LA Rams will face Andy Dalton in SNF season opener

Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have set their roster at who is in and who is not, and will not begin to turn their attention towards the next big challenge on the calendar. That would be the kickoff of their 2021 NFL season by hosting the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football on September 12, 2021, at 5:20 pm PT at SoFi Stadium.

But, as has been the custom with the Chicago Bears in recent years, there had been a bit of a quarterback controversy. On one hand, there is the solid and steady hand of veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. He is the former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback who did a temporary duty assignment with the Dallas Cowboys when Dak Prescott fell to injury.

On the other hand, there is the prestigious potential of rookie quarterback Justin Fields, who would likely be best served not to face Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and the rest of the LA Rams defense on his NFL debut. Oh, but the fans would love to see him under center in this one.  So which is it going to be?

Well, it looks like logic will prevail in this one.

Rams schedule: September gauntlet

If you want to test the LA Rams team and see how they do against some of the best competition in the NFL, you need to look no further than the very grueling Rams schedule for the month of September. The team gets three 2020 playoff teams in the first three weeks of the new season, which will tell quite a bit about the quality of the team.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams have faced the Chicago Bears each year since a December 9th loss by the score of 15-9. But head coach Sean McVay has since won the next two games by scores of 17-7 and 24-10 respectively.  Now, with a disadvantage of 1-2 against the Rams, the Bears will seek to tie up the series and ruin the Rams’ home opener in front of fans, who have waited two years for the opportunity to see the team play.

If this year is anything like past contests, the Rams will feature players like Johnny Mundt to lead the offensive charge. Of course, this season will add a bit of a twist, as new quarterback Matthew Stafford is quite familiar with the Chicago Bears, having faced them twice a season throughout his career with the Detroit Lions.

Stafford shins vs. Bears

Bears senior writer Larry Meyer wrote a solid article Chalk Talk: How have Bears fared vs. Stafford? about the Chicago Bears success against Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford:

"“The Bears are 9-11 all-time against Matthew Stafford, who has completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 5,440 yards with 32 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and an 86.3 passer rating against them. That’s actually fewer TDs and more interceptions than Stafford has in the same number of games versus the Green Bay Packers (37 and 20, respectively). He also has a better career passer rating against both the Packers (89.9) and the Minnesota Vikings (89.5) than he does versus the Bears.” – per Bears Senior Writer Larry Meyer"

So it appears that the Rams’ new quarterback could pay immediate dividends in the season debut.

But the same could hold true if you look at Andy Dalton’s 2-1 record against the LA Rams. That includes the 24-10 loss between the Cincinnati Bengals and the LA Rams played in London England in 2019. That was the only game where the Rams played against Dalton with Sean McVay as the Rams head coach.

The game will place the Rams’ new offensive philosophy on full display, as well as the new chapter of the Rams defense under defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

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If the Rams home opener is anything like the past three consecutive years of Rams-Bears contests, then two things will happen. This won’t be a high-scoring affair. But perhaps more importantly, the Rams offense will be led by a new name.