LA Rams: Can team win the ultra competitive NFC West?

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams are not shoo-ins for anything. Let’s not kid ourselves that this team is now the heir apparent for the throne of the NFC West. It’s not. Nothing will be handed to the LA Rams in the 2021 NFL season.  This is the NFC West Division, and for two of the past three seasons, has been the NFL Division to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

The past three seasons have been won by three different teams. All the while, the Arizona Cardinals have made efforts to sign or trade for significant NFL talent to make the team more competitive. Have they done so? Well, they’ve certainly helped themselves to two of the best players from the roster of the Houston Texans. Will it be enough to turn the corner? We’ll see.

We know that the division came down to the LA Rams and the Seattle Seahawks in 2020. The Seahawks couldn’t defend, and when they stiffened on defense, their quarterback Russell Wilson got the crap kicked out of him. For the Rams? They gifted possession of the football to the opposing team far too often.

The preliminary projections are leaking out now, and many believe that the Rams are either the team to beat in the NFC West, or more surprisingly, will take the wildcard track to the Super Bowl much like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did in 2020.

Let’s talk about the Rams and how they managed to improve the team for 2021. While the defense was tops in the NFL, it was clear that the Rams’ success depended upon Aaron Donald’s pressure on the quarterback to make everything work out well. The team will have a leaner A’Shawn Robinson on the defensive line this year, a stronger Sebastian Joseph Day, and a fully healthy Aaron Donald. The team added a real powerhouse in Bobby Brown III, and he could develop into a key cog this season.

The offense was too loose with ball security and failed to threaten defenses deep. The Rams swapped quarterbacks and will have Matthew Stafford under center this year. Then the team added veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson to test the backend of defensive secondaries.

For special teams, the Rams believe that they have their placekicker in the return of Matt Gay, and have gone to great lengths to add athleticism to bolster both their coverage and return units. All summed, the Rams could make up the two games’ difference that separated them from the Seahawks. With Seattle’s first-place schedule, they could finish in the 11-6 or 10-7 range.

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Can the LA Rams win the NFC West? Well, to do so, they have to win games, beat the San Francisco 49ers, and remain healthy. That’s not an easy task, but if it were, everybody would be doing it.