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Author: Subject: The Los Angeles Rams seemed to come out of nowhere last
panxing18
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posted on 5-9-2019 at 07:18 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
The Los Angeles Rams seemed to come out of nowhere last

season to win their first NFC West championship in 14 years.When the Rams clinched their second straight division title Sunday Joseph Noteboom Jersey , everybody in the NFL had seen it coming all year long.The league-leading Rams (11-1) haven't surprised anybody this season, not after their remarkable 2017 transformation under rookie head coach Sean McVay.They're still the division champs again, this time with four games to spare and plenty of opportunities to climb even higher before the postseason.The Rams became the first team to clinch a postseason berth by beating the Lions 30-16 last weekend, guaranteeing themselves at least one home playoff game. This franchise hadn't won back-to-back NFC West championships since 1979, when the Rams completed a run of seven straight."It's a blessing," McVay said Monday after returning from Detroit with a raging winter cold. "You don't take anything for granted. It's nice to be able to still have an opportunity to accomplish some things as you continue to progress through this season, but it still feels great either way to be able to accomplish something special with people that you care about and that you love."The Rams put on celebratory hats at Ford Field, but the muted party was mostly forgotten Monday when they got home.According to left tackle Andrew Whitworth, the Rams have greater expectations after they built on last season's 11-5 record with an even more impressive campaign this fall."With all of us coming together for the first time (last year), it felt like you responded and rose to the occasion and achieved something," Whitworth said. "I think this year, it feels like we expected to be a good football team. We expected to have an opportunity to win this division again Jack Youngblood Jersey , and we went out and did it. So I think you more see it as a checklist item. ... You're happy you won it, but it's not the end goal, and it's not really something we didn't think or expect that we could do."Two straight division titles still are a notable achievement in the up-and-down history of the Rams, who have won only one NFL championship since 1951.Los Angeles' string of solid playoff teams in the 1980s won just one division title. The Greatest Show on Turf and its descendants in St. Louis won three division titles in five years, but never two in a row.The Rams had missed the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons before McVay and Wade Phillips led them back last year, only to lose an opening-round home game to Atlanta.The Rams are playoff-bound again, but they still have plenty to do in December 鈥?starting with the chance to clinch a first-round bye during their trip to Chicago on Sunday night.A win over the Bears (8-4), who have the NFC's third-best record behind LA and New Orleans (10-2), would guarantee an extra week of rest for the Rams in January.The Rams also control their destiny for home-field advantage in a potential NFC championship game with the Saints, but that race could go deep into December."It's a big deal," McVay said. "To be able to earn the opportunity in your 13th game of the season to be able to, at the worst Torry Holt Jersey , clinch a No. 2 seed, it would mean that you'll be able to watch that first week of the wild card round (at home). It's a huge deal to us, so that's certainly going to be a great challenge. That's the next step."NOTES: Backup running back Malcolm Brown injured his collarbone in Detroit, and he was expected to have "a procedure that's not necessarily a surgery" on Monday, McVay said without elaborating. The Rams didn't know the severity of the injury. ... McVay confirmed he spoke with former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury about potentially being "an extra set of eyes" for the Rams down the stretch. The offense-minded coaches are good friends, and Kingsbury spent time with the Rams during the summer. "He's got a lot of opportunities that he's figuring out now, so there's really no news on that front," McVay said. ... McVay hopes to kick his cold in time for the Rams' trip to wintry Chicago. "Even if I'm not healthy, that's not going to hold me back," McVay said. "I'm not out there playing, so as long as my brain isn't too slow, then I'm going to do the best I can to get as healthy as possible and ready to go for these guys." Ladies and gentlemen Orlando Pace Jersey , the stage has been set. The NFC Championship game is nearing, and the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints will duel for a third time this season because of it. The first was a week four preseason meeting where the Saints thrashed the Rams 28-0, and the second a week nine meeting where the Saints escaped a narrow victory of 45-35.So.... third times the charm, right?Maybe.Let’s take a look at the Saints and what the numbers say.Taking a look at the statistics, the Saints are third in points per game (30.8), they’re 4th in converting redzone opportunities into touchdowns (70.42%), 7th in yards per game (381.6), and 7th in yards per play (6.0). They’re 8th in third down conversions per game (5.3), 3rd in average time of possession (31:48), and 5th in third down conversion percentage (45.2%).It’s pretty evident their offense is really good, pretty much by every standard. They score a lot of points, they’re efficient Deacon Jones Jersey , they convert third downs and extend drives, they hold the ball for long periods of time, and they can move the ball by running it or passing it. The two key players on offense are WR Michael Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara. Thomas was unstoppable in the first matchup against the Rams as he received 15 targets, converting 12 of them for receptions for 211 yards and one touchdown. Kamara proved to be a thorn of the same magnitude as he totaled 110 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas’ ability to catch the ball is unprecedented as he had an 85% catch rate this year on 125 receptions (147 targets). Kamara is one of the most dangerous dual-threat weapons in the league as he can run the ball at a high level and doubles down as a receiver out of the backfield, particularly proving to be a problem on his noteworthy “option” routes.The Saints defense ranks 12th in points per game (21.6), 11th in yards per game (343.2), 18th in yards per play (5.7), 25th in red zone touchdown scoring percentage (64.00%), 15th in third down conversions per game (4.7), 6th in sacks (2.9), and 13th in takeaways per game (1.5).The defense is about average to above average. Obviously the most important factor is points allowed and they’re 12th in that regard, but they are definitely susceptible. Also Eric Dickerson Jersey , just last week DT Sheldon Rankins tore his Achilles and will miss the rest of the season. That proves to be a major loss as Rankins is one of their best defenders as he had eight sacks, 12 tackles-for-loss, and 15 QB hits this year. Rankins will prove to be a major loss to that defensive line both as a pass rusher and run stuffer.The first matchup between the Rams and Saints was interesting to say the least. The Saints offense was unstoppable as they scored 35 in the half, though the Rams didn’t do so bad themselves with 17 points of their own. The second half proved to be the Rams’ half as they battled back and tied the game up at 35 with seven or so minutes left in the game, though things went awry after that. The game could (and should) have had a different outcome because of the blunder from the referee’s spotting the ball short on a clear conversion from P Johnny Hekker on fourth down. Not only that, but K Greg Zuerlein missed a 51-yard field goal which is generally automatic for him (insane to think a 51-yarder is automatic for anyone).It’s time for the Rams to capitalize, because you never know how long it’ll take to get back to this point. With their recent offensive innovation, the Saints’ defense could very well be caught off-guard allowing the Rams to ensure plenty of points on the scoreboard. This game will likely once again be a relatively high scoring affair, though I wouldn’t expect another 45-35 shootout. I would not be surprised at all if both teams hovered around the 30-point mark, however.It’s officially gumbo week, the countdown begins.
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