If you cheer for the LA Rams, one of the sweetest treats in your week is the opportunity for NFL Insider and Analyst Brian Baldinger to break down the LA Rams in his unique and entertaining post-game perspective. And now, everyone in the NFL has the opportunity to view one of the most dramatic games in the history of the NFL Playoffs.
But let's step back a bit. The 2023 NFL season may not be as jam-packed as that of Major League Baseball (MLB) or that of the National Basketball Association (NBA), but the National Football League (NFL) has gradually increased the number of regular season games in a season from 14 games (from 1961 through 1977), then to 16 games (from 1978 through 2020), and finally increasing to 17 games (from 2021 through present day)
While more games means more football, and that means more entertainment for everyone, it does tend to dilute the achievements of those individual games. For example, the LA Rams managed to win five of six games from their very competitive NFC Western Division rivals. Those are games that are arguably the most difficult to win, as the Rams face NFC West teams twice a season,
The Rams also depleted their roster this season, and in the process burdened themselves with over $77 million in dead cap space. That forced the LA Rams to reconstruct their 2023 version of the Rams roster by shopping thrift sales. Essentially the Rams relied heavily upon the 2023 NFL Draft for rookies who are inexpensive, augmented by veterans who were willing to play at the NFL minimum.
Perhaps that is what makes the LA Rams accomplishment in 2023 so amazing. The Rams roster was not built from elite NFL veterans, nor did the Rams load up on rookies on Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft. in retrospect, no NFL team had as much success in the draft as the LA Rams, who landed elite players as late as the middle of Day 3. And it has been that youthful energy that has recharged the entire Rams organization, paving the way for a late season rally that launched this team into postseason competition.
Not only do the red-hot LA Rams (10-7) travel to face the NFC North Champion Detroit Lions (12-5), but there are several riptide undercurrents to this game that is truly compelling viewing for even the casual fan. Let's run down the list: