Despite signing and extending a number of key contributors, the defending champs find themselves under .500 with a 2-3 record through Week 5. Is it time to panic in LA?
The Los Angeles Rams do not look like the reigning Super Bowl champs, nor a team that went on a spending frenzy in the offseason.
On Sunday, the Rams lost their second straight game, this time at the hands of Cooper Rush and the Dallas Cowboys. It was their second consecutive contest in which they failed to score more than 10 points. This is largely the same team that scored 27 points per game and boasted a top-10 offense amid its Super Bowl run last season.
It doesn’t make much sense. It restructured Aaron Donald’s contract (three years, $95 million), signed WR Allen Robinson (three years, $46.5 million), and extended QB Matthew Stafford (four years, $160 million) — making him the highest-paid player by total cash. They also extended Stafford’s favorite target in Cooper Kupp to the tune of $80 million over three years, while also signing linebacker Bobby Wagner to a five-year, $50 million deal in April.
All of these signings/extensions, as well as additional moves such as signing draft picks, led to a league-high $574.9 million in offseason spending in Los Angeles. That’s $8 million more than the second-highest offseason spenders (Raiders, $566.6 million), and $45 million more than the third-highest offseason spenders (Browns, $529.9 million).
The Rams had the fourth-best Super Bowl odds at the season’s start. Now? They aren’t even in the top 10. With the way they’ve been playing of late, they’ll be lucky to qualify for the postseason. The franchise hasn’t started a season 2-3 since 2015 when it was still in St. Louis.
Of course, it’s still early, but how are we supposed to take this team seriously? Let’s get right into it.
Stafford: What in the world is going on with the reigning champ? He’s thrown more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (5) this season. Plus, he hasn’t thrown a single TD in the fourth quarter this season. The team has scored one TD in the last nine quarters, and it has reached the 20-point mark only once this season — a Week 3 victory against the Falcons.
Offensive Line: Not much Stafford can do when he leads the NFL in sacks taken (21). The Rams started their fifth different offensive line this season against the Cowboys, hence their inconsistency, specifically in the rush game where they’re dead last in the league at 62.4 yards per game.
Spending: Perhaps the team should’ve prioritized the O-Line more this offseason. Despite the heavy spending, it allocated just $16.7 million cap dollars to the big uglies (8.3% of the cap) — the fourth-lowest in the league.
|Offensive Category||NFL Rank|
|Rush Yards/Game: 62.4||32nd|
|Pass Yards/Game: 237.4||18th|
|Total Yards/Game: 299.8||26th|
|Red Zone % (TD): 40%||28th|
Von Miller: The Rams lost their eight-time Pro Bowl OLB to the league’s best defensive (and offensive) team in Buffalo, where he signed a six-year, $120 million deal.
Odell Beckham Jr.: The Rams picked up OBJ in Nov. 2021 on a one-year deal, and didn’t bring him back after he tore his ACL in the Super Bowl.
Robert Woods: The wideout wasn’t ever a superstar, but he was probably the perfect secondary man after Kupp. Woods tore his ACL last year and signed with the Titans this offseason (four years, $65 million).
They should get a must-needed win against the Panthers next week, but nothing is guaranteed given how bad the offense has been. LA’s defense hasn’t really been the issue, allowing 23 points per game, but that’s mostly because the offense isn’t sustaining long enough drives to get off the field and give the defense some rest.
After the Panthers, the following two of three are pivotal division matchups against the 49ers (3-2), Buccaneers (3-2), and Cardinals (2-3). To their benefit, they have the sixth-easiest schedule by opponent win percentage (46.6%).
Rams’ Future Odds
- Win NFC West: (+220)
- Win Super Bowl: (+2200) | *Preseason (+1100)
- Win Total: Over 9.5 (+115) | Under (-135)
- Make Playoffs: Yes (-132) | No (+116)
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