Last Word on Pro Football is analyzing the schedules of all 32 NFL teams and ranking each game in order of difficulty (with one being the most difficult). This series will be split up into the most difficult games (1-8) and easiest games (9-16) on the schedule. For this article, the Los Angeles Rams most difficult games are the focus.
Los Angeles Rams Most Difficult Games in 2017
1. Week 4 at Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the early favorites to make it to Super Bowl LII. The Rams are rebuilding and the Cowboys window is wide open in 2017. The two teams are headed in the right direction but Dallas is about a lap ahead. The only question mark is if Ezekiel Elliott is suspended heading into week 4, but, with Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris around to pick up the slack, there just isn’t enough holes in this Dallas Cowboys team that can bring a glimmer of hope for the Rams in week 4.
2. Week 15 at Seattle Seahawks
By week 15, the Seahawks will more than likely be embroiled in a fight for the playoffs. Anyone who knows the NFL knows that the home field advantage for the Seahawks is off the charts. The Rams simply don’t have the guns to be hanging around in week 15 and Seattle will be desperate for victory this late in the season. A steady, stable Seahawks squad is just going to be too much for the Rams at CenturyLink Field in December.
3. Week 9 at New York Giants
The Giants, to say the least, are loaded. Another NFC East match up from a team at the top of their game. The Rams will have a tough time keeping up with the likes of Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., and now, Brandon Marshall. The Rams were ranked ninth overall in net total yards for defense, but, they did give up 32 passing touchdowns in 2016, where they ranked 29th in the league. This doesn’t bode well for the Rams as their offense just won’t be able to keep up the potential scoring pace to make this a game.
4. Week 5 vs. Seattle Seahawks
As mentioned earlier, the Seahawks are a solid steady team, a team who knows their identity. This game will be a very important game at this point in the season. Will first year coach Sean McVay see a more settled Rams team in week 5? Will Jared Goff still be the quarterback? This turning point type of game against an NFC West rival will surely be a test for the young coach and his ability to implement his system. The Rams will be at home and hungry at this point, they may test Seattle a bit, but the Seahawks will end up running away with this game in the end.
5. Week 16 at Tennessee Titans
The Titans are a team with a lot of buzz in the preseason. Marcus Mariota has healed from his broken leg that he suffered in week 16 of last season when Mariota started coming into his own. What has changed for Mariota is the fact this season, he has some serious new weapons in Eric Decker and rookie Corey Davis who was the first receiver taken in the 2017 draft. The Titans could be a playoff contender headed into week 16 and at that point in the season, they will be hitting on all cylinders and should be able to get a lopsided win if the early projections are what they say they are.
6. Week 7 vs. Arizona Cardinals (Rams are home team in London)
The Cardinals are a bit difficult to figure out this season. Of course they have a top tier running back in David Johnson and veteran quarterback Carson Palmer can really do some damage in the passing game when he is healthy. On top of that, Arizona was a top five defense in 2016. The Rams will not be able to get enough pressure on this offense and again, will not be able to keep up offensively with the Cardinals. It’s a tough match up in London, with either team potentially suffering from the time change. But realistically, this one will be tough for the Rams to win.
7. Week 14 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were two names we heard interchanged when analyzing the 2016 NFL Draft. Both of these quarterbacks were considered top prospects in the draft. Wentz has already started to make his mark in the NFL, where Goff has not performed up to expectations after his first season. To be fair, Goff doesn’t have the weapons that Wentz does and quite frankly, he doesn’t have the NFL swagger that Wentz does, at least for now. The Eagles are just the better team overall and it will be tough for the Rams to get away with a win here.
8. Week 2 vs. Washington Redskins
The Redskins showed a lot last year, at least a lot more than the Rams did. The Kirk Cousins drama has died down until next year and the Skins look to improve on last year’s 9-7 record. This will be a difficult task as the NFC East is loaded, so, any wins, especially early in the season, are very important if they want to contend. The offense won’t look quite the same for Washington who lost Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. But the Redskins defense is looking to improve. They still have Jordan Reed and a solid running game, the Redskins will be good enough to get a much needed win early in the season against the Rams.
Be sure to check out the eight easiest games on the 2017 Los Angeles Rams schedule.