4th 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.

In their first year back in Los Angeles, the Rams went 4-12 and fired longtime head coach Jeff Fisher. This season, they’ve replaced him with former Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay in his first head-coaching job. The Rams added a couple of former Bills receivers to their roster this offseason, signing free-agent Robert Woods and trading DB E.J. Gaines for Sammy Watkins. They also signed OT Andrew Whitworth and LB Connor Barwin. In the draft, they spent a third-round pick on Eastern Washington WR Cooper Kupp, who is expected to see quite a bit of action in his rookie season.

QB Case Keenum, who is now with the Vikings, got most of the reps at quarterback last season before rookie QB Jared Goff took over in Week 10. Goff completed just 54.6% of his passes for 1,089 yards and 5 touchdowns, with 7 interceptions in his seven games. WR Tavon Austin had 58 receptions for 509 yards and 3 touchdowns, which was second on the team behind now-departed WR Kenny Britt. With Buffalo last year, Watkins had 28 receptions for 430 yards and 2 touchdowns in eight games, and Woods caught 51 passes for 613 yards and 1 touchdown in 13 games. On the ground, RB Todd Gurley ran the ball 278 times for 885 yards and 6 touchdowns. The offense scored the fewest points in the NFL last season — thanks, in part, to five games in which they scored fewer than 10 points — and the defense ranked in the bottom third of the league in points allowed.

It goes without saying but the Rams need an improved offense to have any chance of winning many games this season, and I don’t think they’ll get it. Goff didn’t show many promising signs in the time he was on the field last season and they don’t have a clear-cut top receiver. Austin’s 58 receptions last season was a career high for him, Watkins tends to miss time with injuries and has only played a full 16 games in his rookie season, and Woods has never caught more than 65 passes in a season. If he comes out of the gate strong in his rookie year, Kupp could end the season as the team’s best receiver. And Gurley had a sharp decline in production from his rookie season in 2015 to last year, when he had fewer yards and touchdowns despite carrying the ball 49 times more than the previous year.

Looking at the Rams’ schedule, they start the season with home games against the Colts and Redskins. In Week 3, they head out on the road to take on the 49ers on Thursday night, then they take on the Cowboys in Arlington in Week 4. They host the Seahawks in Week 5 and visit the Jaguars in Week 6. After that, a home game with the Cardinals leads into a Week 8 bye. Coming off the bye, the Rams travel to take on the Giants before coming home to battle the Texans in Week 10. A road game with the Vikings is on tap in Week 11, then the Rams return home to take on the Saints. The Rams visit the Cardinals in Week 13 and host the Eagles in Week 14. The Rams have road games in Weeks 15 and 16 against the Seahawks and Titans, respectively, before finishing the season at home with the 49ers. With the poor offense the Rams have, I can’t see them winning more than about two or three games this year.

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

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