3rd Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Los Angeles Rams

Up next in our previews of all 32 NFL teams is the Los Angeles Rams, who finished in third place in the NFC West last season.

This is a season of change for the Rams, who have moved from St. Louis back to their former home, Los Angeles. With the move comes what the team hopes is a new franchise quarterback, QB Jared Goff, the first-overall draft pick out of California. But the offense will probably run through RB Todd Gurley, who put up impressive numbers in his rookie season in 2015.

QBs Case Keenum and Sean Mannion return from last season’s squad. Of the two, Keenum is the only one who got significant playing time; he played in six games — five starts — and threw for 828 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 1 interception on 125 passes. WR Tavon Austin was the leading pass-catcher despite having just 52 receptions for 473 yards and 5 touchdowns. WR Kenny Britt added 36 catches for 681 yards and 3 touchdowns. TE Jared Cook had 39 catches for 481 yards without a touchdown. In 13 games, 12 of which were starts, Gurley carried the ball 229 yards for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. Defensively, the Rams were slightly above average in points allowed and just below the league average with 13 interceptions.

The Rams didn’t get much out of the quarterback position last season, which led to a lack of production from the receiving core. The Rams have not yet announced which quarterback will get the start in Week 1, but neither Keenum nor Mannion has much of a track record and you never know what you’ll get out of a rookie like Goff so the team can’t really count on getting much in the passing game this season. That means Gurley will once again have to play a key role in the offense. The better he does, the better the offense will be.

The schedule starts off with a road game against the 49ers on Monday night in Week 1. After that, the Rams host the Seahawks in Week 2 in their first home game in Los Angeles since 1994. They hit the road in Weeks 3 and 4, taking on the Buccaneers and Cardinals, respectively. The Rams “host” the Giants in Week 7 in a game being played in London. That leads into the Week 8 bye, followed by a home game with the Panthers. The Rams visit the Patriots in week 13, and travel to the Seahawks in Week 15. The Rams host the 49ers in Week 16, then complete the season with a home game against the Cardinals. The Rams are coming off a seven-win season, but I think they’re taking a step back in their return to Los Angeles; I’m projecting a 6-10 record for the Rams.

Source: http://www.therams.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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