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Can Stafford, Rams Return to Playoffs in 2024?

The Los Angeles Rams, despite a Wild Card loss, surged with momentum in the latter half of the 2023 season, winning seven of their last eight games and concluding with a 10-7 record. This promising performance, coupled with their Super Bowl victory just three seasons ago, sets the stage for an exciting 2024 NFL season. Can the Rams reclaim their spot on the grandest stage?

The Rams’ offense, spearheaded by the dynamic Matthew Stafford, blazed a trail in the second half of the season. Their offensive DVOA ranking, second only to the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers, is a testament to their firepower. With a roster boasting the likes of Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams, the Rams are a force to be reckoned with.

Can Stafford, Rams Return to Playoffs in 2024?
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams/Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP


Los Angeles enters the 2024 season as one of the teams in the middle of Super Bowl odds. The Rams are currently priced (+3000) at the sportsbook to win Super Bowl 59, which positions them with the ninth-highest odds and behind six other NFC teams.

The sportsbook isn’t sold on the Rams being a playoff team again in 2024, with odds of (+110) to reach the playoffs. The Rams face a formidable challenge with the 12th-most difficult schedule in 2024, based on records from the previous year.

The Rams command attention under the guidance of one of the NFL’s best head coaches, Sean McVay, and with a star-studded offensive lineup. However, the team’s fate hinges on its young defensive core. This intriguing aspect of the Rams’ composition adds a layer of anticipation and uncertainty to their 2024 season.

 

 

Stafford, Rams Get Early Shot at Revenge

The Rams’ 2023 season ended in Detroit, and they don’t wait long for their shot at revenge. The Rams will open the season on Sunday Night Football in the Motor City and are currently priced as 3½-point underdogs in Week 1.

Stafford led the Rams into Detroit for their Wild Card clash, where he played from 2009-2020 and was drafted with the first overall pick. The Lions traded Stafford to the Rams and received Jared Goff in return before the 2021 season. Since then, both quarterbacks have had tremendous runs with their new teams, and they will meet again against the former squads that drafted them.

Despite the postseason loss, Los Angeles had Detroit on the ropes but ultimately lost 24-23. Ford Field should be electric with the anticipation for this Week 1 matchup.

Following their difficult, high-profile prime-time clash in Week 1, the Rams will stay on the road and head to the desert to battle the Cardinals. If the Rams fail to upset Detroit in Week 1, they will likely get in the win column against a young Cardinals squad.

 

 

 

Rams Face Another Early Test in Home Opener

The Rams’ home opener is in Week 3 when they host the 49ers. San Francisco had defeated the Rams in nine consecutive regular-season meetings before their matchup in Week 18 last season, when both teams rested their starters.

In Week 4, the Rams hit the road for the third time in four weeks to start the season. They will take on the Chicago Bears and No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams. Chicago should be significantly improved in 2024, but with a rookie quarterback at the helm, there’s uncertainty about how much.

Unfortunately for the Rams, they don’t get much relief yet in Week 5. They return home and host the Green Bay Packers. This will mark the fifth consecutive season the Rams and Packers meet, with the Cheese Heads taking all four – albeit each at Lambeau Field, including a playoff game in the 2020-2021 season. This game will be crucial for the Rams to enter their bye week with positivity and momentum.

 

Pillow Fights After an Early Bye

The early bye week isn’t ideal, but if the Rams stumble out of the gates with half of their games against playoff teams, the bye allows them to regroup and adjust for the rest of the season.

The Rams come out of their bye with a soft matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders at home. The Raiders could end up as the worst team in the NFL in 2024.

Their second prime-time game of the season comes with a quick turnaround when they host the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football. By Week 8, we should have more answers regarding Vikings rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy. The Rams should be able to capitalize on the soft back-to-back matchups out of their bye.

 

Make-or-Break Time

Following the pair of winnable games at home, Los Angeles hits the road to play an NFC West opponent. A date with the Seahawks should tell us much about this team for the rest of the season. The Rams will have 10 days to plan for Mike Macdonald and Seattle. McVay has a strong track record against the Seahawks, and it will be interesting to see how they fare against the new head coach.

In Week 10, the Miami Dolphins and their high-powered offense come to town. This matchup will be the Rams’ lone Monday Night Football game of the season and could be an electric showdown between two prolific offenses. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel comes from the Shanahan coaching tree, and the familiarity with Kyle Shanahan’s success against McVay will be on display. This will be the first home game on Monday Night Football in SoFi Stadium for the Rams in front of their fans.

Their next game looks like an easy win on paper, but I’m not convinced it’s such a sure thing. After the Rams play on Monday night, they will travel to the East Coast to play the Patriots at 1 p.m. ET. Despite Bill Belichick’s departure this offseason, I expect New England to continue to be a hard-nosed team. With Jerod Mayo at the helm, this game has sneaky potential to be close. The Rams must take two of these three games for a chance at a playoff berth.

 

Thanksgiving to Christmas is Brutal

The schedule gets significantly difficult from Thanksgiving to Christmas. The Rams will play five games over this stretch against teams with playoff hopes and who are realistic Super Bowl contenders.

This brutal stretch of games begins in Week 12. The Rams return home and will play the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Philadelphia is a top contender in 2024. I expect the Rams to drop this one. The difficult stretch continues the following game when they play in New Orleans. The Saints will be coming off a bye and have a rest advantage in this one. LA went 1-3 last season with a rest disadvantage.

When you look at the Rams next three games, your mind immediately thinks: Oh boy! After playing the Saints on the road, they return home to host the Buffalo Bills and perennial MVP candidate Josh Allen in Week 14.

If you thought a matchup with the Bills was difficult, their next game comes on the road against the 49ers, on a short week playing on Thursday Night Football! If the Rams don’t defeat San Fran in their Week 3 meeting at home, we can expect another season sweep of LA for Brock Purdy and the boys in Santa Clara.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get more challenging, the Rams head back across the country to MetLife for a date with Aaron Rodgers and the Jets. By Week 16, Gang Green could either be set for lift-off and a playoff push or have crash-landed. I expect lift-off!

The difficult stretch mercifully ends in the final two weeks of the season. If the Rams somehow remain afloat, their playoff hopes will likely be decided in Week 17 against the Cardinals and Week 18 against the Seahawks. Fortunately, those matchups both come at home to close the season.

 

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Rams’ 2024 Season Prediction

The Rams surprised many people by reaching the playoffs the previous season. However, the roster is missing one of the greatest defensive players to ever step on the field: Aaron Donald. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time first-team All-Pro announced his retirement this offseason and is irreplaceable. His absence leaves a significant hole in the Rams defense.


They also lost defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, who departed to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Chris Shula was promoted to defensive coordinator, but this will be his first season in this role. Shula comes from a long line of successful coaches, being the grandson of Hall of Famer Don Shula and the son of Dave Shula. Still, we should expect a learning curve for the 38-year-old coach.


The Rams will face six playoff teams from the prior season (Eagles, Packers, Lions, 49ers, Bills, Dolphins), and all appear headed to the playoffs again as we enter 2024. A silver lining is that only two matchups will come on the road (Lions Week 1, 49ers Week 15).

The Rams will play two Thursday night games after their bye week. These are typically difficult on a short week. Still, interestingly, the first one comes against a weaker opponent in Minnesota, and the second is a tough spot on the road against San Francisco.

For a team on the West Coast, the Rams have multiple stretches with minimal travel. Following a trip to Chicago at the end of September, the Rams stay home for four consecutive weeks, followed by a trip to Seattle, then back home for their Monday Night Football clash with Miami. That’s six weeks spent on the West Coast.

In the second half of the season, they only leave California twice over the final seven weeks. The Rams will be a borderline playoff team, playing for a Wild Card spot around the nine- or 10-win mark. Expectations for a deep playoff run should be tempered as the 49ers, Eagles, Lions and Cowboys are standing in their way in the NFC.

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Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.

 

Questions Of The Day

When is the Rams bye week in 2024?


The Rams’ bye week comes early in Week 6, the second earliest week possible for a bye. After the bye, the Rams will play 13 straight weeks without a break.

 

 

Odds and information are accurate at the time of writing. Please check with official sources for the latest updates before placing any bets.

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