The Los Angeles Rams have known their opponents for awhile, but they finally found out the order in which they’ll play on Thursday Night. The Rams will have one of the hardest schedules in the NFL. If they’re looking to run it back, doing so won’t be easy. Let’s take a look at my game-by-game predictions.
Week 1: Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams (TNF)
The Los Angeles Rams will open the season with the Buffalo Bills. The defending Super Bowl champions will go up against the current Super Bowl favorite. Home teams are 16-3 since the NFL had the defending Super Bowl champion host the opening game of the next season. However, the Bills will be no easy task.
While I want to take the Rams, I do think this is a tough matchup. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some early season growing pains on the offensive line. Von Miller, Greg Rousseau, and Ed Oliver could have an impact on this game while the Rams struggle to get to Josh Allen.
Prediction: Loss (0-1)
Week 2: vs. Atlanta Flacons
The Atlanta Falcons have one of the worst rosters in the NFL. They’ll likely be quarterbacked by Marcus Mariota and Kyle Pitts is their only big threat on offense. After a long week, the Rams should be able to bounce back after an opening game loss to the Buffalo Bills. This game has the largest opening spread of the season at -13. The Rams should get through.
Prediction: Win (1-1)
Week 3: @ Arizona Cardinals
The Rams lost to the Cardinals for the first time in the Sean McVay era last season. However, McVay got the final laugh with a win at Arizona and in the NFC Wildcard Playoffs. Both teams will show up ready for what is sure to be an exciting and crucial Week 3 matchup.
The Cardinals didn’t do a lot to improve this offseason. Additionally, they’ll be without DeAndre Hopkins for this one. Last season, the Cardinals were 1-4 when Hopkins was not in the lineup which includes the NFC Wildcard game. Additionally, they averaged only 19.75 points per game without the star receiver. Expect the Rams to win here.
Prediction: Win (2-1)
Week 4: Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers (MNF)
For the second time in four weeks, the Los Angeles Rams will be on primetime. This will be a rematch of the NFC Championship game where McVay finally got over the 49ers hump for the first time in three years. The 49ers will be looking for revenge while the Rams look to keep a run of wins going.
The 49ers will be starting Trey Lance While Lance showed flashes last season, he struggled in games that weren’t against the Houston Texans. He went 9-for-18 in a loss to the Seahawks and only 15-for-29 in a loss to the Cardinals. Lance is going to have some early season bumps. While this is at San Francisco, I do think the Rams win this one.
Prediction: Win (3-1)
Week 5: vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Rams will be home on a short week to face the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is not the same team they were two years ago when they blew out the Rams. Jalen Ramsey vs. CeeDee Lamb should be a good matchup as well. Still, I think the Rams hold a major advantage.
Sean McVay is a better coach than Mike McCarthy, the Rams will have the better quarterback in Matthew Stafford, and lastly, Allen Robinson and Cooper Kupp will be too much for the young Cowboys secondary. Dan Quinn and McVay could be a fun coaching matchup to watch as well. Still, the Rams keep their winning streak alive.
Prediction: Win (4-1)
Week 6: vs. Carolina Panthers
The Rams’ easiest games of the season arguably both come in the first six weeks. As mentioned earlier, the Atlanta Falcons don’t have a good roster. The same could be said about Carolina especially when you look at the quarterback position. After losing the opening game of the season, the Rams should be able to take a five-game winning streak into the bye.
The early bye week is worrisome. The late bye week last season seemed to help McVay as the Rams found a new identity on offense that revolved around Sony Michel and the offense. Any adjustments that the Rams make this season will need to be enough to carry them through a grueling part of the schedule.
Prediction: Win (5-1)
Week 8: vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Los Angeles Rams will have an extra week to prepare for the San Francisco 49ers. However, it seems unlikely that the Rams would sweep the 49ers and win their third straight in the series after losing six in a row. Trey Lance will have more experience under his sleeve and Kyle Shanahan will come ready to avenge the early season defeat.
These two teams know each other very well and don’t particularly like each other. It will likely be between these two teams for the NFC West crown and this is the last time they’ll see each other.
Prediction: Loss (5-2)
Week 9: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I could definitely see the Rams winning this game. They haven’t lost to the Buccaneers since Brady joined them three years ago. One of those wins included a win at Raymond James Stadium in the divisional round last season. The Rams have dominated these matchups.
With that said, the Buccaneers didn’t have Chris Godwin in the playoff game and he’ll be back. I do think the Rams offensive line struggles in this one and the Buccaneers secondary has improved with the addition of Logan Ryan. I see the Rams losing their second straight game here.
Prediction: Loss (5-3)
Week 10: vs. Arizona Cardinals
Coming off of a second straight loss, the Rams will need a “get right” game. The Arizona Cardinals are the perfect matchup for that and just so happen to have been the “get right” game last season. The Rams won the previous matchup when the Cardinals were without Hopkins and this comes in Week 10 when the Cardinals have historically started collapsing.
The next stretch of games isn’t going to be easy. A win here will be a must of the Rams want to push towards a second NFC West title and a good playoff seed.
Prediction: Win (6-3)
Week 11: @ New Orleans Saints
This could be a trap game. The Saints aren’t bad by ay means. Now, they have some questions for sure on the offensive side of the ball. However, on defense, the Saints are very scary. If the Rams don’t show up sharp on offense, the Saints will make them pay for it.
If I could trust Jameis Winston, I might take the Saints here, but I expect the Rams to do just enough to get over the hump and come out of New Orleans with a win.
Prediction: Win (7-3)
Week 12: @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs aren’t as scary as they were last year or even two years ago. The effect of paying Patrick Mahomes his contract is starting to take shape. They had to trade Tyreek Hill and Tyrann Mathieu wasn’t brought back on defense. With Mahomes, the Chiefs are always going to be competitive. Playing at Arrowhead is also never easy. Still, this team took a step back this offseason.
I could definitely see a loss here much like the Saints game. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Rams split these two games. Still, the Rams are the better team and should be able to come out on top.
Prediction: Win (8-3)
Week 13: vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks will be an interesting team this season. The Legion of Boom era is officially over and Drew Lock is the quarterback that they’ve decided to roll with. That doesn’t bode well for them in the NFC West and the toughest division in football.
The Los Angeles Rams will play Seattle for the first time in Week 13. Seattle is likely the worst team in the division and the Rams should get a comfortable win.
Prediction: Win (9-3)
Week 14: Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Rams (TNF)
This is going to be a very exciting matchup. Former Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will make his return as a head coach. This will also be a game between both LA teams of the 70s. Despite not having played in Los Angeles for 40 years, the Raiders are still seen as LA’s team.
SoFi will likely be filled with plenty of Raiders fans. Still, on a short week, I like the Rams in this one to win their 10th game of the season.
Prediction: Win (10-3)
Week 15: Las Angeles Rams @ Green Pay Packers (MNF)
Is it possible for the Rams to not play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in late November? Are games even played at Lambeau Field before November? Is that even a thing?
For the second straight year, the Rams will play a primetime game at Lambeau Field against the Packers when it will certainly be -400 degrees. However, that doesn’t include the playoff game from two years ago either. The Packers could have some early season bumps as Aaron Rogers gets accustomed to life without DeVante Adams. However, he’ll likely have it figured out by Week 15.
Prediction: Loss (10-4)
Week 16: Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Rams (Christmas)
The Los Angeles Rams will play on Christmas this year and Russell Wilson’s Christmas present will be Aaron Donald. However, I do see this being a difficult game for the Rams. Patrick Surtain, Kareem Jackson, Ronald Darby, and Justin Simmon make up arguably the best secondary in the NFL.
I see this being a difficult game for Stafford and the Rams. Nathaniel Hackett and Wilson should be able to do enough on offense which will help out the Denver defense.
Prediction: Loss (10-5)
Week 17: @ Los Angeles Chargers
This is going to be an interesting game. However, I see the Chargers winning the battle up front. Last season, the Chargers struggled stopping the run. They’ve added Khalil Mack and Sebastian Joseph-Day. Jerry Tillery and Joey Bosa are still very good players. They’ve also added JC Jackson to their secondary which can hang among the best in the league.
I could definitely see the Rams struggling in this one while Herbert and the Chargers offense find success.
Prediction: Loss (10-6)
Week 18: @ Seattle Seahawks
This is just the type of game that the Rams will need before heading into the postseason. Coming off of a three-game losing streak, the Rams will need to find some momentum before heading into the playoffs. Seattle should be able to provide that in the final week of the season.
Prediction: Win (11-6)
If the Rams want to repeat, they’ll have to earn it. I see a trip to the divisional round of the playoffs or maybe the NFC Championship game. The Rams are one of the best teams in the NFC, but the schedule is brutal and daunting. There really isn’t an easy stretch. The easiest stretch is probably Weeks 5-7 when the Rams host Dallas, Carolina, and then go on a bye. Meanwhile, Weeks 14-17 has a chance to make or break the season.
I could see 13-4, but 11-6 seems to be more realistic. The Rams will have questions on the offensive line and there will be growing pains there as Logan Bruss gets involved and Joe Noteboom takes over full-time. Brian Allen and Joe Noteboom are also prone to injury. Losing Von Miller could be noticed as well with the pass rush on defense.
The Rams should have a successful season, but every season has its peaks and valleys and I expect this one to be much of the same.