2019 NFL Power Rankings:
No. 3 Los Angeles Rams
The Rams could give up 42 points each week, and I'd still have them ranked in the top three of my power rankings. I purchased a seat on the Sean McVay train about a year and a half ago, and I am very comfortable professing my love for Boy Wonder. If I were a general manager, I'd be interviewing whoever breathed his air as well. The dude's brilliant, he out-schemes opposing coaches each week and he relates to players in a way that few coaches can. It helps that McVay is close in age with the players he coaches. He understands the things they deal with outside of the game of football and how that affects peers. People respond to the leadership style and the differences in ideologies. Our government could take a page out of the Les Snead/Stan Kroenke book. It seems to be working in L.A.
Through the first five weeks of the 2019 season, the Rams' offense has been up to par, showing off the potency it's had since the McVay era commenced. They currently rank second in the NFL in passing yards (314.7), fifth in total offense (413.6) and have yet to scratch the surface of their potential. I know the weekly status of Todd Gurley's knee generates headlines, and his workload has decreased dramatically, but there's no reason to be alarmed. Loading him up on touches early in the season makes no sense in general. He's much more important later in the season when the weather gets colder and power football reigns supreme. What I do find somewhat problematic is the fact that rookie running back Darrell Henderson has only received one carry in the first five games. According to the hype, he was supposed to be the change-of-pace back to take the pressure off of Gurley. So far, he's been relegated to the bench in favor of Malcolm Brown. How this develops throughout the season should be interesting.
I've heard numerous discussions about there not being much of a difference between Dakota Prescott, Carson Wentz and Jared Goff. Now Goff is no Wentz, but he's much better than Dakota -- I don't really care that he's in a scheme that creates bigger throwing windows. The throws are on target. Yes, he gets rattled by pressure and has his fair share of ups and downs -- seven touchdowns and seven interceptions is nothing to brag about -- but I don't see him playing like this for the remainder of the year. The running game is bound to improve and therefore take the pressure off the passing attack. McVay will make adjustments. And the receiving core of Brandin Cooks (a speedster who you can count on for 1,000 yards each year), Cooper Kupp (fourth in the league in receiving yards) and Robert Woods (one of the game's premier complementary pass catchers) and athletic tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett are going to produce. If you're a fantasy owner, don't sell on Goff or any of his weapons for that matter.
When you score a lot of points, you're bound to give up just as many, if not more. Currently, the Rams rank sixth in points (29.2) and 25th in time of possession (28:49). On the flip side, they rank seventh in points allowed (26.8) and eight in opponents time of possession (31:11). The issue isn't necessarily the defense as a whole. The front seven is led by the best player in football in Aaron Donald and features two stud pass rushers in Clay Matthews, who’s currently out for the next month but was amid a career resurgence, and Dante Fowler Jr. The linebacking core isn't much to write home about, but the secondary is. You want overly confident assholes in your backend -- no pun intended -- and Marcus Peters and my favorite captain in football, Aqib Talib, are just that. The standard will be higher in the secondary, and its playmaking ability will end up making a massive difference in the season. Be patient. The defense will be aight.
Offensive Players to Watch: Jared Goff, Todd Gurley
Defensive Players to Watch: Bryce Hager, Corey Littleton
Verdict: Los Angeles plays in the best conference in football, but that shouldn't keep the Rams from securing a playoff spot. The 49ers will eventually tail off, as they're a year or two away from real success, but Russell Wilson poses a massive threat for the NFC West crown. Despite the hurdles, McVay and the boys will leap back to the NFC Championship Game this year. Book it. 11-5