Los Angeles Rams 2023 Season Preview & Record Prediction
After coming off a Super Bowl victory that occurred the previous year, the bottom completely fell out for the Los Angeles Rams. What was thought only to be a slight blip on the radar was much more severe when the Rams lost to the Buffalo Bills 31-10 in their season opener. With everything still in front of them, the Rams went into their bye week with a 3-3 record but would struggle by losing seven-straight games. Those losses would end their playoff aspirations for the 2022 campaign. Impact players such as Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp were all injured for a significant portion of last year’s title defense.
Donald decided not to return to action after suffering an ankle injury when the Rams’ playoff fate was pretty much sealed. As a result of last season’s failure, the Rams went through significant turnover after the front office decided to part ways with contributors who played a massive role in their Super Bowl championship run in 2021. With considerable roster turnover, here’s how Strike 7 Sports views the upcoming season for the Los Angeles Rams.
Previewing the Rams’ Offense
Last season, the Rams’ offense was just not themselves. An offense that gained a reputation as one of the league’s most potent units fell from being a top-10 squad in 2022 to one of the game’s worst in several categories. When injuries start to decimate an offensive line, the chances are high that a ripple effect can occur to the entire unit. Season-ending injuries to key personnel such as quarterback Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp limited the Rams not even to have a puncher’s chance of clinching a playoff berth.
Running back Cam Akers seemed to be the Rams’ only bright spot on offense in 2022. After coming off a year in which he missed a significant portion of the season due to a Torn ACL injury, Akers slowly returned to his 2020 form. The Clinton, Mississippi native closed the season rushing for 786 yards and seven touchdowns.
Akers teammate, tight end Tyler Higbee chipped in with over 600 receiving yards and three touchdowns. During free agency, there wasn’t a lot of movement to bring in personnel capable of enhancing the Rams’ offense. They decided not to bring back wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. They said no to the idea of former number one overall pick Baker Mayfield becoming the heir apparent to quarterback Matthew Stafford.
The team is banking on players such as Stafford, Kupp, Higbee, and Akers to remain healthy and return the offense to its 2017-2021 levels. They will also need consistent contributions from role players such as wideouts Van Jefferson and TuTu Atwell.
Previewing the Rams’ Defense
Much like the offense, the Rams’ defense sunk to the bottom of the NFL in many statistical categories. The group also endured significant turnover when the team moved on from several key members of the 2021 crew that won the Super Bowl. Players such as Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd, Taylor Rapp, Bobby Wagner, Troy Hill, and A’Shawn Robinson will wear different uniforms this season.
The Rams’ defense will count on future Hall of Fame defensive tackle Aaron Donald to become the key cog for a group featuring many new faces. The front office replenished the defensive unit during the draft, and team general manager Les Snead orchestrated three draft-day trades, which netted the Rams additional picks. Overall, Los Angeles accumulated the most draft picks than any other franchise, with 14.
49ers: (September 17, January 7)
Bengals: (September 25)
Eagles: (October 8)
Cowboys: (October 29)
Seahawks: (November 19)
Saints: (December 21)
As the Los Angeles Rams gear up for the 2023 season, they face a challenging opening stretch against teams firmly in the playoff conversation last year. The importance of emerging victorious from these early battles cannot be overstated. While the offense has the potential to reclaim its Super Bowl-winning form, the defense faces a daunting task. The significant influx of new faces raises concerns about cohesion and overall performance.
Nevertheless, the Rams rely on a strategy many successful franchises adopted: building a core of talented young players on rookie contracts. This approach holds promise for the future but may hinder their immediate postseason aspirations. Despite their formidable presence on the field, the Rams will likely fall short of playoff qualification this season, given the significant roster changes on the defensive side. As they navigate these challenges, the Rams’ focus remains steadfast on building a foundation for sustained success.