Los Angeles Preseason Preview: Rams vs. Broncos

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Preseason football doesn’t mean anything. At least, it isn’t an accurate barometer that can be used to assess how well a team will play throughout the regular season.

It doesn’t mean anything …

Well, some coaches might disagree with that sentiment. At least in action, if not verbally. Look at Jon Gruden. He always wins the first preseason game of the season. Not, sometimes … always. He’s never lost; 10-0. Sean McVay and the Rams were his tenth Week 1 victim. It’s an ego thing – I think. 

After heading over to Dallas to face the Cowboys, the LA Rams get to stay home in front of their fans and host Vic Fangio’s Denver Broncos. Tops sites like Bovada Sportsbook haven’t released the odds for Saturday’s showdown just yet, but this should be an exciting matchup. 

Before the regular season kicks off, the Rams have a Thursday, Aug. 29th  trip to Houston to play the Texans in the last dress rehearsal of the season. After that, there’s no more horsing around. 

Even though these games don’t count, let’s look preview the Week 3 matchup against the Broncos anyhow.

Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Rams

Vic Fangio did exactly what we thought he would during the Hall of Fame Week game against the Falcons. He got the home win to up the hype for the fans. However, since then, he has suffered two losses in a row. The Pete Carroll and the Seahawks beat the Broncos in Denver; then they lost to Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. 

This is to be expected. There is no hard calculous to determine how a coach will behave, but two things seem pretty consistent: new head coaches like to establish themselves by winning early, and defensive-minded coaches usually don’t care as much about preseason wins as former offensive coordinators. 

Despite the injury to Micah Kiser, we should still expect McVay to go hard with his plan to test out the younger players who are battling for starting roles – or second-team roles. Also, I would expect McVay to treat this like a regular-season game in a lot of ways because the Rams’ offense really sputtered in the second half against the Cowboys. For the final 30 minutes of play, the Cowboys defense shut the Rams out. 

This is Vic Fangio’s first year as a head coach, but he is a defensive guy … so this will be an excellent test for McVay’s offense. I expect that he’ll look beyond tinkering with pieces in Week 3 and actually shoot for some consistent offensive productivity. Especially considering the fact that the Rams haven’t pulled down a preseason win thus far this season. There are no coaching trends to follow, as McVay is 1-1 during Week 3 preseason play, but I have a feeling that he is going to go for the win in Broncoland. 

That said, after Fangio beat the Falcons in Week 1, he dropped the next two games. So, the question becomes, is he going to try to bolster the hype some more with another home victory, or as a defensive-minded coach, has his preseason hunger already been satiated with a win notched on his belt?

I tend to think that McVay wants this win more. He is going to really want to prove that his offense is capable of scoring after that lack-luster second half against Dallas. So if the point spread favors the Broncos, which I think it will, I will be taking the Rams to cover (if it is +3.5 or more). If the Rams are favored, I might just lay off and watch a great game mostly because Fangio is the X factor in this matchup. I’m just not sure what we are going to get out of him. Regardless, this is going to be a great game.

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