Los Angeles Rams will go 11 and 5 this season

Jun 16, 2016; Oxnard, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) takes a snap at organized team activities at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 16, 2016; Oxnard, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) takes a snap at organized team activities at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

 Jared Goff can lead the Los Angeles Rams to 11 and 5 in his first season.

I am going to go out on a limb here and predict 11 wins and 5 losses in 2016 for the Los Angeles Rams. This isn’t as far fetched as many of you are thinking. LA has one of the league’s premiere running backs in Todd Gurley. They also have one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses. A smash mouth running game and great defense are the perfect conditions in which to start rookie quarterback Jared Goff. If you think I am wrong please allow me to remind you of a quarterback from Jersey named Joe Flacco. In his first year as a pro, Flacco took over a 5-11 team and led them to 11-5. Not to mention the AFC Championship.  Okay then, here are my bold predictions for Los Angeles in 2016.

Week 1 – at San Francisco 49ers

The Rams will start the season on Monday Night Football against a divisional rival that is under new management. Last year the team split wins with San Francisco but I see a Rams sweep in 2016. Chip Kelly might be an offensive genius but LA’s defense and running game will prove to be too much for San Fran. Jared Goff makes rookie mistakes but the Rams win on the road 17-10.

Week 2 – vs. Seattle Seahawks

I have gone back and forth on this one. The Rams beat the Seahawks twice last year and they will be jacked up for their historic home opener. Look for Jeff Fisher to call on Todd Gurley early and often in an old school ground and pound attack. The Seahawks will come to LA ready to play but I think the home team prevails.  In what will be one of the seasons most interesting matchups, the Rams shut down Russell Wilson and win a close one at the Coliseum.  Final 23-21.

Week 3 – at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Rams beat the Buccaneers last season in week 15 despite the mid-season firing of offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti. The team is 3-1 under new coordinator Rob Boras and the offense is much improved. LA’s defense will rattle Winston enough to create turnovers and that will seal the deal. Yes, the team starts 3-0 in 2016 by beating the Buccaneers on the road 20-17.

Week 4 – at Arizona Cardinals

This one doesn’t work out. The Rams will be running on fumes after the last three games and they crash in the desert. Goff struggles against a good Cardinals defense and Todd Gurley is unable to carry the team to victory on his own. Tavon Austin will take one to the house, but Carson Palmer will have enough left in the tank to defeat the Rams at home 27-13.

Week 5 – Buffalo Bills

The Rams front seven will crush quarterback Tyrod Taylor in this match-up. Expect  4 or 5 sacks in this one from Aaron Donald as Jared Goff begins to show vast improvement in the passing game.  The Rams treat the fans to a blowout at home after getting beat like a dusty rug in Phoenix. The Rams rebound 30-13.

Week 6 – at Detroit Lions

The Rams bullied Detroit last year in what proved to be a rough day for Matthew Stafford. The Lions have not improved in 2016 and the Rams have. Look for rookie wide receiver Pharroh Cooper to have a breakout game in the Motor City, while the Lions are busy trying to contain Tavon Austin and Todd Gurley. The Rams improve to 5 and 1 for the first time under coach Fisher. LA dominates at Ford Stadium winning by a score of 24-10.

Week 7 – vs New York Giants

Both teams will deal with jet lag after they travel to play in London. The Giants went 6 and 10 with Eli Manning last season. Manning will have continuity on offense as Ben McAdoo has moved from offensive coordinator to head coach. Big Blue has problems on defense even though they added former Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins. I predict Todd Gurley will have a record breaking day across the pond. The Rams win in jolly old England 24-13 and head into the bye 6 and 1. Yes, I said 6 and 1.

Week 8 – BYE

Week 9 – vs Carolina Panthers

The Bye week isn’t enough to prepare the road weary Rams for the reigning NFC Champions.  The Panthers beat up on Jared Goff and minimize Gurley’s production. Luke Kuechly and the Panthers defense make life miserable for Goff in what will prove to be a growing experience for the rookie quarterback. Goff loses this one due to turnovers but he comes out of the game a better player.

Week 10 – at New York Jets

The Rams beat the Jets on the road 24-17. This will be a tough game in a tough city. Gurley will rush for over 100 yds and 2 touchdowns against a great defense.  Wide receiver Kenny Brit shows up and works miracles in the deep passing game helping to add another 10 points.

Week 11 – vs Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins went 6 and 10 last season and they will get worse before they get better under new head coach Adam Gase. Running back Lamar Miller went to the Houston Texans in free agency and Miami has two unproven running backs in what has been labeled the second worst ground attack in the league. Alec Ogletree gets a sack and an interception against a struggling Ryan Tannehill. Rams win at home 17 to 6.

Week 12 – at New Orlean Saints

The Saints have bolstered both sides of the ball this year and added a great young tight end in Coby Fleener. Drew Brees hits the Rams secondary without mercy. The future Hall of Fame quarterback airs it out all day. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis takes out his anger on his former team by captalizing on Jared Goff’s rookie mistakes. Goff has a bad day leaving the Rams defense on the field most of the game. LA is exceeding expectations in 2016, but they drop this one in the Big Easy to the Saints 27-6.

Week 13 – at New England Patriots

The Rams may be the new stars in Hollywood but the Pats rule in Foxboro. LA is outplayed and out coached in this one but it’s nothing personal. Gillette Stadium has been one of the most difficult places to win in for at least a decade. Bill works his voodoo on Goff and Tinseltown’s team drops another one in the house that Belichick built 30-13.

Week 14 – vs Atlanta Falcons

Los Angeles returns home and licks their wounds after a tough loss. However, Coach Fisher has the team reinvigorated and ready to beat the dirty birds in front of a sold out crowd in Cali.  On game day LA comes out of the tunnel at the Coliseum like a caged animal and thrashes Atlanta in front of a sold out crowd. The Rams defeat Matt Ryan and the Falcons 19-10.

Week 15 – at Seattle Seahawks

The Rams are in the midst of a tremendous renaissance and Jared Goff is playing like a veteran but Russell Wilson is in prime form at home and spreads the ball all over the field. The Rams have had a great season thus far but 12th man proves to be the X factor in this one. A rough day in the Rainy City ends with a loss 28-17.

Week 16 – vs San Francisco 49ers

By this point in time, Chip Kelly and the 49ers have figured out that Colin Kaepernick is their best chance to win, but he lacks a supporting cast. The Niners are unable to move the chains against a Rams defense that has greatly improved on the backend. San Francisco is against the ropes and the Rams deliver a knock out punch. Jared Goff makes this one look easy. Los Angeles finishes the sweep before a packed stadium  25-10.

Week 17 – vs Cardinals

Rams are angry about their loss in AZ and they get revenge in the last regular season game. A battered Carson Palmer is duct taped together and out of gas for the finale in SoCal. A stoked fan base is on hand to cheer on their rookie quarterback. Jared Goff has gained confidence and the offense does enough to win this one 23-16.

In lieu of my predictions we must remember that the Rams have the third most difficult schedule in the league for 2016. But keep in mind they also have a great defense and a punishing running game. The addition of a talented young quarterback completes this equation. The success or failure of LA in 2016 will hinge on the play of Jared Goff. Again, call me crazy if you want, but I am banking on a big year with Jared under center. To sum it all up 11 and 5 is not out of the question. If you think it is, you might want to take a good look at “Joe Cool” who was drafted out of the University of Delaware in 2008.