defense played. This year should be different for multiple reasons.
The Rams offensive coordinator Rob Boras has had all offseason to install his offensive scheme and has had help from the new passing game coordinator Mike Groh. Last season for those who are not aware Boras was not the offensive coordinator, Frank Cignetti was. The Rams made the switch halfway through the season and Boras (while some may call it a boring offense) did shine some light on a truly abysmal offense. There isn’t much doubt having Boras be able to control the offensive play-calling from day one of preseason through the regular season will help this team.
Next you have Case Keenum. Yes, that name won’t strike fear in opposing defenses around the league like an Aaron Rodgers will. However, Keenum has one thing the Rams haven’t had in a QB since 2013 with Sam Bradford. What is that you might ask? Keenum has chemistry with his receivers, offensive lineman and running back. Keenum is the first QB the Rams have been able to have prepare to start the season from day one since as I said 2013 with Bradford. Why is that? Well, 2014 Bradford went down in preseason with a torn ACL derailing the Rams at QB and throwing in journeyman backup Shaun Hill and young QB Austin Davis. In 2015 the Rams made a trade that wasn’t exactly perfect timing to bring in Nick Foles and name him the starter but rush his preparation.
Unlike Foles last year Keenum has had all year. It’s not even about the mandatory team preparation from practice and training camp. No, Keenum set up many workouts and developed some chemistry with no.1 wide receiver Kenny Britt and starting tight end Lance Kendricks. Keenum was given that time after coming in late last year. We don’t exactly know how many games he will play but Keenum is a good bet to lead this offense and keep the defense off the field. Another reason the Rams find themselves in the playoffs.
5. Alec Ogletree is a major upgrade at MLB
James Laurinaitis was great for some years but eventually it seemed as though his lack of pure athleticism caught up to him. Laurinaitis may be the Rams all-time leading tackler but he was supremely bad last season and he just continued to plummet in production. Once a premier coverage linebacker, Laurinaitis seemed to lose a step at age 30 and even according to Pro Football Focus only managed to record 16 run stops on 422 snaps which ranked last in the NFL.
In steps Ogletree who is a much more athletic linebacker than Laurinaitis. He steps in needing to learn how to call a defense and that is one area a veteran like Laurinaitis came in handy. However, at the end of the day just being able to call a defense can’t win you football games. That big first-down saving tackle on fourth-down will and that is simply what makes Ogletree instantly upgrade the defense. Ogletree’s speed, quickness and pursuit are far superior to Laurinaitis and because of that Ogletree will make plays this year that we aren’t used to seeing from our middle linebacker.
Ogletree just needs to get acclimated to the position but as Mike Singletary said on Hard Knocks, he could be one of the best to ever play the position. That upgrade with Ogletree really could be the tipping point in turning this defense into one of the absolute best in football and of course leading them to the playoffs.
Have any other reasons? Sound off below!