Rams News: Bookmakers Say Team Playoff Odds Murky
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

At the conclusion of the 2018-19 season, the Los Angeles Rams were the class of the NFL. They just made the Super Bowl. Todd Gurley was the most dominant running back in the game, quarterback Jared Goff was coming off his breakout season, they had Brandin Cooks and Dante Fowler, and the hottest, young coach in the game in Sean McVay.

Now in 2020 after a single disappointing season where they went 9-7 and missed the playoffs, the roster looks completely different, the coaching staff has been overhauled, and the team appears to be trending in the wrong direction. Worse still is while the NFL is expanding the postseason to include 14 teams, according to our NFL Betting Guide, the Rams have just a 31.4% chance to make the postseason.

Currently, Los Angeles is +400 to win the NFC West, behind the San Francisco 49ers (+120), the Seattle Seahawks (+225), and ahead of the Cardinals (+700).

The good news is that Los Angeles has put up three straight winning seasons. They’ve won 33 of 48 games over the last three seasons, and there is merit to the argument it could have been three straight playoff appearances if they were not playing in such a strong division.

Rams Overall Outlook

Over the last three seasons, the Rams offense ranked 1st, 2nd, and 11th in points per game. McVay is still a very good offensive-minded coach and there is no reason Goff shouldn’t bounce back from a down season. Even with the departure of Cooks, the Rams are deep in pass-catching receivers. Tight end Tyler Higbee is coming off a breakout season (69 catches, 734 yards), Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp remain extremely productive, and Josh Reynolds is a strong third option.

However, that won’t mean nearly much if the offensive line doesn’t improve. The Rams front five went from 6th in PFF’s rankings in 2018 to 31st in 2019 and the team wasn’t able to address the issue in free agency or the draft.

For a team that leans heavily on its offense, the Rams have been surprisingly consistent defensively. Over the past three seasons, the Rams defense ranked 11th, 20th and 17th in points allowed.

In February, the Rams replaced defensive coordinator Wade Phillips with former Denver Broncos outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley. Also gone is defensive end Dante Fowler, who signed with Atlanta after a career year in Los Angeles. The Rams will also be missing linebacker Cory Littleton who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, Clay Matthews who was cut, and Eric Weddle who retired.

Leonard Floyd will replace Fowler on the defensive line The Chicago Bears former first-round pick should benefit from the 3-4 scheme that the Rams deploy. The secondary remains mostly intact.

Given the upward trajectory of both the 49’ers and the Seahawks, oddsmakers have set the Rams projected win total this season at 8.5 games. It will likely take 10 wins to make the playoffs this season, so it could probably go either way for the Rams in 2020.