In light of recent events, it is now time to loop the Los Angeles Rams into the Super Bowl conversation.
Not just as one of the eight teams contending, but a real threat to win the NFC. And, potentially hoist a Lombardi trophy. Personally, this is an opinion I haveA�hadA�for nearly a month. The Rams now have an elite level head coach. And, Jared Goff took unbelievable steps in his progression in 2017. Now the Rams have acquired elite corners Marcus Peters and Aqib TalibA�while adding Sam Shields and placing the franchise tag on LaMarcus Joyner.
Under Jeff Fisher, Jared Goff completed 54.6% of his passes for 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions. That’s good for just a 63.6 rating. In Goff’s first season under McVay, however, he completed 62.1% of his passes for 3,804 yards with 28 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Goff was a different QB entirely, and that was with only one offseason under McVay’s system.
Here is some perspective: Peyton Manning won an MVP throwing for 4,002 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2008. NFL offenses have changed quite a lot since then, of course. But Goff’s ceiling is high nonetheless.
Goff has certainly taken big steps in the past year, but he does not do it alone. As it stands, the Rams have a very deep wide receiver core with Sammy Watkins (FA), Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp. Will they bring Sammy Watkins back? It looks that way. Todd Gurley was second in the NFL with 1,305 yards on the ground, second only to Kareem Hunt at 1,327. Gurley led the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2017 with 13, edging Mark Ingram. Gurley did all of this despite being fourth in the NFL in rushing attempts.
With the Rams ascendance, the NFC West division has been going through major transition. In the past week alone, the SeahawksA�traded Michael BennettA�andA�released Richard ShermanA�in an attempt to reshape the direction of the franchise. For the Cardinals, their starting quarterback Carson Palmer retired this offseason. So did Bruce Arians, paving the way for new head coaching hire Steve Wilks. The 49ers hype is real since the acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo and long-term extension. Oh, they also just brought in Richard Sherman.
But, everything around Garoppolo is currently a project. They still need to add more to their secondary, running game, and their wide receiver depth. Not to mention the issues Reuben Foster has been dealing with. I like the 49ers long-term plan, even with the new addition of Richard Sherman. But I don’t see Super Bowl contender in their makeup for another 2-3 years.
Outside of the NFC West, the entirety of the NFC has become very deep. The Eagles just won a Super Bowl and added Michael Bennett. Green Bay will have Rodgers back. The Cowboys will have Zeke back while the Vikings will still be good (especially if they add Cousins). And of coursea��the trio in the NFC South consisting of New Orleans, Carolina, and Atlanta.
Although the Rams have a steep climb with all of those proven teams in their conference, the additions make their secondary elite. And that No. 3 NFL offense is not going away. I think they will be the NFL version of the 2017 Auburn Tigers: stacked conference, new and exciting QB, elite coach, elite running game and a stout defense. I think they will compete for a Super Bowl berth and reach the NFC title game.
But we will have to wait and see.