AFC West, American Football Conference, Carson, football, L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, National Football Conference, National Football League, NFC West, NFL, pro football, SoCal Sports, Stub Hub Center, Super Bowl
OUR LOOK AT THE RAMS AND CHARGERS HALFWAY THROUGH THE 2018 SEASON AND WHAT I THINK IS IN STORE FOR SOCAL’S TWO NFL TEAMS
LOS ANGELES RAMS
Current Record: 8-0, first place in the NFC West – the NFL’s only unbeaten team
Last Game: Beat the Green Bay Packers, 29-27, at the Coliseum on October 28th
Next Game: at New Orleans Saints on November 4th
- Jared Goff, QB: 2,425 yards, 67.6% completions, 17 TD, 5 INT
- Todd Gurley II, RB: 800 yards rushing (leads NFL), 4.7 ypc, 11 TD / 31 receptions, 351 yards, 4 TD
- Robert Woods, WR: 46 receptions, 672 yards, 3 TD
- Brandin Cooks, WR: 52 receptions, 643 yards, 2 TD
- Cooper Kupp, WR: 42 receptions, 438 yards, 5 TD
- Cory Littleton, LB: 66 tackles, 5 TFL, 3 sacks
- Aaron Donald, DT: 29 tackles, 12 TFL, 10 sacks (leads NFL)
- Ndamukong Duh, NT: 22 tackles, 3 TFL, 3 sacks
- John Johnson, SS: 48 tackles, 3 INT
* Offense is ranked 2nd in the NFL in yards and 3rd in points scored
*BATTLE FOR L.A. – Rams beat Chargers at the Coliseum, 35-23, on September 23, 218
Rams Robert Woods (#17) and Todd Gurley II (#30) celebrating during a game earlier this year. Photo courtesy of latimes.com
A Few Thoughts:
Despite the loss to injury of some key members of the defensive secondary, notably Aqib Talib,
These Rams are sitting pretty as the National Football League’s lone undefeated team, with some tough, close, well-earned wins along the way in the form of beating the Packers and the Minnesota Vikings at the Coliseum earlier this year.
I’m sure Rams fans are saving their money and planning for a trip to see their team in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA next February 3rd, especially if they get Talib and other injured players back.
I mean, Gurley and Donald continue to be (arguably) the best offensive and defensive players in the NFL, having just won player of the month honors for their respective sides of the ball as they currently lead the league in yards (Gurley) and sacks (Donald).
I wouldn’t count the chickens before they are hatched, to coin a cliché.
I know I’m speaking only for myself, but I would rather see the Rams lose a couple of games around now and go on an upward trend toward season’s end, go into the playoffs on a high, rather than see them go 16-0 only to lose in the post season.
Like the New England Patriots did in Super Bowl XLII in 2008, going into that game with a perfect 18-0 record before the New York Giants annihilated that historic run.
Losing a game or two would take the pressure off the Rams to become the first NFL team to run the table since the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
Let those Dolphins keep that record and raise a toast when the last undefeated team loses, as they have done for decades.
As such, the Rams’ upcoming opponent, the Saints, will have an excellent chance to deal those Rams their first loss of 2018 with their 6-1 record and future Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees.
Particularly since that game is in the Superdome.
At 7-1 (the best record in the AFC), the Kansas City Chiefs’ chances of beating the Rams on November 19th are likewise very strong.
Yep, a 14-2 record going into the playoffs sounds about right.
Highlights from the “Battle For L.A” between the Rams and the Chargers at the Coliseum on September 23rd, the Rams winning, 35-23. Courtesy of YouTube (click on the link)
Now let’s chat about the goings on of the…
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Current Record: 5-2, second place in the AFC West
Last Game: Beat the Tennessee Titans, 20-19 in London, UK on October 21st
Next Game: at Seattle Seahawks on November 4th
- Phillip Rivers, QB: 2.008 yards, 69.1 % completions, 17 TD, 3 INT
- Melvin Gordon, RB: 466 rushing yards, 5.1 ypc, 6 TD / 30 receptions, 279 yards, 3 TD
- Austin Ekeler, RB: 305 rushing yards, 5.8 ypc / 19 receptions, 233 yards, 3 TD
- Kennan Allen, WR: 41 receptions, 506 yards, 1 TD
- Tyrell Williams, WR: 20 receptions, 428 yards, 4 TD
- Mike Williams, WR: 17 receptions, 308 yards, 4 TD
- Derwin James, S: 44 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 INT, 3.5 sacks
- Melvin Ingram, DE: 20 tackles, 5 TFL, 3.5 sacks
- Denzel Perryman, LB: 47 tackles
- Jahleel Addae, S: 35 tackles
Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers (#17) calling an audible to tight end Virgil Green (#88) during a game. Photo courtesy of abc7.com
A Few Thoughts:
These Chargers are clearly hitting their stride at they reach the midpoint of their schedule, being on a current four game winning streak.
Phillip Rivers continues to be the top veteran quarterback that he is, and though their names are not nearly as big as Donald’s and Gurley’s across town, guys like Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen and Denzel Perryman continue to come through for the Bolts.
It’s too bad that the Chargers’ status as the second pro team in Los Angeles was solidified by the Rams beating them in a pretty solid fashion at the Coliseum, 35-23, on September 23rd.
Until they beat the Rams in the regular season, those Chargers will continue to be known as the team that went from #1 in San Diego to not only #2 among NFL teams in L.A.,
Though they have a dedicated fan base, they will be consigned to somewhere in the middle of the list of eleven pro sports teams in Los Angeles as far as popularity and priority in SoCal sports fans’ hearts as a whole.
The stands often being dominated with players wearing jerseys that aren’t the Chargers’ navy blue (or powder blue) at StubHub Center in Carson is an illustration of the afterthought that they have become in L.A.
Beating the Rams back in September would have gotten them on the road to changing that mindset.
As for how I see those Chargers doing the rest of the season…
With nine games left, they have a good chance at ending up with eleven or twelve wins, which should render them playoff bound.
Their showdowns with the Chiefs on December 13th and with the Denver Broncos November 18th and December 30th will not only tell me a lot about those Bolts,
It will go a long way in sealing their 2018 fate.
All-In-All: It’s been a very good year for L.A’s two NFL teams as they are a combined 13-2.
They’re certainly doing better than their two collegiate counterparts, UCLA and USC being a combined 6-10 at the moment.
The way things are going, barring any unforeseen events I don’t see any reason why that situation won’t change.