2019 Early, early predictions

Now that the schedule has dropped for the 2019 season, I have a tentative look at how the Rams will get on as I give a game by game prediction for the 16 fixtures. Based on the results for each team in 2018, the Rams have the 3rd easiest “Strength of Schedule”, but of course, it doesn’t exactly work like that in reality.

With Primetime games aplenty and, as we all know, the trip to London in October, it’s sure to be another exciting season, so let’s get into it.

Week 1 – @ Carolina Panthers

A tough start on the road for the defending NFC Champs against a Panthers squad who lost 7 of their last 8 games in 2018. Cam Newton will be coming off shoulder surgery, but should be ready to go up against a slightly modified Rams defense. The Rams run defense will be tested early with Christian McCaffrey sure to see a lot of carries, but the Rams should have enough to leave the east coast with a win.

Record – 1-0

Week 2 – vs New Orleans Saints

A rematch from the NFC Championship game where absolutely nothing happened… The biggest shock here is that this is not a Primetime game. There are sure to be fireworks in this one with the Saints out looking for revenge and Michael Thomas looking for more than 36 yards. Sean McVay’s men will be motivated and won’t allow the Saints to leave
with a W.

Record – 2-0

Week 3 – @ Cleveland Browns

You would have believed me if I told you that this could be one of the tougher games on the schedule, right? The Browns have been the talking point of the off-season with some high-profile moves including the trade for Odell Beckham Jr. The first Primetime game of the season for the Rams is sure to be a fun one, but the feeling (hope?) here is that the Browns will still be trying to find their identity, and the Rams will escape the Dawg Pound unscathed.

Record – 3-0

Week 4 – vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Rams will be reunited with old foe Bruce Arians after a year out of coaching for the former Cardinals HC. Former #1 overall pick Jameis Winston will be looking to finally play to the high expectations that come with that selection, but the only thing he will be eating on this day is a big fat L.

Record – 4-0

Week 5 – @ Seattle Seahawks

A trip to the Pacific Northwest on Thursday Night Football is up next for the Rams in what is sure to be an electric atmosphere. The NFL’s new highest paid player (for now) Russell Wilson will be looking to improve on his record against the only franchise he has a losing record against (minimum of 3 games played against). Aaron Donald is sure to get his usual sacks, but the Seahawks just don’t seem to lose in Primetime at Centurylink Field.

Record – 4-1

Week 6 – vs San Francisco 49ers

A second divisional game in a row as the Niners make the short trip to LA, where Kyle Shanahan will be looking to get one over on Sean McVay, who has a 3-1 record against his old pal. With Jimmy G back under center, this will be a tougher task than it was last year when the Rams faced CJ Beathard and Nick Mullens over the two games, but LA has dominated this rivalry under McVay and that will continue in 2019.

Record – 5-1

Week 7 – @ Atlanta Falcons

The Rams return to the scene of their Super Bowl heartbreak to face Matt Ryan and the Falcons. The team will remain in Atlanta for a few days after the game before they fly to London, so they’ll be hoping that they don’t have to stay with a loss hanging over them, but the unhappy memories in this particular stadium may continue.

Record – 5-2

Week 8 – vs Cincinnati Bengals (in London)

This is the one that every UK Rams fan will have circled on their calendar as the Rams return to London for the 3rd time in 4 years. The added storyline is of course that the Bengals new HC is former Rams Quarterback Coach, Zac Taylor. Last time out in London, the Rams won by 33 points against Arizona, and while the margin might not be as big this time, LA will go into the bye week with a win.

Record – 6-2

Week 10 – @ Pittsburgh Steelers

The Rams return from the bye week with a trip across the country to face a Steelers team who are down to the last of their “Killers B’s”. Aaron Donald is sure to have a huge personal support in attendance as he returns to play in his hometown for the first time in his career, and he’ll be looking to put on a show. In both of the previous two seasons, LA has won coming off the bye, albeit against lesser teams, but it is a decent enough trend to predict a big win in the Steel City (no the game isn’t in Sheffield).

Record – 7-2

Week 11 – vs Chicago Bears

Another Primetime game pops up as the Rams face a Bears squad that thoroughly embarrassed them in the return fixture last season. Nothing went right for LA as a rattled Jared Goff and the offense put up just 6 points against the Khalil Mack led Bears defense. The Bears had the comforts of home that time though, so I don’t expect this game to be the same. Jared Goff will be California Cool as he gets revenge over Matt Nagy’s squad.

Record – 8-2

Week 12 – vs Baltimore Ravens

A second consecutive Primetime game as Lamar Jackson and the Ravens travel to LA on Monday Night Football. Eric Weddle will know all about this squad as he takes on his former team. It will be interesting to see how much Lamar Jackson has progressed as a passer by the time this game comes around, but I don’t think he will have improved enough to cause a shock at the Coliseum.

Record – 9-2

Week 13 – @ Arizona Cardinals

We’re into December before the Rams face the Cardinals who may have a new Quarterback in Kyler Murray if you listen to the pre-draft noise. It will also be the first matchup for Sean McVay and his best pal Kliff Kingsbury (they’re friends, don’t you know?). This is another divisional matchup that the Rams have dominated under McVay, with LA going a perfect 4-0 and posting two shutouts in the process. That good record should continue against a team that is in the midst of a rebuild.

Record – 10-2

Week 14 – vs Seattle Seahawks

The Rams meet the Seahawks in a Primetime game for the second time in a season. It’s sure to be a matchup that goes a long way to deciding the division as we enter the final quarter of the season. I had the Rams dropping the road game in part due to the atmosphere created by the Seattle crowd, something that the Seahawks can’t rely on in LA. Aaron Donald will cause the Seahawks fits again, and the Rams will split the series.

Record – 11-2

Week 15 – @ Dallas Cowboys

A rematch of last seasons’ Divisional Round playoff game, though this time it’s the Rams who are on the road. LA will be coming off a physical and bruising game against Seattle, and this won’t be any easier with the Cowboys sure to be feeding Ezekiel Elliott early and often. Whilst I think the Rams are a better team than the Cowboys, I fear that the Seahawks game will catch up with them in the second half of this one.

Record – 11-3

Week 16 – @ San Francisco 49ers

The second meeting of the season for these old rivals with the 49ers looking to snap a potential three game losing streak against the Rams. With San Fran likely out of any playoff contention, LA should be able to complete a second consecutive season sweep.

Record – 12-3

Week 17 – vs Arizona Cardinals

The Rams end the season at home with a divisional game that, if my predictions are close, could put the Rams in contention for the #1 seed or at least a bye in the playoffs for the second year running. With that added motivation, the Rams should improve to 6-0 against Arizona under Sean McVay.

Record – 13-3

So, there you have it, my probably way too early game by game prediction for the 2019 Los Angeles Rams. As always when writing this type of thing, you try to remain as objective as possible, no matter how hard that it. A second consecutive 13-3 season should be enough to clinch another bye in the playoffs for Sean McVay’s squad, with the hope of a return to the Super Bowl to avenge last season’s loss in the big game. Feel free to let me know where I’ve gone wrong by commenting of Facebook or Twitter!

Jordan (Twitter – @ScottishRam)