The Los Angeles Rams are on their first losing streak of 2023 as fast as mathematically possible. The Rams preseason record is 0-2. After suffering through a grisly 5-12 season, fans are understandably nervous about the prospects after coming up short in the team’s first football action. Looking forward, their next opponent, the Denver Broncos, are also on a two-game skid.
Losing to a 0-2 team would be a fast way to take the wind out of the excitement for Week 1 of the 2023 regular season, but don’t fret! Here are three reasons to breathe easier if the team does indeed give Sean Payton his first ‘win’ as a coach of the Denver Broncos.
No Starters for the Rams Preseason
Sean McVay was one of the trendsetters when holding starters out of preseason games as much as possible. 2023 has been no different. New Rams fans paying attention for the first time wouldn’t even know that Matthew Stafford or Cooper Kupp were on this team if they only watched highlights from the Rams Preseason games.
When the first kickoff of the 2023 regular season commences, players, schemes, and objectives will be entirely different for the squad. As such, until the switch is flipped in September, do everything possible to take the Rams Preseason Week 3 showdown with a pinch of salt.
Sean Payton has more Incentive to Dip into Real Plays and Tendencies
Put simply, many coaches, including Sean McVay, don’t put their efforts into winning games in August the same way they do in September. Schemes are much more vanilla and backups become the starters. However, not every coach feels this way.
Sean Payton was visibly upset by the Denver Broncos’ losses, especially coming up short against the San Francisco 49ers. One can expect that the head coach will be doing all in his power to avoid giving into the temptation of adding some extra spice into his playbook, but might slip in just one or two more wrinkles. It might give the Broncos an “unfair” edge now, but during the regular season, it’ll put them behind the Los Angeles Rams.
Additionally, as a recent hire, Payton is under more pressure than McVay to perform quickly. McVay could easily still have papers in his office that were around when he won the Super Bowl. The Rams remember this. Sean Payton is coming out of retirement. It is two entirely different situations.
Los Angeles Rams don’t Play the AFC West in 2023
The Rams can also breathe easily with the knowledge that they don’t face Denver, Las Vegas, the Chargers, or Patrick Mahomes this season. Of course, they could still technically face any of the teams in the Super Bowl, but getting to the game would be a victory by itself. Still, there is little chance of facing Russell Wilson‘s team again after this week.
All of this said, the team also did hand the franchise their single-worst defeat of the season and potentially the decade on Christmas Day of the 2022 season. The team has a good of a shot of defeating the franchise as anyone. If the Broncos play their starters and the Rams can even simply hang tough, it would be a pyrrhic victory for Denver. Sure, the team won on the scoreboard, but did they actually win?