Is Los Angeles the New Super Bowl Favorite?
After acquiring Von Miller, it may be championship or bust for the Rams
The Los Angeles Rams sit with a record of 7–1 after handling the Houston Texans 38–22 this past Sunday. It was business as usual for LA, as quarterback Matthew Stafford went over 300 passing yards, while receiver Cooper Kupp finished with 115 yards. The Rams have been a force this season, and are well in the discussion of being the Super Bowl favorite.
They aren’t content with just being in the conversation though. Los Angeles decided they were going to make themselves the favorite.
On Monday, the Rams traded for star pass-rusher Von Miller. LA sent Denver a second and third-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft in exchange for the Super Bowl 50 MVP.
The acquisition of Miller makes an already dominant Rams defense that much better. Before the deal, LA was allowing the tenth-fewest points per game, while also having the most sacks as a team this season (25).
Now Miller isn’t necessarily in his prime, but he still has plenty left in the tank. In seven games this year, he has totaled 4.5 sacks. The former Bronco is still on pace for yet another double-digit sack season. Now add that to a unit with the best cornerback in the league (Jalen Ramsey), and perhaps the best overall defensive player in the league (Aaron Donald), and you have a serious problem for opposing offenses.
Who will teams double? You have to place all your attention on Donald, but are you really going to try and block Miller with one guy? If teams do try and double both, that leaves Leonard Floyd one on one. Now on paper that sounds like the best option. However, Floyd currently has the ninth-most sacks in the league (6.5). Simply put, there’s not an easy answer for facing the Rams defense.
The headaches scheming for Los Angeles hardly stops there as well. The Rams pair a dominant defense with perhaps an even more explosive offense. After you get over the fact you have to deal with Donald, Ramsey, and Miller, you realize you have to figure out a way to defend Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp on the other side of the ball.
That duo has been special this season. Stafford is currently one of the MVP favorites, as he ranks second in passing yardage (2,477) and passing touchdowns (22), while throwing just four interceptions. Kupp on the other hand leads the league in receiving yards (924) and receiving touchdowns (10), while ranking second in receptions (63).
The Rams aren’t all air raid either (which is dangerous considering they rank so high in almost every passing statistic). They can also pound the rock with the best of them. Running back Darrell Henderson Jr. has the seventh-most rushing yards (507), and the fifth-most rushing touchdowns (5) in the NFL. This balanced attack has landed LA’s offense in the top five for total yards per game (fifth-most), and points per game (fifth-most).
So where does this put the Rams in terms of title contenders?
I think you’d be fooling yourself if you didn’t have LA at number one. They don’t have any glaring weaknesses. Equipped with a dominant and balanced offense, a defense filled with stars, an offensive line that’s going to protect the QB (ranked the fourth-best unit by Pro Football Focus following week seven), and a head coach with Super Bowl experience, the Rams have all the makings of a championship team. If they weren’t already all in after trading for Matthew Stafford, they certainly are now after acquiring Von Miller. Let the Super Bowl journey begin.