The long-awaited NFL schedules have officially arrived. The Los Angeles Rams and their fans have huge hopes and expectations to get back into the top tier of NFL teams and make a deep postseason run. With the addition of former Detroit Lions star quarterback, Matthew Stafford, this loaded roster appears to be in a good place to start. Below is a closer look at the Los Angeles Rams schedule for the 2021 season with a game-by-game ranking (with the most difficult game being ranked one).
Los Angeles Rams Schedule Breakdown
1. at San Francisco 49ers (Week 10)
Some will no doubt fly off the handle about this choice not being the reigning Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. But when considering team-to-team match-ups there might be a different point of view.
The San Francisco 49ers are a different beast of late. The Los Angeles Rams have lost five of the first eight games against the Niners in the Sean McVay era. This includes the last four head-to-head division clashes or two years of getting swept. In what is quite possibly one of the NFL’s all-time classic coaching duels in the making, Rams fans know the degree of difficulty here better than most NFL experts will.
2. at Indianapolis Colts (Week 2)
Don’t be too quick to backslide on the former Philadelphia Eagles savior and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback, Carson Wentz. The ultra-smart quarterback mind of head coach Frank Reich will have Wentz playing much steadier than in 2020. The gap in the overall pressure to lead a team with big holes in talent and ability as opposed to leading one of the most complete teams in the NFL will be huge. In addition, Sean McVay has faced the Colts only one time as an NFL head coach. It was his regular season head coaching debut back in 2017. That 46-9 thrashing over the Chuck Pagano-led team has no bearing whatsoever here.
Much like that post-season pounding against the Green Bay Packers, the Colts bring a stellar offensive line and ground game to this dance. If run-stuffer Michael Brockers isn’t successfully replaced or their linebacker issues return, Wentz and the Colts could coast to victory.
3. at Seattle Seahawks (Week 5)
The first thing that should come to mind here is the return of the 12th Man factor after 2020. But, the Seattle Seahawks also have some new additions, including the dangerous former Rams second-round draft selection, tight end Gerald Everett. Everett unites with former Rams pass game coordinator/tight ends coach Shane Waldron, now the new offensive coordinator in Seattle. As if this bi-annual showcase event needed any additional seasoning, both the Seattle Seahawks and Rams each drafted an explosive and speedy receiver. Even if you view Matthew Stafford as an upgrade over Jared Goff at the quarterback position, these two teams squaring off is always must-see TV.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 3)
As implied at the beginning of this article this should be an extremely competitive contest. But the Rams did defeat the Bucs in Week 11 of the 2020 season. Truth be told, as much credit as Tom Brady is getting while currently getting the better of Belichick since the break-up, he doesn’t win two Super Bowls against the Rams without the cunning of his former coach. This is because the Rams have been able to pressure Brady and make him get rid of the ball better than most other teams. This matchup in 2021 should not be an exception in this area though the Bucs are solid and did improve after 2020’s Week 11 loss.
5. San Francisco 49ers (Week 18)
Judging from the off-season, the NFC West, the toughest division in football will likely get even tougher. With that comes the strong possibility that the final game of the season might count for something. As mentioned above, this is the Rams and 49ers so don’t bet on a one-sided affair. This game figures to be less of a mystery than the first game in terms of what to expect but with a division title and playoff seeding possibly on the line, it deserves to be this high.
6. Baltimore Ravens (Week 17)
Until the Rams show improvement at the linebacker position, mega-mobile studs like Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson will continue to be the wrench in their machine. Jackson’s team also has a legitimate chance to be more explosive in 2021. While Mark Ingram III was waived in the off-season, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has openly expressed his desire to be the man to land the receiver that takes them to the next level. The Ravens then signed receiver Sammy Watkins and drafted two receivers in the first four rounds of the NFL draft. This could prove to be difficult for the Rams secondary since it is still inexperienced after letting veterans like Troy Hill and the sure-tackling John Johnson III walk.
7. Green Bay Packers (Week 12)
Like with the Bucs, some may question this placement. However, this might be the perfect spot to hedge a bit, all things considered. Will Aaron Rodgers still be playing for the Green Bay Packers come September? How come fans aren’t hearing how good the back-up quarterback is, at this point?
There’s no denying that the Green Bay Packers man-handled the Rams in the 2020 playoff championship game, but the questions surrounding Rodgers make this a difficult game to predict right now.
8. Seattle Seahawks (Week 15)
The degree of difficulty here in the eighth spot simply does not fall considerably farther than when these two teams met above. This division rivalry, like the Rams and 49ers, will always be super competitive. Therefore, it is almost a certainty that the NFC West will not be decided by or before Week 15. If this second matchup of the season follows the pattern of the two previous seasons, it figures to be more of a defensive battle than game one. Still, with the offensive firepower both teams have in 2021, the smart money will likely play out to favor the over.
9. Arizona Cardinals (Week 14)
It is awfully difficult to view former Cincinnati Bengals superstar receiver A.J. Green as a number two wideout at first glance. He’ll start the 2021 season at age 33 but he will play opposite DeAndre Hopkins which will help. The Arizona Cardinals started the off-season by having 28 free agents and they obviously couldn’t keep all of them. Losing Patrick Peterson was huge but if J.J. Watt can stay healthy most if not all of the season to compliment Chandler Jones it would certainly help. Quarterback Kyler Murray may very well take another step forward with his new offensive weaponry but in this difficult division, the Cardinals may not have done enough. And yet, they’re the home team this week on Monday Night Football where anything can happen.
10. Tennessee Titans (Week 9)
Although this may signal the end of the most difficult games of the season, the Tennessee Titans are by no means a pushover. They’ve bolstered their pass rush with the signing of former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree and disruptive interior lineman Denico Autry from the Colts. They have a new 6’3″ receiver as well in Josh Reynolds (formerly with the Rams) and he is currently penciled in as a starter opposite pro bowler A.J. Brown. The Rams have the decided advantage this week, however. They’ll bring up the rear of Tennessee’s most difficult stretch of games (Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Colts, Rams). Plus it’s unclear as yet if the Titans managed to sign as much talent as they let walk.
11. Arizona Cardinals (Week 4)
This could be the healthier of the two divisional matchups facing the Arizona Cardinals. This works in the Cardinals favor, all things considered. The Rams will be facing two super star receivers with a younger and less experienced secondary. This Week 4 division square-off will have several new wrinkles, some of which are unknown as of yet. One constant is likely to remain, however, will be the Rams ability to get pressure up front. This game may prove to be within the toughest part of their schedule. Nothing will be easy in this division. But the Rams are still likely to showcase more dangerous weapons on both sides of the ball.
12. at Minnesota Vikings (Week 16)
After being one of the worst pass defending teams in 2020, the Minnesota Vikings acquired former Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. They also attempted to solidify the offensive line. Still, it remains to be seen if they’ve done enough to hold off the complete closing of the window they had a chance to look through for most of the past few seasons. Last season was the worst of Kirk Cousins‘ stay in Minnesota. In 2021, they will hook up with the Rams during what may very well be the toughest part of their schedule. They are at home but in a dome and the Rams figure to be better built for the speed track of dome turf.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 13)
This has a chance to be one of the more anticipated games of the Los Angeles Rams 2021 season. Trevor Lawrence, should he remain healthy all season long, will likely improve as the season progresses. The Jacksonville Jaguars have talent, could gel as a team, and they could be dangerous down the stretch. This game could possibly end up deserving a higher spot but until the Jags show they have improved, they can’t be considered a true threat. It also helps that the Rams are the home team.
14. New York Giants (Week 6)
The Rams might play a large role in whether or not New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has a successful season. The Giants have certainly added weapons to the offense, but only time will tell if they and Jones can improve in 2021. The signing of Kenny Golladay and the drafting of a natural playmaking gadget player in Kadarius Toney adds intrigue. But the Rams should have adequate enough success putting pressure on Jones and win this game.
15. Chicago Bears (Week 1)
The game against the Chicago Bears will bring significant intrigue, mainly with Chicago’s quarterback situation. Their roster has enough talent to be competitive but their success may depend largely on how well they mesh in preseason. It shouldn’t go unnoticed that Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is probably more familiar with this opponent than most on the schedule. This won’t be a bad way to open the season for a new franchise quarterback.
16. Detroit Lions (Week 7)
Former Ram quarterback Jared Goff is not the worst quarterback in the league by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, the defense of the Rams should have quite the advantage. For the most part, they know every weakness he possesses. Goff, whose timing wasn’t always there last season with receivers he knew well, is now in a new environment. He could possibly still lack confidence. And now he doesn’t have Cooper Kupp as a dependable safety valve anymore. In addition, the Lions number one receiver is likely to be a second-year talent (D’Andre Swift) who will have earned a shiny new hip pocket attachment named Jalen Ramsey in this game.
17. Houston Texans (Week 8)
How a new franchise managed to not only become successful but all but own the state of Texas in just its first ten years is nothing short of amazing. But then the Houston Texans managed to become a complete dumpster fire.
This will easily be the closest thing to an extra bye week that the 2021 Rams have. Of course, we can only go by what’s in front of us at this time, but right now the Texans franchise appears to be an annoying smudge on Deshaun Watson‘s rear view mirror, which is the least of his problems. Meanwhile, the 2021 roster is not expected to be very good. The Rams should win handily.