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Top six games on Rams' 2021 schedule

Now that the Rams' 2021 schedule has been officially announced, ranks the top six games for Los Angeles this upcoming season:

1) Week 3 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sept. 26 (1:25 p.m. PT, FOX) – TICKETS | SUITES

Matthew Stafford vs. Tom Brady. The NFL's No. 1 defense in 2020 vs. the NFL's No. 6 defense. Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams vs. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown.

Biggest of all: The defending Super Bowl champions coming to SoFi Stadium fresh off of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on their home turf, a goal the Rams aim to accomplish this season.

It's a compelling early-season home contest with no shortage of storylines and fascinating matchups.

2) Week 1 vs. Bears, Sept. 12 (5:20 p.m. PT, NBC) – TICKETS | SUITES

Nothing like opening up the regular season and home schedule in primetime, which the Rams will do for the second-straight year. This time it's against the Bears, marking the first time since 2014 (Vikings) that the Rams will host an NFC North opponent for their season-opener.

Chicago owned the league's No. 11 total defense last season at 344.9 yards allowed per game and return most of the core that contributed to that success, including three-time First Team All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler and 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack.

Meanwhile, the Raheem Morris-led Rams defense will be preparing to face either Andy Dalton or this year's No. 11 overall pick Justin Fields at quarterback for the Bears.

3) Week 5 at Seahawks, Oct. 7 (5:20 p.m. PT, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon)

The Rams and Seahawks split their regular season series last year before the Rams won the rubber match, a 30-20 victory in Seattle in the wild card round of the playoffs.

This time around, the Seahawks have a new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron, the Rams' former pass game coordinator, and they also signed former Rams tight end Gerald Everett in free agency. It's going to be a solid early-season test for both clubs. Plus, if it's anything like the last time they met on Thursday Night Football in Seattle – a 2019 thriller in which the Rams narrowly lost 30-29 – it should also be one of the Rams' most entertaining games of the season.

4) Week 12 at Packers, Nov. 28 (1:25 p.m. PT, FOX)

Like the early-season test at Seattle, a post-bye week trip to Green Bay for a rematch of last year's divisional round playoff game will offer another measuring stick game for Los Angeles, especially its defense.

Reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers owned the league's highest-scoring offense (31.8 points per game) last season, while Rodgers' 48 touchdown passes led the league.

Ramsey matching up with Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, who led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 18 last season, will also be a fun battle to watch.

5) Week 10 at 49ers, Nov. 15 (5:15 p.m. PT, ESPN)

The Rams defense could be facing either Jimmy Garoppolo or No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance under center for the 49ers on Monday Night Football, but recent history says this should be a close contest regardless of who starts at quarterback for San Francisco. Each of the last three games between San Francisco and Los Angeles have been decided by eight points or less.

On the flip side, the Rams offense will square off against the No. 5 defense in the NFL last year (314.4 total yards allowed per game).

6) Week 7 vs. Lions, Oct. 24 (1:05 p.m. PT, FOX) – TICKETS | SUITES

Welcome back, Jared Goff and Michael Brockers. The former Rams quarterback and defensive lineman, respectively, return to Los Angeles as visitors to face the only NFL team they ever knew up until being traded to Detroit this offseason.

Moreover, the Lions will be bringing in a new coaching staff led by head coach Dan Campbell, formerly an assistant head coach and tight ends coach for the Saints (2016-20).

Honorable mention: Week 9 vs. Titans, Nov. 7 (5:20 p.m. PT, NBC) – TICKETS | SUITES

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Also known as the irresistible force paradox, we'll get the NFL version of it when we see reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald (unstoppable force) collide with reigning NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry (immovable object) when the Rams host the Titans on Sunday Night Football in Week 9.

The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry rushed for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2020, with a few viral stiff-arms as well. The 6-1, 280-pound Donald had his share of viral plays as well while producing 13.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery last year.

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