The Los Angeles Rams won an absolute thriller yesterday in Tampa Bay, Florida. After going from scoring zero touchdowns the first two weeks to scoring five in week three the Rams seem to be woken up. The Seattle hangover proved to be non-existent and now we need to ask ourselves if this is a new Rams team. Well lets just point out right now that the Rams haven’t been 2-1 since the 2006 QB Marc Bulger led Rams. After the way the Rams started off the season getting blown out in front of the country on Monday Night Football to a last year’s bottom dweller of a team. There probably was only a few that expected the Rams to respond in this fashion.
Now that the Rams are 2-1 what does this mean for the rest of the NFC? Well for starters they are in possession of first place because the Seattle Seahawks are also 2-1 but a loss to the Rams in week two breaks the tie. The 49ers who dominated the Rams on Monday Night Football are 1-2 and the Arizona Cardinals are 1-2 after dropping the ball in Buffalo. So clearly this win in Tampa Bay was vital as they were unable to take advantage of Arizona’s week one loss previously. Now the Rams are facing Arizona with a chance to kick the Cardinals to the curb at 1-3. The same team that was projected to win the NFC West.
In viewing the situations the NFC West teams face the obvious one that stands out is that the Seahawks could be without their star QB Russell Wilson for the time being with an MCL sprain. The Cardinals QB Carson Palmer has more turnovers (7) than touchdowns (5). The 49ers have Blaine Gabbert under center and that’s all that really needs to be said.
Now the Rams head into week four atop of the division, Arizona needs to beat the Rams at home to avoid going 1-3, Seattle plays (likely without Wilson) a Jets team that needs to turn it around after QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw six interceptions and while the 49ers come back home, they still have to play a Dallas Cowboys team that is 2-1 and has moved the ball well with rookie QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott.
If the Rams beat Arizona and they fall to 1-3, Seattle loses to the Jets they fall to 2-2 and the 49ers lose and they fall to 1-3. The Rams go back home to play the Buffalo Bills at 3-1 and then things could start to roll. Why though should we expect the Rams to come into Arizona after they were embarrassed in Buffalo and the Rams who gave up 472 total yards to Tampa Bay shut down a mad Cardinals team? Well the Rams proved many wrong when they come out at home and beat the Seahawks 9-3. Despite their turnaround many had them pegged to get blown out by the Buccaneers and they won. Arizona are going to be the pre-game favorites again but why should that matter?
The Rams defense is proving to be the best looking in the NFC West and it should only improve as new MLB Alec Ogletree continues to get better at his new position, young CB Troy Hill gets more comfortable at CB and the defense as a whole keeps gaining more confidence. If Robert Quinn is officially back to form this could be really bad news for the rest of the division. Bear in mind the team that won a game against Seattle without scoring at touchdown turned around week three and scored five. The offensive potential is there as well now.
With WR Brian Quick coming alive for the first Los Angeles Rams touchdown since 1994, WR Tavon Austin coming alive with a touchdown in a crucial point in the game, RB Todd Gurley coming alive with two touchdowns and the returns of WR Pharoh Cooper and WR Nelson Spruce on the way, the Rams offense might only get better. Keep in mind the potential at QB, with Keenum not exactly balling out by any measure, rookie no.1 overall pick QB Jared Goff and QB Sean Mannion can step in and take over for Keenum. They offer more to the table than Keenum who is really only the starter because his experience and his decision making.
Come the bye week I believe the Rams could be sitting at 5-2 and switch to the young gun Goff. Could the Rams win the division? I believe so as well, it’s early make no mistake about it but, the Rams have pieces if they get down to the wire. The Rams don’t need to win the division to get to the playoffs and might not. However, if they win the division that is a playoff game in L.A. in what would be one of the most hostile environments a road team could play in.
Regardless who is QB, if the Rams limit turnovers, get their weapons involved on offense and keep the defense off the field as much as possible then the Rams can beat anyone. Their defense is the stalwart of their team but the issue has been the amount of time the defense has had to be on the field due to the lack of ball movement from the Rams offense and quick three-and-outs. Keep the defensed rested and move the ball on offense and this team will beat anyone. Failure to do that could end up being a 180 for the Rams on the season and be fatal to their playoff hopes.
So with that being said…Are the Rams the new sheriff in town? That remains to be seen but right now the arrow is pointing up.