Judging the first four games of any team’s season is difficult. On one hand, the first month of the season has become almost an extended pre-season due to the restrictions regarding practice time. Obviously that doesn’t mean they are meaningless but they’re rarely the best representation of what a team ultimately is. The Rams are in a place where their first four games (well three) are an early gauntlet that could define their season early. Yes, there are no divisional games but they each represent a host of challenges the Rams as a team is facing this season.
Week One Vs Dallas
As previously stated in discussing the Rams’ schedule of the first four games this one has the most potential for fireworks. The Cowboys have (on paper) an offense that can score at will. The Rams do as well even though it will come with an entirely new dynamic than in the past three seasons. The caveat is that its week one with an even more truncated off-season practice schedule both teams likely won’t be in sync.
The Cowboys are going to be working with a new-look offensive line and rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. The Rams are going to be working with a new offensive line as well as rookie running back Cam Akers. The Rams have slightly more continuity than the Cowboys but not much.
The Cowboys added Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe on the defensive line. From the jump the Rams are going to be tested against a team that they might be fighting for a playoff seeding and for Jared Goff, he gets an early chance to one-up Dak Prescott who is considered the best quarterback in their draft despite Goff accomplishing more.
For anyone interested in betting on this one, make sure to check out all NFL betting lines for Week 1. Dallas is the slight betting underdog (-105) on the spread compared to (-115) for Pittsburgh.
Week Two At Eagles
The Eagles might seem like a bit of an afterthought given how their season ended but they’re still a contender. The question is how long it will take for them to integrate their new pieces on both sides.
On defense, their secondary got a boost with the trade for Darius Slay and while their defensive front seven still has the talent it isn’t clear if they’re still as good as they’ve been.
Carson Wentz is coming off another season where his durability has been called into question. The Eagles also have had the Rams number the past few years but this might be the year Goff upends Carson Wentz and reminds people why he was picked over Wentz.
Week Three At Bills
In 2020 the Bills are going to be one of the HOT teams coming into the season and the Rams are their 2018 counterparts. The Bills have a great defense and now on offense, they added Stefon Diggs to give Josh Allen a superstar receiver to go with Cole Beasley and John Brown.
Their running game and their line are suspect but given Josh Allen‘s mobility they can make up any deficiency in that area. Goff once again gets a shot at picking off another of his contemporaries people rate above him as well as prove he can win outdoors.
Buffalo is a tough place to play especially with a cocky Bills Mafia that will go extra Dudley Boyz in the parking lot. This is the chance for the Rams to not only retake their place in the conversation of great teams in the league but also to derail a hype train team.
Week Four Vs Giants
On paper, this is the easiest of the Rams’ first four games but that doesn’t mean it’s a gimmie. True, the Giants are about has confusing and poorly run as Quibi and it isn’t clear if they’re rebuilding or if they will benefit from having a new young coach in Joe Judge and The Clapper Jason Garrett as the offensive coordinator. They didn’t add anything to help Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.
On defense, they basically just added linebacker Blake Martinez and that’s about it. So sure, this could be an opportunity to get a blowout win and allow Goff to best another young contemporary in Danny Dimes.
Their new front seven will be tested by Barkley so again this game is hardly a layup.
The first four games could define the expectations for the Rams. They play in what is on paper one of the toughest divisions in football so their margin of error is smaller than it otherwise would be. Sean McVay should have the team ready to go as last year taught him one loss is the difference between a playoff birth and remaining in the conversation and missing the playoffs and all of a sudden being under scrutiny.