The stars are aligning for the Los Angeles Rams to have a stellar season in 2021, especially upon the acquisition of Matthew Stafford. Replacing Jared Goff with Stafford now gives Sean McVay the most talented quarterback he’s ever worked with in his time in the NFL. Sadly, a season-ending injury to Cam Akers has put somewhat of a damper on the offense.
Even with Akers sidelined, the Rams have an offense that is loaded with weapons like Darrell Henderson, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, DeSean Jackson, Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, and Tyler Higbee. On the defensive side of the ball, while Brandon Staley is no longer the defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris will have last year’s No. 1 defense to work with.
With the regular season steadily approaching, here are five bold predictions for the Rams entering the 2021 campaign.
5. Darrell Henderson Rushes For 1,200+ Yards
When Akers went down with an Achilles injury in training camp, some people lowered their expectations on the Rams. However, Henderson is more than a capable back that can help Los Angeles reach their potential in 2021. Some may say the trade for Sony Michel could limit Henderson’s production, but I don’t believe Michel is going to have a large role in the offense.
With a high-octane passing attack, Henderson will have plenty of running lanes this season. While Akers was expected to have a breakout season for the Rams, it will be Henderson who eclipses 1,200+ rushing yards, making him the first running back in Los Angeles to achieve those numbers since Todd Gurley did it in 2018.
4. DeSean Jackson Plays In All 17 Games
Staying healthy hasn’t been a strength for Jackson over the course of his career, especially in recent seasons. As an illustration, since the 2014 season, Jackson has missed a total of 39 games. We haven’t seen Jackson play an entire season since the 2013 campaign when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Even though he hasn’t been able to remain healthy in quite some time, the depth at wide receiver for the Rams could help him stay on the field. While he’ll be a vertical target for Stafford in the offense, Jackson will play in all 17 games in his debut season with Los Angeles.
3. Matthew Stafford Throws For 5,200+ Yards
With an added game to the schedule beginning in 2021, Stafford was quoted for saying that he expects a quarterback to throw for 6,000+ yards sometime soon. Even though 6,000+ yards is tough to expect from Stafford in his first season with the Rams, he can definitely reach 5,200+ yards. Stafford is one of eight quarterbacks in NFL history to eclipse 5,000+ passing yards in a single season.
The veteran signal-caller last threw for 5,000+ yards in 2011 with the Detroit Lions and he nearly did it again with 4,967 passing yards in 2012. Given the weapons he has, Stafford could easily have the best season of his career in 2021.
2. Los Angeles’ Defense Combines For The Most Sacks In The NFL
It goes without saying that Aaron Donald is still the most dominant force on the defensive side of the ball. The presence of Donald has helped the Rams finish as one of the top teams in sacks in recent years. Los Angeles did finish as the No. 1 ranked defense in terms of yards allowed and points allowed in 2020.
While the team doesn’t have many consistent options off of the edge, the Rams did have the second-most sacks last season. Since the 2017 season, Los Angeles has finished within the top five in sacks three times. After coming close in recent years, led by Donald and Leonard Floyd, the Rams will lead the NFL in sacks in 2021.
1. Rams Advance To The Super Bowl
Following a Super Bowl victory last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the favorites to repeat as NFC Champions — and deservedly so. As long as Tom Brady is under center in Tampa Bay, it’s hard not to see them as favorites in the NFC. Other teams expected to compete for the crown in the NFC are the Rams, the Green Bay Packers, the Seattle Seahawks, and the San Francisco 49ers.
With the arrival of Stafford, Los Angeles may have an edge over the other teams in the NFC. In McVay’s first four years, he’s made the playoffs three times, and he’s advanced to the Super Bowl once. After years of embarrassment due to what happened in the Super Bowl in 2018, McVay helps lead the Rams back to the Super Bowl in 2021.