Does 49ers injury open door for LA Rams in 2020?

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

Does 49ers injury open the door for the LA Rams to win the NFC West in 2020?

The LA Rams may be in for a good season. In 2018, the injury plague riddled the San Francisco 49ers. While they plunged to the basement of the NFL, the LA Rams merrily ended the season at 13-3 and competed in the Super Bowl.  Last season, it was the LA Rams in the crosshairs of the dreaded injury bug. As the Rams fell to a 9-7 record and missed the NFL Playoffs, it was the San Francisco 49ers that claimed the NFC West throne and the right to eventually compete in the Super Bowl.

It’s now 2020, and the LA Rams are licking their wounds from just a season ago, while the San Francisco 49ers are the new darlings of the NFL. But things can change pretty quickly in the NFL In fact, things are changing pretty rapidly for the NFC West teams as you read this:

Sometimes success in the NFL is more about endurance than raw talent.

A door opens for the LA Rams

While injuries to any players in the NFL are tough to see, It is a fact of the game. Athletes compete in a violently physical game, and the result of that continues to be injuries to players. But it’s the combination of random injuries with the very forces set into place by the design of NFL teams that causes huge swings in the fortunes of NFL Teams.

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Successful NFL teams face the stiffest competition in the following season’s schedule and get the last draft picks in each round. Healthy teams can meet that challenge.

But when a good team suddenly faces injuries to key players, success is hard to find. A team like the San Francisco 49ers are built upon the contribution of three phases of their offense. Tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and a committee of running backs led by Rasheem Mostert. A prolonged injury to Samuel allows defenses to double up on Kittle, and crowd the box.z

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That’s how it goes in the NFL. Competition each week. While I’ll never cheer any player injury, the obvious impact of Samuel’s broken foot is an opportunity for the LA Rams to have a greater chance to reclaim the NFC West crown. As prognosticators and pundits continue to laud the 49ers and Cowboys, the Rams are quietly improving under the radar and behind the scenes.  The Rams additions to the roster, even after the NFL Draft, was an incredibly talented group of players who could develop into quite the team.  If they have time.

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But the NFL comes at you fast.  One day a team as at the top of the power rankings. The next day an injury to a key player sends the entire organization scrambling. That’s just how it goes in the modern NFL.  The LA Rams were clobbered by injuries and adversity last season. While that is all behind the team in 2020, the fact that the Rams ended the season at 9-7 is a testimony to just how competitive this team is.  Can another team endure that same level of adversity? I think we know that the answer to that question is no.  But stay tuned, we may find out first hand.