The NFL's Greatest Show
The schedule reflects internal and external expectations for the season ahead. And once again in 2019, the Rams have maxed out their primetime assignments with three Sunday Night Football appearances, plus a Thursday and a Monday game. There are three additional kickoffs (vs. Saints, at Steelers, at Cowboys) in which the Rams figure to be the national game of the week. Translation: the league and its television partners expect Los Angeles to play and rate well.
No Division Games in September
If the Rams are to three-peat as NFC West champions, they likely won't be accomplishing that goal as early as Week 13, when they clinched in 2018. With no conference games in the first month but four in the month of December, the league ensured that the division crown — and the home playoff game that comes with it — will be at stake down the stretch. It's the first time the Rams do not have an NFC West opponent on the September schedule since 2014.
No Three-Game Road Trips
Even though the Rams successfully navigated their three-game road sequence last year with wins at the Broncos, Seahawks, and 49ers, this is one of the biggest scheduling hurdles teams hope to avoid. The only true road back-to-back of 2019 will come in December in Dallas and San Francisco. However, Rams fans will rightly point to the mid-season sequence at Atlanta, at London, bye, at Pittsburgh as the major travel gauntlet.
No USC Back-to-Backs
In the final year at the Coliseum, the newly-renovated facility will not have to host USC and the Rams on consecutive days. This is a major win, primarily for the hard-working men and women who have had to pull all-nighters to make those transitions in the past. But it's also a win for the playing surface, which takes a beating on two-game weekends, and quite frankly looks so much better when college markers and Trojans colors aren't seeping through the NFL setup. The historic stadium should look fantastic this season, in person, and on television.
No Bad Weather?
Cleveland in September. Seattle the first weekend of October. Really the only "risk" of foul weather would be in Pittsburgh in November, where the average high on November 10 is 55 degrees.
Longest Gap Between Home Games: 10/13 – 11/17
As Rams fans have contended with throughout this four-year transitional period, once again there will be a month-long hiatus between home games. From Oct. 13 versus San Francisco until Nov. 17 versus Chicago in prime time, no Rams football in Los Angeles. As West Coast International Series participants who strategically want to launch from the East to London, there's virtually no way to avoid this. Among the many things to look forward to in 2020 will be no droughts between Inglewood appearances.
Check out photos of the Los Angeles Rams players back in action for the offseason program.
Two Early East Coast Kicks
Another bane of West Coast existence is playing in the early window in the eastern time zone. The Rams will have to do that twice in 2019, but even those trips are relatively well-situated. The opener in Carolina? You'd like to think everyone will be wide awake for Week 1 no matter the kickoff time. And then in Week 7 at Atlanta, it's hard to balk at the kickoff time when you're the team requesting an East Coast destination to align with London in Week 8.
No Scheme Surprises
The schedule isn't overly-saturated with new head coaches or coordinators, but the Rams will have plenty of film on those opponents who are making schematic changes. Most notably, the Rams don't see division opponent Arizona — with Kliff Kingsbury and potentially Kyler Murray — until December. New Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens will be two games into his tenure by the time the Rams land in Cleveland for Week 3, and he was operating the offense in the second half of 2018, anyway. Veteran coach Bruce Arians is a known commodity and brings his Bucs to Los Angeles in Week 4. The Zac Taylor Bowl will be contested in London in Week 8.