The "Super Bowl hangover" narrative was real for the Los Angeles Rams this past season, finishing 9-7 and missing the playoffs just a year after coming up short in the big game.
There were a number of reasons why the Rams took this step back, but there are still plenty of good things about this football team to give them hope for the year ahead. These three stats from this past season prove the Rams can be Super Bowl contenders next year.
1. Top-10 Run Defense
Playing in a division with the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, it is vital for the Rams to be solid against the run, which they were. They allowed just 4.1 yards per rush, which was tied for the eight-best in the NFL. They also checked in at eighth in Football Outsiders' run defense DVOA metric. Running the ball and stopping the run becomes more and more important as the season progresses, and the Rams proved they can hold strong on the defensive front. This isn't a one-dimension unit, either, as they also checked in as a top-10 group against the pass by DVOA.
2. Red Zone Efficiency
When the Rams get down into the red zone, there is a great chance they are finishing in the end zone. They scored a touchdown on 64.4 percent of their red zone trips, which was sixth-best in the NFL. Capping off drives is crucial, as we saw when the Tennessee Titans scored two playoff upsets on the back of a 100 percent red zone touchdown rate through the Divisional Round.
3. Limited Drops
It's tough to win games when you make too many mistakes, and the Rams receivers do a good job at avoiding beating themselves. As a team, the Rams dropped just 10 passes all season, which was the second-best total in the NFL. The wide receiver trio of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks continues to be the team's strength on offense, and this group will continue to make Jared Goff's life much easier.
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