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Youth Movement in Full Swing For Rams

Life wasn’t exactly glitz and glamor in La La Land in 2016. Sure, the Rams came back home after more than two decades in St. Louis but that is about the only positive to take away for Los Angeles residents. The Rams went 4-12, Jared Goff looked downright awful, Todd Gurley looked anything but the All-Pro he was in his rookie campaign and Jeff Fisher was manning the sideline.

The biggest positive heading into the new season is Sean McVay, an offensive wunderkind who became the youngest head coach in NFL history and runs an offense that looks like it is part of the 21st century. McVay also brought in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips to fix a defense that has yet to become more than the sum of its parts.

The organization made several smart decisions by bringing Andrew Whitworth to fill in at left tackle and Sammy Watkins at receiver. The massive issue right now is Aaron Donald. The best defensive player in the NFL is a holdout and is looking to get paid heading into the final year of his rookie contract. If I’m the Rams, I pay Donald big because you can only imagine how amazing he will be now that he has an expert in Phillips calling the plays.

This team will likely go as far as Goff and Gurley will carry it but nobody has delusions about 2017. The Rams are still rebuilding and are just working toward developing their young talent more than winning right now.

So, without further ado, here is a look at the Rams futures heading into the new NFL season:

Super Bowl: +15,000

This isn’t happening. The Rams have intriguing pieces but basically every player on the team would need to make massive strides and McVay would need to basically become the greatest rookie head coach ever.

Hell, the Rams haven’t made the playoffs since 2004 and haven’t had a winning record since 2003. This team needs to set realistic goals and competing for a Super Bowl any time soon is not one of them.

NFC West: +1200

The last time the Rams won the NFC West was 2003. That roster featured Marc Bulger at quarterback, Torry Holt having the most prolific season of a stellar career and Leonard Little wreaking havoc on opposing QBs.

Now that we are done with the history lesson, if you try really hard you can make a case for the Rams to win the division. The team is loaded with potential on offense and the coaching staff has the talent to conceivably be one of the better ones in the NFL. But Goff has yet to prove that he can be even an average quarterback in the NFL – though that is largely the fault of Fisher’s horribly antiquated offensive system last season – and Gurley needs to see the field much better than he did in his sophomore campaign.

To put the final nail in this coffin, the NFC West is also home to the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, two franchises that are in a much better position to win now. If things work out well for the Rams, then they should be able to compete for the division title by the time they move to their new stadium (eventually).

Win Total: 5.5

There is absolutely no chance that the Rams are worse than last season. LA went 1-11 in its final 12 games last season and had the worst offense in football. McVay should be able to get this team out of the basement in that regard and Phillips will inherit a defense that was actually one of the better ones in the NFL.

The Rams will be much more competitive in 2017 but translating that to wins isn’t going to be easy with the schedule they have. Of the 13 teams on the Rams schedule this season, only three finished last year worse than 7-9. After last season and a completely revamped coaching staff, it’s hard to make predictions in terms of concrete wins for the Rams in 2017.  With this schedule, it appears the Rams are going to max out at six wins but it wouldn’t shock me if they ended up with fewer.

Jared Goff To Lead NFL In Interceptions: +650

I was going to reserve this section for doting on Aaron Donald but now that the Rams organization is managing to screw up one of the few bright spots on the roster, bettors should look elsewhere. However, if the Rams can get Donald back on the field before the regular season begins, I’ll be betting him to win the defensive player of the year award at +1400.

Instead, we are going to be telling you not to bet on Goff to lead the NFL in interceptions. Bettors might convince themselves there is value here but even in a dismal rookie campaign, Goff averaged just one interception per start. Assuming he kept up that pace and didn’t improve at all in his sophomore year, Goff would register 16 interceptions in 2017. Since the 2000 season, the leader in interceptions thrown has tossed at least 20 picks in 14 seasons.

Yes, Goff will likely be throwing more in 2017 than he did in 2016 but McVay’s offensive system will allow him more opportunities to make better throws. Goff is at his best when he is given time and can sling the ball up the field and McVay’s scheme will see receivers and tight ends run a lot of downfield routes to exploit coverages. Plus, the Rams have the players to, theoretically, run these routes without too much of an issue.

There is room on the Goff bandwagon but I would get on now.

2017 Los Angeles Rams Futures Odds
Super Bowl+15000
NFC Championship+7500
NFC West+1200
Win Total5.5

Odds as of August 21 at Bovada