Last Word on Pro Football is analyzing the schedules for all 32 NFL teams and ranking each game according to difficulty (one being the hardest). The series will be split into the eight most difficult games (1-8) as well as the easiest games (9-16). This article will focus on the easiest games on the 2017 Los Angeles Rams schedule.
Los Angeles Rams Easiest Games in 2017
9. Week 13 at Arizona Cardinals
This game should be set up differently than the week 7 contest between these two teams. On paper, the Cardinals are the better team, but, later in the season, many things can change the makeup of a team, especially a team like Arizona. There is a very good possibility that Carson Palmer may not be on the field in week 13. Palmer has battled injuries the past couple of seasons and quite frankly, past injuries may rear their ugly head for a quarterback in the twilight of his career. The younger, hungry Rams might be able to pull off the second matchup with the Cardinals.
10. Week 11 at Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have a very good defense and they are going into 2017 with high expectations of being the best defense in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings aren’t impressing many people. The Vikings struggled at converting on third down and just didn’t do a great job moving the ball. Quarterback Sam Bradford did find his groove with Minnesota, had a quarterback rating of 99.1 last season and managed the clock very well. But for a team that had the ball for over 30 minutes a game, they really didn’t make the most of it.
The defense is right there to keep the games close, but one of their weak points is the fact that running backs averaged over 100 yards per game. Based on this information, along with a top tier running back in Todd Gurley, I think this is enough for the Rams to keep this one close and this gave is very winnable.
11. Week 10 vs. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans really didn’t make a huge splash with their offense last year, but in 2016 they managed to find their way in the playoffs without ever scoring at least 30 points in a single game. The defense was solid, and kept the Texans in just about every game last season. The offensive bright spot for the Texans last year was rookie Will Fuller who surprised everyone with his ability to make plays every time he touched the ball. The problem in 2017 is that Fuller probably won’t even see the field until sometime in November due to the fact he broke his collarbone. Fuller could be back in the lineup by the time they play this game, but, probably wouldn’t be in football shape to make a big difference in the game.
The quarterback situation is also up in the air, as of now, it looks like Tom Savage will be the quarterback to start pre-season but their first round pick Deshaun Watson is also competing for the job. There are a lot of question marks for this team, maybe just enough to give the young Rams a chance in week 10.
12. Week 12 vs. New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints who are known for their pass game, now have a ground attack with the addition of Adrian Peterson to the backfield. Peterson, Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara have added a new layer to the Saints offense. The Rams defense has improved from last season, a season, where they still managed to do a good job of keeping the running game in check, or, at least keeping it from getting out of control.
The Rams will have found their way in Sean McVay‘s game plan by this point and quite frankly, the Saints just aren’t the same out west. The Saints will be good, better than last year, but they will in no way be unbeatable. The Rams might get this one based on home field advantage.
13. Week 6 at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville looks like a team that is dazed and confused coming into 2017. Blake Bortles has not lived up to his expectations but Jacksonville is hell bent on giving him another chance. The Jags drafted highly touted running back Leonard Fournette and having a feature running back like Fournette could really take some pressure off of Bortles. Although he has not been guaranteed the starting job but by week 6, Fournette could very well be the star of this wary Jacksonville squad.
The Rams and Jags match up well and this could certainly be a close and competitive game that could easily go the Rams way based on the fact the Jags weren’t able to close games in 2016.
14. Week 1 vs. Indianapolis Colts
This scenario just can’t get any better the Rams. McVay could easily walk away with his first win as an NFL coach. Although a new system is in place in Los Angeles, the fact they have Gurley to carry the load against a Colts team that gave up 120 yards per game to running backs in 2016, is a huge positive for the Rams.
The Colts will be without quarterback Andrew Luck the first week of the season and their offense just isn’t much without him. This game could be a shot in the arm for the Rams organization as they start the 2017 season.
15. Week 3 at 49ers
This is a lackluster Thursday Night Football matchup to say the least. Two teams that have limited expectations entering the season face off in San Francisco. This is a type of game that Jared Goff needs to take advantage of, a game, that could very well, define the rest of his season. A young quarterback like Goff that was thrown into a starting job too early in 2016 needs a confidence booster, and this is the game for that to happen.
The 49ers have not done much to improve their quarterback situation. The depth chart features two Bears backups in Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, along with a rookie quarterback in C.J. Beathard. Some feel Beathard was drafted too early in the NFL draft. Their quarterback situation spells opportunity for the Rams, one that they should easily be able to take advantage of.
16. Week 17 vs. 49ers
Last season the 49ers won both games against the Rams. Let’s face it, the Rams were horrible in 2016 but we should see improvement with this team. There is a new coach, not one that was tired and predictable like Jeff Fisher who seemed to throw in the towel as he could not adapt to more modern offensive schemes. The Rams have potential and talent; they will prevail against the 49ers yet again in their second game of the season. By the time week 17 rolls around, Jared Goff will have improved and the 49ers will be letting young C.J. Beathard get some NFL experience. This is by far the easiest game on the Rams schedule.
Be sure to check out the eight most difficult games on the 2017 Los Angeles Rams schedule.