It was quite a season for the Los Angeles Rams in 2018, albeit one which would end in disappointment with a 13-3 defeat to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. That said, there are 30 other franchises which would gladly trade places with the Rams in a heartbeat.
From the start of the 2018 campaign, it was quite obvious that there was something special about the Rams. The club would burst out of the gates and rip off an eight-game winning streak to begin the season. Over that stretch, half of their victories came by double digits.
The run of perfection came to an end with a 45-35 road loss to the New Orleans Saints, a team they would cross paths with once again in the postseason. Another three wins would follow, but the Rams would hit a swoon in December with back-to-back defeats to the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.
Los Angeles bounced back to win its final two games of the season. They finished up with a record of 13-3, but the loss to the Saints proved costly. That defeat gave home-field advantage to New Orleans for the NFC Playoffs.
The Rams opened up the postseason by welcoming the Dallas Cowboys to town. The club would run for a combined 273 rushing yards and find the end zone three times on the ground to advance with a 30-22 victory. That set up a date with the Saints the following week.
The Saints had control with a 20-10 lead in the third quarter. The Rams would rally, and a game-altering penalty call late in the fourth quarter helped the team keep hope alive and go on for a game-tying field goal. In the overtime period, a 57-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein gave the Rams a 26-23 win.
The stage was set for Super Bowl LIII versus the New England Patriots. The NFL betting sites installed the Rams as 1-point favorites when the lines were released, but public perception moves the number to the point that the Patriots were favored by 2.5 points at kickoff.
In the end, the Rams just didn’t have any answers for Bill Belichick and company as the Patriots won by a score of 13-3. Disappointing defeat aside, the window remains wide open for Los Angeles. The team is currently favored to take down the NFC once again, and they’re currently behind only the Patriots on the Super Bowl odds board.
Let’s take a look at what we can expect out of the Rams in 2019, starting with a deep dive into the 2018 season.
Los Angeles Rams 2018 Season Recap
Record: 13-3 | Standings: 1-NFC West | Playoffs: Lost Super Bowl
During the team’s eight-game winning streak to open the year, the Rams would outscore five of their opponents by seven points or more. Four of those victories had a margin of 12 points or greater in favor of Los Angeles.
The loss to the Saints would drop the team’s record to 8-1, but the Rams bounced back with two straight wins over playoff squads. A 36-31 victory over the Seattle Seahawks was followed by a 54-51 shootout victory in a memorable Monday night affair against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The team hit the Week 12 bye in excellent shape at 10-1. A road win over the Detroit Lions came right after the break, but the Rams would then hit their first rough patch of the year with the losses to the Bears and Eagles. They would close out the season with double-digit wins over the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.
In the postseason, the club would have a relatively easy time with the Cowboys, but the Saints gave them all they could handle. As for the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, the club could get absolutely nothing going on offense.
For the year, Los Angeles finished second in the league for average points scored per game. The defense finished up at 20th for fewest points allowed per contest.
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Moves
If it’s not broke, then there’s no need to fix it. Sean McVay returns for his third year to roam the sidelines in Los Angeles. Aaron Kromer is back to lead the run game, while Shane Waldron returns as passing game coordinator. The legendary Wade Phillips will be back for his third year as defensive coordinator.
In free agency, the Rams would lose players including OG Roger Saffold, FS LaMarcus Joyner, and DT Ndamukong Suh. The defense was further bolstered with the additions of veterans FS Eric Weddle and LB Clay Matthews.
Los Angeles didn’t have any selections in the first round of the NFL Draft. In round two, the pick was DB Taylor Rapp out of Washington. Memphis RB Darrell Henderson would follow in round three, as would Michigan CB David Long and Oklahoma OT Bobby Evans.
Jared Goff returns behind center for the Rams. He’ll be looking for an encore of his excellent regular season while also looking to wipe the taste of a poor performance in the Super Bowl out of his mouth. There have been questions on the status of RB Todd Gurley, but the latest reports indicate that he’s ready to go.
Behind him on the depth chart are Henderson and Malcolm Brown. Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp are the top targets for Goff, while Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee remain atop the TE depth chart.
There has been some attrition to contend with on defense, but the club appears to have done a solid job restocking the coffers in the draft and free agency.
Los Angeles Rams 2019 Schedule
|1||Sun. Sept.8||at Carolina Panthers||1:00 PM||FOX|
|2||Sun. Sept.15||vs. New Orleans Saints||4:25 PM||FOX|
|3||Sun. Sept.22||at Cleveland Browns||8:20 PM||NBC|
|4||Sun. Sept.29||vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||4:05 PM||FOX|
|5||Thu. Oct.3||at Seattle Seahawks||8:20 PM||FOX|
|6||Sun. Oct.13||vs. San Francisco 49ers||4:05 PM||FOX|
|7||Sun. Oct.20||at Atlanta Falcons||1:00 PM||FOX|
|8||Sun. Oct.27||vs. Cincinnati Bengals*||1:00 PM||CBS|
|10||Sun. Nov.10||at Pittsburgh Steelers||4:25 PM||FOX|
|11||Sun. Nov.17||vs. Chicago Bears||8:20 PM||NBC|
|12||Mon. Nov.25||vs. Baltimore Ravens||8:15 PM||ESPN|
|13||Sun. Dec.1||at Arizona Cardinals||4:05 PM||FOX|
|14||Sun. Dec.8||vs. Seattle Seahawks||8:20 PM||NBC|
|15||Sun. Dec.15||at Dallas Cowboys||4:25 PM||FOX|
|16||Sun. Dec.22||at San Francisco 49ers||TBD||CBS|
|17||Sun. Dec.29||vs. Arizona Cardinals||4:25 PM||FOX|
*Game to be played in London
The Rams have a bye in Week 9 this year. Before getting there, they have a mix of winnable games and several challenging tilts. First half schedule highlights include a home date with the Saints in Week 2, a trip to Cleveland the following week, and a road date with the Seahawks in Week 5.
It’s more of the same for the second half of the year. Los Angeles will square off with teams that have legitimate playoff aspirations, but they also have some dates with clubs that could wind up as also-rans. A Week 11 home date with the Bears is a big highlight, as is the Week 15 road tilt versus the Cowboys.
Add it all up, and if the Rams are clicking on all cylinders once again, then this is a team that can do some damage in 2019.
Los Angeles Rams 2019 Outlook
The Rams are big favorites to win the NFC West again this year. Four to five wins over the course of the six division games is certainly possible. The biggest test for this set of games will come via the road date with Seattle in Week 5.
The remainder of the NFC schedule is a mixed-bag. Los Angeles will be on the road for games with the Panthers, Falcons, and Cowboys. They’ll be home to take on the Saints, Buccaneers, and Cowboys. Four wins for this stretch is likely, while five wins is possible.
For interconference play, the Rams will square off with the AFC North this season. That means road games versus the Browns and Steelers, a neutral site game with the Bengals, and a home tilt with the Ravens. This part of the schedule is tough, but two to three wins is doable for this talented club.
Los Angeles Rams 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
Here is where the bar has been set for the Rams in 2019.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
Last year’s squad won 13 games, but oddsmakers have tempered expectations this time around. While there’s always a chance that a team will take a step backwards after a big postseason run, we don’t suspect that will be the case here.
McVay has shown a lot as head coach, and there’s nothing to suggest he’ll be slowing down. This club has talent in all facets of the game, and they have a relatively friendly schedule to boot. A 12-win campaign wouldn’t stun us as a result.
We like the Over for the Rams in 2019.