(Photo Credit: Press Democrat)
By Nick Hamilton (@NickHamiltonLA)
LOS ANGELES — Experience could prove to be the best teacher for the Los Angeles Rams this post season, as they team finished with the number two seed in the NFC, and scored themselves a first round bye.
The Rams destroyed their NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers at the Los Angeles Coliseum 48-32 on Sunday. Not only did the Rams win their NFC West division, but are the only team undefeated in their division. The last time an NFC team swept their division was the Green Bay Packers in 2011. The last time an NFC West team swept their division was the Arizona Cardinals in 2008. The last time the Rams swept their division was in 1999 when the NFC West was made up of the Rams, Panthers, Falcons, 49ers and Saints.
The last time the Rams made the playoffs was 2004, finally adjusting back to So Cal life, new with a new attitude, Los Angeles is more prepared for this playoff run. Playing at home has favored the Rams this season,
With a 13-3 record, the next two weeks will provide opportunity for players such as RB Todd Gurley, safety Lamarcus Joyner and left tackle Andrew Whitworth to get healthy.
“I think we’re better positioned just based on getting the chance to get some rest now and maybe get ahead with the preparation,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “I’m not sure who it’s going to be that we play but obviously it’s going to give us a chance to get healthy No. 1 and you always use those experiences, whether it’s regular seasons, playoff games, to be able to try to get better and I think with some of our young players, specifically at the key spots, a lot of the games that we played not only this year but last year and even going back to the playoff atmosphere against Atlanta will serve us well and say ‘We’ve been in this type of setting.”
This team being a legit Super Bowl contender, has all of the right pieces and intel needed to make a successful run to Atlanta and appear in Super Bowl LIII.
Jared Goff set some impressive records this season, including becoming the fourth quarterback in franchise history to throw 30 touchdowns in a single season. The last Rams quarterback to reach the 30 touchdown mark was Kurt Warner in 2001.
However, the struggles of the offense getting in the end zone, will have be tightened up, especially since Goff lost his favorite target Cooper Kupp to a season ending injury. Both Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are coming off of 1,000 yard seasons, something that hasn’t happened since Tory Holt and Issac Bruce accomplished that in 2001.
Defensively the Rams signed two outstanding corners in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib who have post season experience. Aaron Donald coming off his best season to date will be a key factor along with Michael Brockers, Ndamukong Suh, and Cory Littleton.
The confidence is high, the experience is there, now they await the winner of the Seattle Seahawks/ Dallas Cowboys match up on Jan. 12, and execute their game plan and begin their journey towards the Lambardi.