4 reasons why the LA Rams could complete NFC West sweep for Week 3

Los Angeles Rams Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford / Steph Chambers/GettyImages
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Reason I: The Rams offense has yet to realize it's full potential

It's almost an enigma to see LA Rams veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford's stats line so far for the 2023 NFL season. In two games, he has completed 58 of 93 passes (62.4 percent completion rate) for 641 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions (albeit one was off the hands of RB Kyren Williams). And in two games, the veteran pocket passer has been sacked just one time.

Something has to give, right? After all, Matthew Stafford is the king of fourth-quarter comebacks, isn't he? But one touchdown pass in two games seems . . . well below what we have seen from him this season. But Stafford is not the only offensive enigma.

While the wide receiver duo of Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell have been blazing hot, what about the other offensive targets? Veteran tight end Tyler Higbee has been targeted just 10 times in two games, catching six passes for 61 yards. Veteran wide receiver Van Jefferson, who dropped a long pass that was on track for a touchdown, has only been targeted nine times with five completions for 33 yards. Tight end Brycen Hopkins has been targeted twice, catching one pass for 21 yards. And even Ben Skowronek has been targeted just three times for one completion for 10 yards.

Rams have far too many players who are too quiet so far

Let's break down how the Rams passing distribution has worked out so far:

  1. WR Puka Nacua - 35 targets | 25 receptions | 266 yards | 0 touchdowns
  2. WR Tutu Atwell - 17 targets | 13 receptions | 196 yards | 0 touchdowns
  3. TE Tyler Higbee - 10 targets | 6 receptions | 61 yards | 0 touchdowns
  4. RB Kyren Williams - 12 targets | 6 receptions | 50 yards | 1 touchdown
  5. WR Van Jefferson - 9 targets | 5 receptions | 33 yards | 0 touchdowns
  6. TE Brycen Hopkins - 2 targets | 1 reception | 21 yards | 0 touchdowns
  7. WR Ben Skowronek - 3 targets | 1 reception | 10 yards | 0 touchdowns
  8. RB Ronnie Rivers - 1 target | 1 reception | 4 yards | 0 touchdowns

So far, it's obvious that the LA Rasms offense is getting a ton of production out of both Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell. And that is excellent news. But at some point, the Rams offense has to get better production out of Tyler Higbee, Van Jefferson, or Ben Skowronek, right? And when the Rams get WR Cooper Kupp back in this offense, do the Rams suddenly have a trio of receivers on track for 1000+ yards this season?

And that is just a recap of the passing game. So far, the Rams have rushed 62 times in two games, for a grand total of just 181 yards. That works out to just 2.9 yards per carry. The longest run for the Rams offense has been no better than 12 yards. Still, the Rams can run when they need to, as shown by the four rushing touchdowns scored by the team so far. So at some point, this Rams offense has to break out a huge run, right?

This is not all on Kyren Williams. At some point, the LA Rams are going to unleash either veteran RB Royce Freeman or rookie RB Zach Evans, and when that happens, I expect the Rams ground game to level up.

The 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals have the home advantage, and are certainly the more desperate team. They are favored by three points, and they remain the talk of the NFL. But when compared, the LA Rams are the better team heading into this contest. What will the final score be? I'm on record as predicting the Bengals to win this one. But that is to avoid tempting fate. I really do believe that the LA Rams match up very well to the Bengals in Week 3.

We'll find out in a matter of hours now: