10 bold predictions for the Rams this season

·6 min read

It’s about time for the Rams to start their march toward a repeat, and it all begins on Thursday night when they host the Bills at SoFi Stadium – the site of their Super Bowl win less than seven months ago.

Each year, I put together a list of bold predictions for the upcoming season. Most of these predictions don’t come true. That’s why they’re bold. But, keeping with tradition, it’s fun to think about how the Rams’ season could go, wondering what type of numbers and accolades Los Angeles’ top players could secure.

Here are my 10 bold predictions for 2022, including the Rams’ playoff fate.

Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson will each score 10-plus TDs

Kupp found the end zone 16 times last season, leading the NFL in that department. With Robinson coming in, it’s reasonable to think Kupp’s touchdown total will dip a bit. But assuming that happens, Robinson will pick up some of the slack.

I think both Kupp and Robinson will find the end zone 10-plus times each, a very realistic possibility considering Stafford had 41 touchdown passes last season. If Robinson can score 14 touchdowns with Blake Bortles as his QB in 2015, he can hit double digits with Stafford this year.

Matthew Stafford will lead the NFL in TD passes

Speaking of Stafford and touchdown passes, I think he has a very real chance to win NFL MVP this season. In order to do that, he’ll not only need to cut down on the turnovers, but rank near the top in touchdown passes.

I can see him leading the league in that department after finishing second only to Tom Brady last year. Stafford had 41 touchdown passes compared to Brady’s 43, and he threw the ball 118 fewer times than Brady. Stafford’s touchdown rate was 6.8%, higher than Brady and every other quarterback not named Aaron Rodgers – who, by the way, won league MVP last season.

I see Stafford winning the touchdown title in 2022.

Aaron Donald will set a career-high in tackles for a loss

I don’t know that Donald will ever top his 20.5 sacks from 2018, but I can see him eclipsing his career-best in tackles for a loss (25) this year. He was all over ball carriers last season to the tune of 84 total tackles, including 19 of which went for a loss.

Given how often he’s on the field, and with Greg Gaines and A’Shawn Robinson doing such a good job next to him, Donald will record at least 26 tackles for a loss this year and lead the league in that stat.

Rob Havenstein makes the Pro Bowl

It’s about time Havenstein gets some credit nationally. He’s played at a Pro Bowl level before, but now as the leader of the offensive line, he should earn Pro Bowl honors this year. He’ll be a big part of a hopefully improved running game, and in pass protection, he’s been excellent at right tackle.

This is the season he finally makes the Pro Bowl, gaining some recognition as a premier offensive lineman in the NFL.

Matt Gay is named a first-team All-Pro

Gay already checked the box as a Pro Bowler last year, but his next step is being named a first-team All-Pro – an incredibly difficult feat considering only one kicker gets this honor each year. Gay was right there with Justin Tucker as the best kicker in football, making 94.1% of his field goal attempts and 48 of 49 PATs. From 40-plus yards, he was 11-for-13, which is where Tucker separated himself (19-for-21).

Gay will edge out Tucker this year, improving once again for the Rams.

Leonard Floyd records at least 12 sacks

Floyd had 9.5 sacks last season despite playing through an ankle injury all year. He’s fully healthy this season and ready to roll for Week 1, and he should be in for the best year of his career. With Von Miller gone, Floyd may not get as many one-on-one opportunities, but he also will have one fewer star taking away sack chances.

I like Floyd to eclipse his career-best total of 10.5 sacks, which he had in 2020.

Cam Akers tops 1,100 yards rushing

It may not seem like a bold prediction to say a starting running back will have at least 1,100 yards rushing, but only five players in the NFL topped that number last season. Given the physical nature of the position and the fact that Akers is splitting the backfield with Darrell Henderson Jr., 1,100 yards would be quite the accomplishment for the third-year back.

I think he could push double-digit rushing touchdowns, too, which only seven running backs had a year ago.

Jalen Ramsey makes 90 tackles, has 5 INTs

This is the complete list of cornerbacks who had at least 90 tackles a season ago: Kenny Moore and Desmond King. That’s it. Ramsey had a career-best 77 tackles, and that was with missing one game.

In his role as the “star” defender, lining up in the slot and outside, Ramsey gets a ton of chances to record tackles. And now that the Rams have Bobby Wagner clogging up the middle, teams could try to bounce runs outside more often, running right into the lap of Ramsey.

He’s the best tackling cornerback in football and could possibly reach 100 tackles this season. I also think he’ll pull down five interceptions, which would be a career-high.

Rams will rank in the top 5 in yards offensively and defensively

The last time the Rams ranked in the top five in yards on offense and defense was way back in 2001 when they were first on offense and third defensively. They came close in 2020, ranking 11th offensively and first on D, but this will be the year they put it all together.

Despite having an incredibly difficult schedule that’s filled with extremely talented quarterbacks, the Rams defense should improve with Wagner coming aboard and Troy Hill returning in the secondary. The offense will get better in Year 2 of Stafford leading the way, as well.

Rams will win the NFC, reach the Super Bowl again

I predicted that the Rams would reach the Super Bowl and lose to the Chiefs last year, which was half true. They did make it to the big game, but they beat the Bengals to win it all.

This year, I think they’ll get back to the Super Bowl but they’ll come up just short of repeating against a talented AFC – be it the Bills, Chiefs, Chargers, Ravens or Broncos. The AFC is certainly weaker, with the Bucs, Packers and 49ers being the Rams’ toughest challengers, but Los Angeles still feels like the most complete team of that bunch.

It’d be a heartbreaking way for the Rams’ 2022 season to end, but repeating is so hard to do.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire