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[Playoffs 2024] Los Angeles Rams: Sean McVay, genius finally understood?

Los Angeles Rams: 10 wins – 7 losses, 2nd NFC West, 6th in NFC

February 2022. The Rams won the Super Bowl, we almost forget it. It hasn't been forever though. The following disastrous season forced the Rams to part ways with certain players (Ramsey, Wagner, Robinson). In the offseason, the Rams decided to rely on the Draft to rebuild, hoping to bank on good picks for a surprise. And it works ! The Los Angeles Rams are back in the playoffs, and Sean McVay may still have plenty of tricks up his sleeve to beat the odds.

How did they get there?

End of April 2023. With an imposing payroll, the Los Angeles Rams decide to do a draft with a lot of exchanges, allowing them to have a few additional choices. This draft will allow us to bet on players who will have an important role after the rest week. A few months later, after a record of 3 wins for 6 losses, the team is no longer the same since the week off. The various poor performances of their competitors as well as better performances overall allowed Los Angeles to qualify a week before the end of the regular season.

These best performances bear the mark of these players bet on the Draft. In attack, we obviously think of the sensational rookie Puka Nacua, drafted in the 5th round (!), along with the runner Kyren Williams. The two players are now more than supporters of the Matthew Stafford – Cooper Kupp duo. On defense, the duo Kobie Turner – Byron Young, drafted in the 3rd round, recorded 17 sacks (9 for Turner, 8 for Young). The two players finally help relieve Aaron Donald, who is still as productive as ever on the defensive line. It just goes to show that with patience and a strategy that is light years away from that of recent years, the Los Angeles Rams were able to turn things around and finish like a cannonball.

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The key player: Cooper Kupp (WR)

November 2022. Cooper Kupp injures his ankle, and misses the ups and downs of the Rams' end of the season. At the start of the season, the receiver injured his hamstring again. The number 1 receiver was able to see the emergence of his young teammates (Nacua, Williams) during his absence. So the question is: have we seen the best of Cooper Kupp this season? Given the season, we might think not. Having become a real threat, rookie Puka Nacua will be monitored more. Enough to release the best receiver of the 2021 season?

The Stafford-Kupp connection is the key to the Los Angeles Rams' playoff success on offense. If the receiver is muzzled, like a Nacua, this could be complicated. On the other hand, if this connection is found like in the good times of the 2021 season, there is a good chance that the Rams will go far.
From a personal point of view, the receiver is having his worst statistical season since the 2018 season. He is probably keen to show up in the important moments.

Why are they going to go through with it?

March 2021. A month that Matthew Stafford has in mind. At that time, the quarterback left his longtime franchise, the Lions. Opposed to them during this first round, Matthew Stafford will show such determination that he will create a surprise. With confidence, the attack will do what is necessary while the front seven of the Lions played by Aaron Donald will march on opposing attacks. Moreover, only author of 8 sacks this season, the defensive tackle will remind opponents why he is considered that way.

Accustomed to the final stages, Akhello Witherspoon brings his experience to cover and Jordan Fuller recalls his great 2021 season. The young players are following suit and Derion Kendrick will show why the Rams drafted him last year. Riding the end of the regular season, a Rams with confidence is never a good bet. Especially if the key players manage to achieve what is needed at their respective positions.

Why won't they go?

Early November 2023. Without Matthew Stafford, the Rams produced their worst offensive performance of the season. The quarterback is tough as hell, but is already 35 years old. If the offensive line cannot contain the opposing attacks, the quarterback risks not being at 100% of his capabilities. Which could have consequences for Sean McVay's play calls. Same on the ground game side, if Kyren Williams is muzzled, it is difficult to see another player capable of carrying the ball so effectively.

On the other side of the field, mentioned above, the young Kobie Turner and Byron Young could be paralyzed by the stakes. Facing offensive lines that are not very efficient during the season (Seahawks, Cardinals, Browns, Giants, etc.), the level will rise during the playoffs. So, they may not be of much support to Aaron Donald. The defensive coverage was on AC at times during the season. The Witherspoon – Kendrick duo did not face any major attacks during the season. The only times they were really tested was against teams that performed well on offense (Cowboys, Ravens, 49ers) and qualified for the playoffs.

Injured players

Few key players injured. The only injured players are more complementary players or understudies. We can cite the quarterback Stetson Bennet, supposed to be Matthew Stafford's understudy. Joe Noteboom (OT) and Tyler Higbee (TE) have minor injuries. This should not prevent them from being in uniform for the match against the Lions. Injured during the last regular season game, Troy Reeder (LB) and Jordan Fuller (S) are doubtful for the first regular season game.

Prognosis

Against the Lions, the Los Angeles Rams can rely on their experience in big matches to get by. If they advance past this round, they should find themselves facing the 49ers due to their regular season spot. Even though they won their last regular season game, it was against a 49ers B team. Against the big team, it could be complicated, but a surprise remains possible. Sean McVay is used to high-stakes matches, and can change a match at any time. But his genius could be limited at this point in the playoffs.

In summary, winner in wild carddefeat in Divisional RoundEdit.

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