The LA Rams finished the 2022 NFL season with a rather disappointing record of 5-12. While that is certainly not how the team nor the fans wanted the season to turn out, it was not the worst in the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals ended the season at 4-13, and as a result, ended the year with a better position in the 2023 NFL Draft. But that is not the only perk of being bad.
The NFL attempts to promote bad teams and shunt good teams the following year by modifying the NFL schedule. That is, first-place teams will face first-place teams in direct competition, second-place teams face other second-place teams, and so on. As a result, and as expected, the LA Rams will face last year's third-place teams. But, is that an advantage?
To figure it all out, let's take a look at the 2023 NFC West schedule for all teams. We know that the NFC West is scheduled to face all other NFC West teams twice, all AFC North teams once, and all NFC East teams onece. So by process of elimination, we can remove those common teams from the discussion. That leaves NFC West teams facing their counterparts in the following NFL Divisions: AFC East, AFC South, AFC West, NFC North, NFC South.
What can we say about the Rams schedule?
With that information, we can compare and contrast the different teams that NFC West rivals must face:
- NFL Division | 4th-Cardinals | 3rd-Rams | 2nd-Seahawks | 1st-49ers
- AFC East | 4th - Jets | 3rd -Patriots | 2nd- Dolphins | 1st - Bills
- AFC South | 4th - Texans | 3rd - Colts | 2nd - Titans | 1st - Jaguars
- AFC West | 4th - Broncos | 3rd - Raiders | 2nd - Chargers | 1st - Chiefs
- NFC North | 4th - Bears | 3rd - Packers | 2nd - Lions | 1st - Vikings
- NFC South | 4th - Falcons | 3rd - Saints | 2nd - Panthers | 1st - Buccaneers
So to get a handle on 2023 expectations, I am turning to the experts at With the First Pick, and letting Lou Scataglia project the best of the 2023 NFL season. Bold teams (above) are the projected best team, while the italicized team (above) is the projected worst team.
What do predictions have to say about the LA Rams third place schedule? Well, if the prediction hold true, the Rams will have one of the easier schedules in the NFC West. With one exception, the New Orleans Saints from the NFC South Divsion, the Rams are projected to face the fourth-place team in four other NFL Divisions. As far as the toughest schedule, that belongs to the Seattle Seahawks, who are projected to face two Division winners, and only one non-playoff team.
Looks like LA Rams schedule gives a distinct advantage
The San Francisco 49ers do not face the toughest schedule, despite facing three projected Division Winners, because they face the Vikings and Buccaneers, both team projected to dive bomb to insignificance this year.
The loser in this exercise is the Arizona Cardinals, a team that was left reeling throughout the 2022 NFL season and, by the looks of things, will get very little relief via the 2023 NFL schedule this year. Whether or not you believe that the Cardinals have turned the corner, their unique opponents this year most certainly have.
If you are banking on the LA Rams tanking this year, this is not good news for you. But if you are looking for a true rebound from the Rams this season, this is just one more feather in the cap. If the projections hold true. the LA Rams could and should win four of the five games listed in the unique opponents' table above. That is a solid beachhead and could be a key foundation for the Rams to close the season with a record of 9-8 or better.
What do you think? Do the LA Rams truly have an advantage with their schedule this season? Let us know by commenting on our Facebook page. Thank you for reading the article.