As the sports world continues into uncharted territory along with the rest of the planet, the NFL offseason chugs ahead, so far mostly unaffected. Between the new collective bargaining agreement and a swarm of free agency moves, the NFL actually is the only thing from a sports perspective that is helping many of us keep our sanity, and it’s only March.
That said, the league starting on time and training camps not being affected are still a complete crapshoot, but odds are posted and value is still to be had.
In today’s piece, let’s take a look at the best value bet in the NFC for a team to make the playoffs. All odds are courtesy of our friends over at FOX Bet.
Los Angeles Rams (-120)
After starting off the season 3-0 last year, the Rams looked on the path to avoiding a Super Bowl hangover and turn in a strong season a year removed from losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. Even after losing five of their next eight, the Rams had a shot at the postseason with three weeks remaining.
Two tough road games proved too much for this Rams team, who lost back to back contests on the road at Dallas and San Francisco to seal their 2019 fate, outside of the postseason for the first time since Sean McVay took over the team in 2016.
One thing that can’t be overlooked from last season was the impact of the departure of quarterback coach Zac Taylor on Jared Goff’s development. Even still, and the dropoff in statistics for Goff was no doubt tangible, throwing for four more interceptions (16) and seeing a drop off in rating of 14.6 (16.5), he was also asked to do considerably more. With the sluggishness of Gurley throughout the season, Goff was asked to throw the ball 10% more and saw a completion percentage fall of just 2%.
This offseason, McVay brought in a new offensive coordinator in Kevin O’Connell who was rising in the ranks in Washington before new head coach Ron Rivera cleaned house this offseason.
You can’t talk about the Rams offseason without mentioning the recent departure of running back Todd Gurley. Even before coming off the worst season of his career, the Gurley contract was widely considered as one of the worst deals in recent NFL history as it was enormous for a position that rarely returns on investment. While the free agency period is still too young to predict what the Rams will do at the running back position, the wide receiver position is still strong with Brandin Cooks and the emergence of Cooper Kupp in the slot.
After seeing their defense fall to the bottom half of the league despite having some of the best talents in the NFC, McVay also moved on firing defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. In his place, former Broncos and Bears outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley will make his coordinator debut with the Rams.
The fact McVay brought in two relatively unknown coordinators to fill holes only means one thing to me; he’s taking back the reigns. While the Rams have enough talent on the defensive side to be dangerous no matter whose calling the plays, the offense is what McVay knows best and feeling the pressure of a new stadium and growing fan base, I expect him to take a more active approach this season.