2018 Los Angeles Rams Season Win Totals Predictions and Expert Picks
2017 Record: 11-5
2018 Los Angeles Rams Las Vegas Season Win Total: 10.5*
2018 Los Angeles Rams Season Win Total Picks NFL Football: 'Under'
Philadelphia may have won the Super Bowl last year. But the NFL's biggest surprise team was clearly the Los Angeles Rams. Just one year after going 4-12 under Jeff Fisher the Rams exploded for an 11-5 campaign and their first postseason berth since 2004.
The Rams were also the talk of the 2018 offseason, with a host of major offseason acquisitions helping them become one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. The Rams' current 12-to-1 payout represent the fifth-best odds of any team in the league to win the championship.
On one hand you have to respect the Rams' commitment to going for a title. They see an open window for a championship, and they are diving through it. Los Angeles shelled out big money for Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib while also paying to retain stud running back Todd Gurley. They are currently working on retaining the services of their best player, Aaron Donald, as well.
Los Angeles exploded behind the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL last year, ringing up 30 points per game. Unfortunately, that offense dried up in the playoffs, and the Rams were dispatched 26-13 by the Falcons. The hope is that another year in Sean McVay's innovative, wide-open system will lead to increased efficiency and a deeper postseason run.
Jared Goff was a revelation last year, completing 62.1 percent of his passes for 28 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. The Rams used a balanced receiving group - with four players catching between 39-62 balls - and are looking for Cooks to give them even more explosive plays. The Rams also boast one of the league's best offensive lines, which helped pave the way to 2,000 total yards out of Gurley.
Wade Phillips continues to prove himself as one of the best defensive coordinators of his generation. But despite some reinforcements in the secondary, Phillips will be tested this year. The Rams have to replace their three best linebackers. And there is a dearth of depth throughout the front seven. Los Angeles' secondary is stacked. But without a pass rush - which is why Donald's signing is so critical - they could be hung out to dry.
From a talent perspective, there is a lot to like with this Rams team. However, there are some ominous signs that suggest a much more difficult path for this squad in 2018.
First, the Rams beat only three teams that made the playoffs last year: Jacksonville, Tennessee and New Orleans. Los Angeles had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL last year. They won't have that luxury this season, with crossover games against the NFC North and the AFC West.
The good news is that the Rams leave the West Coast only once before December. And they only cross the Mississippi four times all season long.
Second, Los Angeles also benefitted from an unusual amount of injury luck last year, losing just 16 starts all season. Next, the Rams also beat their Las Vegas season win total by six games, which puts them in a statistical range where they can be expected to play 'under' this year. Finally, their record in close games (plus-three) and their turnover margin are also indications that this team might have some tougher sledding in 2018.
The Rams' division is still pretty weak, with Seattle and Arizona both in rebuilding phases and the 49ers still a year away. Los Angeles should win the division. But the team that "wins the offseason" with a bunch of splashy free agent signings rarely lives up to the hype. I'll go with the 'under' in this one.
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