The 2018 NFL Season is still a few months from its official kickoff date, but the opponents for all 32 clubs have already been set.
Aside from their divisional opponents, the Rams will face teams from the NFC North and AFC West. Plus, Los Angeles will take on the reigning division champions from the NFC East and NFC South.
In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, theRams.com will be taking an early look at each of club's opponents for next season.
THE OAKLAND RAIDERS
LOCATION:The Rams will be on the road in 2018, travelling to the Oakland Coliseum to face the Raiders.
HEAD COACH: Jon Gruden was officially hired as the Raiders new head coach in Jan. 2018. This season will be Gruden's fifth as a head coach in Oakland, as he previously worked for the franchise between 1998-2001. Before returning to coaching this season, Gruden served as an analyst for ESPN and Monday Night Football for the past 10 years.
In his first stint, Gruden led Oakland to a 38-26 overall record, with two postseason appearances, before winning Super Bowl XXXVII as the Buccaneers' head coach.
MATCHUP HISTORY:The teams have met 13 times in series history. Oakland has the all-time lead with an 8-5 record, but L.A. holds the most recent victory — with a dominant 52-0 shutout performance in 2014.
2017 RECORD: The Raiders finished 2017 at 6-10 for a third place finish in the AFC West.
Check out photos from the Rams' Week 2 preseason game against the Raiders in Oakland.
WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT?**
Oakland added a number of playmakers on both sides of the ball through free agency. On defense, the Raiders addressed a big need in their secondary by signing cornerback Rashaan Melvin and safety Marcus Gilchrist. Both are expected to complement established players in the unit, as well as any that could come from this year's NFL Draft.
But the most talked-about addition to the Raiders' roster came on offense, with the signing of wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Nelson played the past 10 years for the Packers, but will now likely assume the role of a possession receiver for quarterback Derek Carr. The former Super Bowl champion has recorded three seasons with at least 1,250 receiving yards and at least 13 touchdown catches — the most of any active player.
WHAT ABOUT THE DRAFT?
After losing a coin flip to the 49ers at this year's Combine, the Raiders will select 10th overall in April's Draft. Although Gruden is considered an offensive-minded coach, the franchise is expected to go defense-first in the first round — with the emphasis on bringing in a young player to build around.
Many mock drafts have Oakland's first pick as a linebacker with Roquan Smith (Georgia) and Tremaine Edmunds (Virginia Tech) as the top choices. Should the club look to its needs on the secondary first, cornerback Derwin James (Florida State) and Denzel Ward (Ohio State) will be high on the list if available at No. 10.
LOOK OUT FOR:
The matchup between student and teacher. Rams head coach Sean McVay received his first NFL coaching position in 2008 with Gruden's Buccaneers. Throughout his success last season in Los Angeles, McVay has been quick to credit the knowledge he gained from Gruden and his brother Jay throughout his career.