The 2022 NFL season is only weeks away, and all 32 teams are back in preseason training, preparing to mount a charge for Super Bowl LVII glory. Two teams will head to the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, after the conclusion of a grueling regular season and playoff battle, but will the reigning champions, the Los Angeles Rams, be in Arizona with a chance of winning back-to-back Super Bowl rings?
Only seven NFL franchises have managed to secure back-to-back Super Bowls, although the Pittsburgh Steelers have achieved this feat twice. The New England Patriots were the last NFL team to become Super Bowl champions in consecutive seasons, and that was back in 2003-2004. That in itself means a Los Angeles Rams repeat victory is unlikely, and the best online California betting sites tend to agree.
The Rams were, at times, sensational during their Super Bowl-winning season. They went 12-5 during the regular season. A spell of three straight losses between Week 9-12 was the only real blip; their overtime defeat against the San Franciso 49ers on Week 17 was partly because of fielding a weakened team as the Rams were already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.
Going all out to secure the services of quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions proved to be a masterstroke from the Rams’ management team. Stafford, a former number one overall draft pick, threw for 4,886 yards, his second-best tally, with almost 2,000 of those yards coming from the rejuvenated Cooper Kupp. And there lies the first problem regarding the Rams winning another Super Bowl this season: can Stafford and Cupp reproduce their incredible form?
The Stafford-Cupp combination was unstoppable at times, and teams failed to adapt to them. Both enjoyed unbelievable seasons, but defensive coordinators will have done their homework during the offseason, so the pair will find it much more challenging to be as effective in 2022.
Then there are changes to the roster. Every NFL team needs to strengthen its roster each year. You fall behind by not improving your team, and there have been more key departures than incoming players to the Rams camp. Three significant departures from the Rams’ defensive unit could prove costly in the coming months.
The Los Angeles Rams defense ranked 17th among 32 teams in 2021 after allowing 5,863 yards, or 344.9 yards per game. However, the figures are a little lop-sided because the Rams had the sixth-best rushing defense (1,754 yards) but only the 22nd-best passing defense (4,109 yards). Both areas are now weaker than last season.
Cornerback Darious Williams has joined the Jacksonville Jaguars, while nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day is now a Los Angeles Charger. However, the loss of veteran outside linebacker Von Miller is the most costly departure. Miller has the most career sacks of any active player in the NFL, and he has an unrivaled ability to organize the defensive players around him. The Rams’ loss is the Super Bowl favorites (Buffalo Bills) gain.
Then there is the waiving of the often controversial Odell Beckham Jr. The 2014 rookie offensive player of the year added depth to the wide receiver position when he signed a one-year deal. Beckham Jr performed well during his eight regular season games for the Rams but was outstanding during the playoffs, including the Super Bowl, where he scored the opening touchdown. Unfortunately, Beckham Jr suffered a torn ACL in the second quarter, the second time in less than a year that he suffered such an injury. The 29-year-old goes into the 2022 season as a free agent.
If, and it is a big if, Stafford and Cupp can build on what was a fantastic 2021 campaign, the Rams have every chance to at least reach Super Bowl LVII. It does seem a tall task, but head coach Sean McVay has shown he can work wonders, so do not right the Rams off even if they do not hit the ground runnings.