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Can LA Rams overcome distractions to defeat Miami?

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

Can the LA Rams overcome the success of Los Angeles long enough to focus upon the Miami Dolphins?

The LA Rams have some pretty successful neighbors right now. There’s the NBA Champion LA Lakers and the MLB World Series-winning LA Dodgers. Two professional sports teams from the same city winning the crown in the same year is very rare.  Three professional sports teams from the same city winning? It’s only happened once in the history of the United States by Detroit in 1935. In that year, Detroit won in the NFL, MLB, and the NHL.

Now the expectations upon the LA Rams have risen from zero to superhero almost overnight. You see, it was just weeks before when the consensus among NFL prognosticators had the LA Rams winning just six to eight games this season. Right now the Rams are 5-2, appearing to be ahead of those modest expectations.

A long and winding road

The road to the  NFL Playoffs is long and taxing. The LA Rams have already lost two incredibly talented defensive players: ILB Travin Howard and DB Terrell Burgess; for the season. Still, the Rams opened the season without the help of RB Darrell Henderson, OLB Terrell Lewis, and NT A’Shawn Robinson, all of who hare returned to health and could play a solid role in helping the Rams win a road game today.

If there was ever a game for the Rams to explode on offense, this would be a good place to start. Despite the wildest hopes for a Top-10 offense, the Rams have been facing their share of stout defenses. Obviously, winning five of seven suggests that the offense can put up points. But in the two losses, the defense surrendered more than  20 points in the game.

Rams need this win

Forget the talk of Tua Tagovailoa debuting for the Dolphins. The LA Rams need this win.  This is the last pre-bye game. However they perform, they will have two weeks to contemplate, to ponder, and to work from.   Should the Rams drop to 5-3, the team will have beaten the NFC East and a suspect Chicago Bears team.  Another road loss will likely drop the Rams to the wild card playoff track, where road games against very good teams are a way of life.

But if the Rams win? They are 6-2 and have a strong chance of improving their position in the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals are on a bye week, and the NFC West division-leading Seattle Seahawks (5-1) host rival San Francisco 49ers (4-3) today. A Rams win coupled with a Seahawks loss will propel the Rams into a first-place tie for the division lead.

The task at hand

So far, the Dolphins have lost three games to the New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills, and the Seahawks. They have been getting good running production out of former Washington Husky running back Myles Gaskin, and have a passing attack that gets ample production out of six different receivers. For the record, it’s that type of offense that has been problematic for the Rams, as Jalen Ramsey works best at neutralizing one featured receiver.

The Dolphins defense does a great job of keeping games close. They are just behind the Rams at surrendering points and have done a better job than the Rams at stopping offenses from gaining yards. While much of the week and pregame chatter has been about stopping the Dolphins rookie quarterback, the key to this game is getting the Rams offense out to a firey start. The team needs to get the passing game going once more against one of the toughest pass defenses in the nation.

LA Rams' game-day primer: Miami vice. dark. Next

All the while, the Rams have an advantage at running the ball that I hope they remember to do throughout this game. Right now, the city of Los Angeles wants a third title. But for today, the Rams would be happy to settle for a win far from home in time to come home for their bye week. .