The Los Angeles Rams Won’t Make the Playoffs
Last season couldn’t have gone better for the Los Angeles Rams. Despite signs of a regression, Matthew Stafford held it together all season and performed well enough into the playoffs (thanks in large part to his favorite target Cooper Kupp) to lead the team to a Super Bowl. That doesn’t seem likely this season.
Los Angeles is 2-3 through the first five games of the season and have looked more like a bottom feeder than a team capable of contending for the Super Bowl. The Rams were +1200 favorites to win the Super Bowl before Week 1 and are now as high as +2500 at some sportsbooks.
To put things in perspective, the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys have shorter odds to win the Super Bowl and they’re quarterbacked by Kirk Cousins and Cooper Rush, respectively. The Rams have now lost two games in a row and looked terrible in both of those losses – a 24-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and 22-10 loss to the Cowboys.
At this point, it seems unlikely the Rams make the playoffs let alone win their division.
Stafford Has to Trust His Other Options
While the defense hasn’t been as impressive as it was last season, it’s the Rams offense that is holding the team back. Cooper Kupp is one of the best receivers in the league, but that doesn’t mean he should be Stafford’s first option of practically every passing play.
Kupp has more than 100 receiving yards in four of five games this season and has been targeted more than 14 times or more in three games this season. It’s only going to become easier for teams to shut him down unless Stafford starts looking elsewhere.
Allen Robinson is the obvious second option on passing plays, but Stafford has been reluctant to target him, and this has frustrated Rams fans and fantasy football players alike. Robinson signed a three-year, $46.5 million contract with Los Angeles in the offseason and has just 12 receptions for 107 receiving yards through five games – that’s just 21.4 yards per game.
Robinson hasn’t been targeted more than six times in a single game this season despite often appearing open on some of his routes. He’ll need to be more involved if the Rams intend on getting back to the playoffs, but that doesn’t seem promising.
Missing Von Miller
Aaron Donald is still a beast on the defensive line, and the Rams have other weapons on defense, but they’re clearly missing the heart of their linebacker group – Von Miller.
Miller, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in the offseason, is proving he’s far from past his prime. He’s tied for 10th in the league in sacks with four and also has six tackles for a loss. Only seven linebackers have more sacks than Miller.