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Los Angeles Rams 2023 Season Preview Analysis, Odds & Best Bet for Win Totals


NFL Pick: 2023 Los Angeles Rams Under 6.5 Wins (-125) at BetRivers


The Los Angeles Rams went all out to win the Super Bowl in 2021, and now we are seeing the repercussions of those moves. In 2022, the Rams finished 5-12, the worst record ever for a defending champion. 

Still, a Super Bowl win in exchange for a couple of lousy seasons? It is a trade-off just about any fan base would gladly take. But the Rams could be in store for another lean year as the top online sportsbooks only have them with an over/under of 6.5 wins, good for 3rd place in the NFC West only because the Arizona Cardinals are projected to be the worst team in the NFL. 

But when a team does not finish a season with its best players due to injury, you might think getting those players back for one of the better head coaches would be a good way to get back to a winning season. 

However, the 2023 Rams are going to test that logic as they really are a roster that looks like 3 studs and 50 duds. Can Sean McVay turn things around quickly here in a weak conference?  


Significant Modifications

Getting Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald back is huge news. If football was just a quarterback throwing to his receiver before a pass rusher annihilates him, then the Rams would have the best 3-man roster in the NFL. 

Unfortunately, there are 50 more roster spots that need to be filled, and that is where the Rams fail to impress right now. 

Is the Offensive Line Still Shaky? 

One of the biggest problems last year was the state of the offensive line. Stafford needs a good one to keep him upright, and that was not the case last year. The Rams drafted guard Steve Avila in the 2nd round and expect to start him in Week 1.  

But left tackle is still the position to keep an eye on. The Rams thought Joe Noteboom could slide into Andrew Whitworth’s left tackle spot, but Noteboom only made it 6 starts before he was lost for the season.  

The Rams drafted Noteboom in the 3rd round in 2018 and have only started him in 23 games. He still has a lot to prove, and McVay must see something in him for him to continue making the team. But if he cannot get the job done this year, then the Rams have to make left tackle a top priority in the offseason. 

How Much Catch Can Stafford and Kupp Play Catch Together?

Michael Thomas holds the NFL record with 149 catches in a season for the 2019 Saints (16 games). If someone can get to 150, it would be Cooper Kupp, who had 145 catches in 2021 (17 games). 

Kupp had arguably the best season ever by a wide receiver in 2021 when he won Super Bowl MVP honors. He was still great last year, but it was not quite the same without a competent No. 2 option. At least in 2021, Kupp had Robert Woods before he was injured, then Odell Beckham Jr. the rest of the way.

Same Old Problem 

The Rams did not fix this either, because they are planning on starting Van Jefferson and Ben Skowronek again. Neither player got to 400 yards last year, which is why tight end Tyler Higbee was the 2nd-leading receiver with 72 catches for 620 yards. Higbee is still the No. 1 tight end for the Rams, but this lack of a No. 2 wide receiver is concerning. 

More defenses need to study what Arizona has done against Kupp, because they have held him under 65 yards in 4-of-5 meetings since 2021. The rest of the NFL has held Kupp under 65 yards in 0-of-25 games since 2021. 

Kupp was still producing last year, but his yards per target dropped from 10.2 to 8.3. He needs more help around him, but the Rams are not able to do it this year. 

Who Is This Defense?

If you ever wanted to see an NFL defense that is one star and 10 random players, watch the Rams this year. Aaron Donald has never had less help around him after the Rams parted ways with all but one player who played 700 snaps on defense last year: 

  • LB Bobby Wagner (1,080 snaps) 
  • CB Jalen Ramsey (1,077 snaps) 
  • SS Nick Scott (984 snaps) 
  • FS Taylor Rapp (977 snaps) 
  • LB Leonard Floyd (933 snaps) 
  • DT Greg Gaines (732 snaps) 
  • CB Troy Hill (704 snaps) 

The only player still with the team is linebacker Ernest Jones (723 snaps). Also, it is not like the Rams used the draft to restock this year. They did use a pair of 3rd-round picks on the front seven, and Byron Young has a good shot to start at outside linebacker. The Rams are hurting at edge rusher after Leonard Floyd left for the Bills. He led the team with 9.0 sacks last season. 

Not every loss is significant for the Rams, but not having Jalen Ramsey in the secondary anymore will hurt. The Rams could rely heavily on corners Derion Kendrick and Cobie Durant, a pair of 2022 mid-round picks, to make up for the loss of Ramsey.  

There is not a lot to be optimistic about here. 


2023 Schedule Analysis

In the last 3 seasons where Stafford started every game, he went 12-5, 5-11, and 6-10. It is not hard to figure out which of those years was with the Rams and which were in Detroit. But the 2023 Detroit Lions now have a better roster than the Rams do. Funny how that works. 

That is the price of doing business in this league when you trade draft picks for proven talent to put you over the top. The Rams made it happen in 2021, but they are not competing for championships right now. At best, they could be looking at runner-up in the NFC West if Geno Smith turns into a pumpkin in Seattle. 

But this team should have a rough season. The Cardinals present opportunities for a sweep, but it would be surprising if the Rams did anything in either matchup with the 49ers this year. They also have to play the Bengals (Week 3), Cowboys (Week 8) and Ravens (Week 14) on the road, and they host the Eagles (Week 5) and Saints (Week 16), projected to be NFC South winners. 

The Pick

McVay and his Big 3 are good enough to keep the Rams out of the discussion for the No. 1 pick in the draft, but this team could almost use a full draft of high picks to get back on track.  

You may be sweating it in the final weeks, but the Rams could finish 0-3 when they have to play the Saints, Giants, and 49ers with the last 2 games on the road. Take the under for your NFL best bets. 

NFL Pick: 2023 Los Angeles Rams Under 6.5 Wins (-125) at BetRivers


2022 Recap: Super Bowl Hangover for the Winning Side

The Rams had a lot of concerns going into the 2022 season. Were they too complacent with the ring? Sean McVay and Aaron Donald had already floated the “retirement” word out there to the media.  

Key players that helped the Rams get over the hump were gone, including Von Miller, Odell Beckham Jr., and Andrew Whitworth. The offensive line especially looked grim with Whitworth’s retirement.  

Matthew Stafford had a mysterious elbow injury even before the season started. How would that affect his play? Some quarterbacks see a statistical leap after winning a Super Bowl, but this threatened to be a problem for Stafford. 

Adding Up

All these issues quickly materialized as the Rams had no answers for elite teams like the Bills, Cowboys, and 49ers (twice) during a 3-4 start. The Rams could not protect Stafford against those fierce pass rushes, and they failed to score more than 14 points in any of those games.  

The Rams could still squeak by the bad teams like Arizona, Atlanta, and Carolina, but any dream of repeating as champions looked over in October.  

Things all fell apart in Week 9 when the Rams blew a late lead in Tampa Bay after poor game management by McVay. Instead of getting back to 4-4, the Rams were 3-5 and Stafford was in the concussion protocol, taking him out of the next game. 

Rematch With the Cardinals

In that Arizona rematch, Cooper Kupp also was injured and lost for the season. Stafford returned, but a spinal contusion ended his season after another loss to the Saints put the Rams at 3-7. Soon enough, Donald exited for the year with an injury too. The Rams were down their 3 best players and throwing in the towel on the season. 

The only other wins were some amusing starts by Baker Mayfield, who made an epic comeback against the Raiders and helped drop 51 points on the Broncos on Christmas to improve some of the poor season stats for the Rams in McVay’s first losing season.


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