Before St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford went down with a torn ACL, many fans and experts were expecting the Rams to make a solid push at a wild card spot if not make a strong effort to win the NFC West. With Hill in as quarterback that obviously changes and it shows in the Vegas betting numbers.
The Rams went from a distant 40-to-1 odds of winning the Super Bowl last week to moving to an even further off 75-to-1. The same can be said for their NFC title in which they went from 20-to-1 to 38-to-1.
For their season opener against the Vikings, the Rams are now just 3.5-point favorites, down from -6 before Bradford went down. The Rams also went from a +4 to +5.5 vs. the 49ers on Monday, October 13, and from -2.5 to -1.5 vs. the Cardinals on Thursday, December 11.
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Fans and experts can say what they want that there is basically no difference at all between Bradford and Hill, that Bradford was game manager, not a dynamic physical specimen, that Hill pretty much fits that bill, and that the Rams will not have to switch their offense at all.
The significance of Bradford’s injury and what he means to this team seems to not be fully appreciated as the Rams’ season win total went from 7.5 to 6.5 basically overnight. Even though there is not a significant difference in win total, Vegas did think that the Rams would have been better off with Bradford than they do now with Hill.
Looking ahead at whether or not the Rams will be put in a good position to pick of a quarterback such as Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, or Jameis Winstons, with Fisher as head coach, it is likely not the case. As Nick Wagoner says in a piece earlier this week,
"“In Fisher’s 18 full seasons as a head coach, his teams have had seven or more wins 15 times. He’s had one season each with four, five and six wins. In other words, Fisher’s teams almost always find a way to a baseline of mediocrity.”"
Taking a look at the Rams’ schedule with Hill at quarterback, realistically I see Fisher taking this team to mediocrity once again seven wins and victories over the Vikings, Cowboys, Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders, Redskins, and Giants. That or anything more should be considered a good season for the Rams, but is a good season really what we want?
The playoffs are likely out of the question for the Rams, but knowing Jeff Fisher‘s coaching style and the attitude of this team, they will fight week in and week out. This team is not going to quit and they will give everything they’ve got in every game this season.
Yes, it is disappointing that Bradford went down and the Rams are likely going to miss the playoffs and go another season without a winning record, however, the season goes on and the Rams are going to make the best of it.