The Los Angeles Rams were involved in one of the biggest roster shakeups of the offseason. The team stunned the football world when they dealt Jared Goff and two first round picks to the Detroit Lions in return for Matthew Stafford.
Will that infusion of arm talent be what LA needs to get back to the Super Bowl in 2021? It’s tough to pin all the hopes of a franchise’s season on one new player, but Stafford will certainly be a major key in how far the Rams go this season.
10-6, 2nd NFC West
Points: 18.5 points per game, rank 1st
Yards: 4.6 yards per play, rank 1st
Football Outsiders Ranking: 4th
Points: 23.3 points per game, rank 22nd
Yards: 5.5 yards per play, rank 11th
Football Outsiders Ranking: 10th
Super Bowl: +1300
AFC/NFC Champion: +550
NFC West: +180
Win Total: 10.5 (Over +105, Under -125)
LA wasn’t afraid to admit they made a mistake and cast their former first-round pick aside for a clear upgrade under center in Stafford. Even though Goff had helped lead them to a Super Bowl just three seasons ago, the offensive production since then has been inconsistent at best. Stafford has proven to be one of the best QBs in the NFL during his 12-year career, even though his supporting casts have typically left a lot to be desired.
The offense won’t change much from a personnel perspective outside of Goff for Stafford. They still have Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp in their wide receiver corps, but they added DeSean Jackson and rookies Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek. The NFL’s top-ranked defense lost four starters, but most of the star power is back with Jalen Ramsey on the outside and Aaron Donald returning as well to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines.
Biggest question entering training camp
The clear question here is how fast will Stafford be able to pick up the new, fast-paced offensive scheme and will he gel with his new receivers right away. Realistically, Detroit had a revolving door of OCs and receivers during his long tenure there, so this shouldn’t be that big of an issue. Still, it’s something to keep an eye on.
Another major question here is whether or not the defense will able to build on its elite season in 2020. The Rams lost defensive coordinator Brandon Staley as he moved across town to become the Chargers head coach, so it’s worth wondering if new DC Raheem Morris will be running the same or similar scheme to get the most out of this group.
What needs to happen for the Los Angeles Rams to win the Super Bowl?
Once the Stafford trade was announced, the Rams' odds to win the Super Bowl shot way down. They went from being a solid playoff team to a hot-ticket item as a Super Bowl pick. The only NFC team with better odds to claim the title is the returning champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The defense will need to continue its elite play from last season and Stafford will have to be a quick study and mesh with his new teammates and coaches fast for LA to end the season on top.
No matter how the season goes from a win/loss perspective, it’s going to be interesting in Hollywood. The Rams should boast one of the most exciting offensive and defensive combinations in the NFL this year.