B/R claims NFC West title rests on shoulders of these Rams players

Is Bleacher Report onto something? Do the Rams hold the key to winning the NFC West in 2024?
Aaron Donald, Kobie Turner, Byron Young, Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Donald, Kobie Turner, Byron Young, Los Angeles Rams / Harry How/GettyImages

When the LA Rams fell to a record of 5-12 in 2022, talk about the NFL Playoffs and competing for another Super Bowl appearance seemed years away. But after falling to a 3-6 record in 2023, this team remembered who they are, who they play for, and most importantly, how to win. The resulting run of 7-1 to close out the season launched them into the 2024 NFL Playoffs Wild Card Round as the sixth seed, and nearly upsetting the hometown Detroit Lions.

The team improved from 5-12 to 10-7 in one year's time.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers won the NFC West Division in 2022 with a record of 13-4. They repeated as NFC West Division champions in 2023 with a record of 12-5.

So with the Rams rising rapidly and the 49ers falling slowly, could 2024 be the year when the Rams wrestle the NFC West Division crown from the 49ers? At least one NFL website thinks that it's time. And they could be correct.

Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton penned an ambitious article for 2024 six NFL division races: Top Storylines That Will Determine Winner Of Each NFL Division for 2024 Season, and when he gets to the NFC West Division, he claims that the Rams hold the balance of power in the NFC West in their hands.

These Rams stars hold the key to the Division Crown

In his NFC West: Can Rams' Young Defenders Compensate for the Loss of Aaron Donald? chapter, he moves the destiny of the NFC West out of the 49ers realm of control, and into the hands of the Rams young defense. More specifically, he points to the Rams young but talented and passionate defensive front as the key to taking the NFC West:

"... the Rams up-and-coming wave of defenders could still wreak havoc collectively.

As rookies last year, defensive tackle Kobie Turner and edge-rusher Byron Young recorded 17 sacks and 50 pressures combined.

In the first round of this year(s) draft, Los Angeles selected edge-rusher Jared Verse, who logged 29.5 tackles for loss and 18 sacks during his two seasons at Florida State.

In 2023, the Rams fielded a top-eight scoring offense that was capable of keeping pace with the San Francisco 49ers. If their front seven develops into a formidable group sans Donald, the Rams could edge past the reigning NFC champions for the NFC West division title."

B/R Maurice Moton

If you notice, Moton does not even mention rookies DT Braden Fiske, OLB Brennan Jackson, or DT Tyler Davis in his summary. I don't think he intended to discount those rookie contributions for 2024. It comes down to the fact that this Rams young defense is cursed with riches this year, and the list of potential contributors can become rather lengthy if you start down that trail.

I'm not suggesting that the 49ers will crumble and fold this season like a house of cards. I'm simply pointing to the fact that the 49ers veterans are getting older, the talent level has fallen ever so slightly due to free agency, and the rest of the NFC West Division has begun to close the gap. The 49ers have enjoyed an 11-1 advantage over division rivals in the past two seasons.

I believe the Rams reinforced offense, and young and dangerous defense, matches up rather well with the 49ers this season. With the NFC West Division welcome a new Champion in 2024? Stay tuned.

As always, thanks for reading.