Kupp is ready to do his part
If there was anyone who could carry this offense through the upcoming playoffs, it is Cooper Kupp. It’s hard for anyone to imagine this team having the level of success enjoyed in 2021 without Kupp’s record-setter. On the other hand, the team delivered the right conditions that allowed Kupp to shred opposing defenses consistently all year long.
Now, what will Cooper Kupp do in the playoffs?
Cooper Kupp has faced the Arizona Cardinals twice in 2021, and the raw score for the Rams is Cardinals 1 Kupp 1. In their first contest, Kupp was only able to catch five of 13 passes for 64 yards, his lowest total of the season. In the second game, Kupp handled 13 of 15 passes thrown his way for 123 yards and one touchdown. Now, how will the rubber match go?
Well, I look for somewhere in the middle. While HC Sean McVay has been a creature of habit, hopefully, his game plan for the Wildcard round will consist of something more than “Throw to Kupp”. I would expect Kupp to see anywhere from 6-10 targets. Depending on how successful early throws are to him, the higher that number will go.
The Rams will need to involve Odell Beckham Jr. in the offense in the post-season, and I like how he matches up with this Cardinals defense. Kupp likely won’t be the star of the Wild Card Round. But be patient.
Cooper Kupp faced the Green Bay Packers once in 2021, catching seven of ten passes for 96 yards. The Packers will test the Rams’ patience in this one, so look for a whole lot of ground game out of the Rams offense with Cam Akers, Sony Michel, and Darrell Henderson all attacking the Packers defense. If the Rams get a lead, that will open up the passing game a bit more.
Kupp may even have a hand at carrying the football. I expect that the Rams will take a page right out of the Packers playbook and feed the ball to an ever refreshing backfield. In the end, Kupp could end the game with six targets but will catch them all. The post-game analysis will comment extensively on how Kupp has gone cold. But it simply comes down to taking what the defense will give them.
Cooper Kupp has faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice in the past two seasons. In 2020, he caught 11 of 13 passes for 145 yards. In 2021, he hauled in 9 of 12 passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. If the LA Rams advance to the NFC Championship Game to face the Buccaneers, the team will need a lot of production out of Kupp.
The Rams could throw more than 15 passes his way, and he will need to haul in 12 or more for nearly 200 yards for the Rams to have a chance at defeating the Buccaneers. Yes, I think he can do it.
As long as the LA Rams win and advance, they will likely face familiar foes. While the Rams may not be favored, they will most certainly be competitive in each game. Buckle up, folks. The ride is about to begin…