NFC Winner Odds: The Rams will be in the mix
After watching another season in which the Los Angeles Rams’ defense was utterly dominant, Rams head coach Sean McVay and company decided that they weren’t going to miss out on another extended playoff run due to mediocrity at the quarterback position.
Following the trade, the Rams currently sit at +180 to win the NFC West.
While Jared Goff dealt with a significant thumb injury at the end of the 2020-21 season, he wasn’t necessarily lighting the world on fire prior to that. He finished the season with 3.952 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The 20-touchdown mark was the lowest since he became the full-time starter in 2017-18.
That comes off back-to-back 4,600-yard seasons. While many coaches would love for their signal caller to put up those types of numbers, it all seemed incredibly predictable. Many of those numbers came when the Rams still had Todd Gurley at his peak. His success opened up more one-on-one opportunities, which fed right in to McVay’s offense of sending receivers on crossing patterns.
But once Gurley was gone and Goff got his 4-year $134 million extension, it was all on Goff. What McVay got was 10 less passing touchdowns, four more interceptions, and a quarterback that led he league in pass attempts.
So McVay got on the phone. According to Sports Illustrated, McVay and Matthew Stafford have a friendly relationship and celebrated in Mexico together after the trade was announced. Whether they were both there coincidentally, or they went down there knowing something was already done or in the works, I’ll leave for you to decide.
Stafford is an automatic upgrade from Goff. He has been one of the underrated arm talents this game has seen. Former division rival Aaron Rodgers was quick to point that out on the Pat McAfee Show when McAfee was going on about no-look throws recently made popular by Patrick Mahomes, when Rodgers credit Stafford. “That dude, what he does with the ball, it’s really impressive… That dude is throwing crazy no-lookers all the time, and he can throw from any arm angle.”
Outside of having Calvin Johnson, this receiving core will be the best he’s ever played with. Vegas has noted this too, by making Stafford tied for fifth-best odds at +1600. Mahomes is the favorite at +500, Rodgers +800, Josh Allen +1300, Kyler Murray +1400, Stafford, Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, Dak Presott, and Russell Wilson all tied at +1600. That’s hop and a skip away from where Stafford entered last season at +6600.
After impressing late in the season, Cam Akers might already be one of the most-talented running backs he’s ever played with as well, considering the Lions had just one 1,000-yard rusher in 16 seasons. The Lions leading rusher hasn’t had over 650 yards rushing in a season since Joquie Bell in 2014.
Put all of Stafford’s new toys with a defense that was the sole reason the Rams won certain games last season, and you’re looking at a contender in the NFC.
At the time of publication - BetAmerica offered the best odds for the Rams to win the NFC at +700.