Well, it’s that holiday time of year, when the smells of roasted turkey and pumpkin pie fill the kitchen, while the sounds of NFL Football fill the living or entertainment room. For the true NFL/NCAAF aficionado, this is when the going gets tough and the tough get going. And for the fans of the LA Rams, it’s a time when the season heats up.
After all, the team has given them plenty to cheer about since hiring head coach Sean McVay this time of year, right? At this time of the season in the past, the LA Rams had a record of 7-3 in 2017, 10-1 in 2018, 6-4 in 2019, and 7-3 in 2020. So Thanksgiving week has truly been a time of giving thanks to fans.
But it came with its own share of challenges. Thanksgiving typically marks that time of year when temperatures plummet, and NFL Playoff races heat up. And so, the LA Rams now face their first ‘cold weather’ risk in traveling to Green Bay Wisconsin for their Week 12 matchup against the Green Bay Packers, and the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. This year, the LA Rams step onto the frozen tundra led by veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Critical Aspect I: Can Matthew Stafford win a high-profile game?
This is a contest that has significance in several critical ways. First and foremost, it is the preview of what could occur in the NFC Playoffs, as both the Rams and Packers are among the NFC Conference’s best teams as the season begins to wind down. Since the LA Rams trail the NFC West Division-leading Arizona Cardinals, the Rams are likely to end up as a Wild Card team, which means the Rams will be traveling throughout the playoffs.
The LA Rams have earned their 7-3 record so far in the 2021 NFL season. But of the seven victories, the Rams have defeated just two NFL teams with winning records: The Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their three losses have all come at the hands of teams with records at or better than .500.
One of the dark sides of Matthew Stafford that was his precursor was his inability to win a big game. Of course, much of that narrative focused upon his inability to win a playoff game, having gone winless in three attempts throughout his career. In the trade to the LA Rams, he must now reconcile those struggles with leading a team intending to play, and win, in the playoffs each season.