The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the dream-teamy Los Angeles Rams.
2017 in a nutshell: The league’s lowest-scoring offense from 2016 becomes its highest-scoring offense in 2017, with new head coach Sean McVay earning Coach of the Year honors at the age of, like, 12, and young offensive stars Jared Goff and Todd Gurley breaking out. They also improve immensely on defense under Wade Phillips and win the NFC West with an 11-5 record.
What’s different: They won’t sneak up on anybody this season, but they’ve also bulked up with the addition of veterans Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib.
Why they could be awesome: They were awesome last season and on paper they’re even awesomer (pretend it’s a word) this season.
Why they could suck: Consider this cautionary tale.
Major additions: Cooks, Suh, Peters, Talib.
Major losses: Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, cornerback Trumaine Johnson, wide receiver Tavon Austin, linebackers Alec Ogletree and Connor Barwin, defensive end Robert Quinn, wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
Breakout watch: Safety John Johnson III quietly shined as a rookie third-round pick in 2017. Now he’ll start from the get-go with a full offseason under his belt as part of a secondary that will offer him a ton of support as a 22-year-old. Look for him to make plenty of plays.
Position to watch: The one quasi-weak spot on this roster is the linebacker corps. With Ogletree and Barwin gone they’ll be relying heavily on veteran Mark Barron while hoping that somebody can step up among a group that includes Samson Ebukam, Matt Longacre, Micah Kiser, Ramik Wilson, Cory Littleton and Justin Lawler.
Prediction: There’s certainly a chance the league catches up with them or that they lack chemistry, but this is still the most talented all-around roster in the NFL. They’ll win the division again and make a nice playoff run, even if they aren’t ready to win it all.
13-3, 1st place in the NFC West