The Rams concluded the preseason last week in Houston and have begun preparations for their regular season opener at the Carolina Panthers, seeking their third-straight Week 1 victory under head coach Sean McVay.
With 9 of 11 offensive starters returning from last year’s Super Bowl squad and the addition of veterans Eric Weddle and Clay Matthews on defense, Los Angeles is highly regarded in 2019.
Every week, TheRams.com will be taking an aggregate look at where the team ranks in different outlets across the sports media landscape. Here are the power rankings for the Rams heading into the regular season opener:
Last Week: 2
“It's been a quiet summer for the defending NFC champions, helped in part by Sean McVay's now-annual tradition of punting on the preseason for his regulars. I imagine this lower profile is something the Rams are fine with. Third-year wideout Cooper Kupp is one of those regulars who has yet to see live action -- more than understandable in his case, as he works his way back from reconstructive knee surgery. The Rams' offense was never quite the same after the slot receiver went down last November, so put him on the short list -- a list that includes teammate Todd Gurley-- of players we'll look forward to seeing come Week 1. The Athletic's Jay Glazer wrote last month that "all [Kupp's] test scores, coming out of his breaks, agility, quickness, every test timed better than it was before he tore his ACL." That seems promising.”
Last Week: -
Gurley rushed for more than 1,200 yards in back-to-back seasons, and last season scored a league-high 21 touchdowns -- even as he nursed a sore knee that sidelined him in Weeks 16 and 17. The Rams took a conservative approach with Gurley throughout training camp, limiting him to an every-other-day practice schedule. It remains to be seen if the star back can return to form, or if he could be forever slowed because of his knee.
Last Week: 2
“Todd Gurley has gotten all the attention and rightfully so, but don’t forget that the Rams’ offense took a step back after Cooper Kupp tore his ACL. Reports on Kupp have been positive, but it’s hard to know for sure until we see him in meaningful game action.”
Last Week: 3
“The health of Los Angeles Rams tailback Todd Gurley's arthritic knee has been the dominant storyline swirling around the defending NFC champions this summer, but it's not the only potential problem facing the team.
“Gurley wasn't solely (or even mostly) responsible for the Rams laying an egg in Super Bowl LIII. After spending most of the season as one of the most prolific offenses in the league, Gurley, Jared Goff and the Rams managed just three points against the New England Patriots.
If head coach Sean McVay has any concerns about that offense, he didn't show it in the preseason. In fact, McVay didn’t show much of anything in the preseason—most of the Rams starters didn't play at all.
“We've seen several teams in recent years take a step backward after coming up short in the Super Bowl. But the Rams have the talent on both offense and defense to make a return trip to football's biggest game this season.”
Last Week: 11
“Still waiting to learn if we'll see the old Todd Gurley in Week 1 or an old Todd Gurley. Answer likely holds key to NFC champs' prospects.”
Last Week: 4
“The Rams are still among the NFL’s best, but has the rest of the league caught up with them yet? We’ll find out soon enough.”
CBS Sports: 3
Last Week: -
“Don't let the Super Bowl fool you. This is still a talented team and they will learn from that loss. The offense will be explosive again.”
Last Week: -
“The luster of reaching the Super Bowl was dimmed by the offensive performance in the loss to the Patriots (not to mention tarnished by the fact that the Saints, not the Rams, should have been playing, if not for the officiating debacle in the NFC championship game). Sean McVay’s next coaching trick will have to be getting the Rams to bounce back. That will be considerably easier if RB Todd Gurley’s knee is sound.”
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT'S RANKS — THE CAROLINA PANTHERS
NFL.com — 18
ESPN.com — 15
Yahoo! Sports — 15
Bleacher Report — 13
USA Today — 18
Sports Illustrated — 16
CBS Sports — 18
The Washington Post — 23