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Monday open thread: How will the Los Angeles Rams perform in 2021?

Can Matthew Stafford find success in a new home?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams OTA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In a normal year, many Detroit Lions fans would hardly care about how good the Los Angeles Rams are. At most, they are in contention for a Wild Card spot with the Lions, something that hasn’t been the case in recent years for a struggling Lions team.

2021 will be a very different story. Not only is there some emotional attachment to the Rams, but there’s draft capital at stake too.

The blockbuster move made by the Rams was acquiring Matthew Stafford from Detroit. The long-time star quarterback for the Lions heads to the NFC West with hopes of finding that ever-elusive postseason run. The Rams themselves are hoping for Stafford to provide a spark for an offense that struggled at times under Jared Goff.

Stafford became beloved by many in the Lions community for his on-field heroics, toughness, and his off-field compassion and dedication to the city. Even on a different team, I truly wish Stafford the best of luck, and I would love to see him finally achieve the success he deserves.

For those Lions fans grumbling about his departure, then there is a reason to root against the Rams: draft position. As part of the Stafford deal, the Rams gave up 2022 and 2023 first-round picks. For a team in a rebuild, those picks could prove to be extremely valuable assets for the Lions. The worse the Rams perform in 2021, the better that 2022 pick will be—the prospect of two top-10 picks is certainly enticing.

But that begs the question: how good are the Rams?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

How will the Los Angeles Rams perform in 2021?

My answer: I think the Rams will be a very good team this season. While I would love a high first-round pick as a result of their struggles, the success of Stafford would be a good consolation prize to me.

The two extreme situations are fine by me. If the Rams bottom out, the Lions get a great draft pick. If the Rams excel, then we get to see Stafford play some meaningful football. The worst case scenario, in my opinion, is that the Rams are a middling team at around 8-9. This wouldn’t result in a high draft pick for Detroit, but it likely wouldn’t result in a postseason run for the Rams and Stafford.

The Rams have a tough schedule ahead of them, so let’s try to break it down.

Week 1: vs. Bears — Win

Andy Dalton likely starts Week 1 for Chicago. A good outcome for the Rams.

Week 2: @ Colts — Win

The Colts are a good team, but which Carson Wentz will we see? I’m not sold on his rebound yet.

Week 3: vs. Buccaneers — Loss

The Bucs went on a tear to end the 2020 season, and that team has only gotten better.

Week 4: vs. Cardinals — Win

This should be an interesting game. I think the Rams are the slightly better team.

Week 5: @ Seahawks — Loss

The Seahawks are such a difficult team to predict. They are ride-or-die with Russell Wilson. I think home field gives them the edge.

Week 6: @ Giants — Win

All the weapons in the world won’t help the Giants if Daniel Jones can’t take the next step.

Week 7: vs. Lions — Win

Barring a Goff revenge game, I don’t expect this one to be close.

Week 8: @ Texans — Win

A lot of this hinges on Deshaun Watson. Even then, the team is a train wreck.

Week 9: vs. Titans — Win

Tennessee's offense is among the best in the league even after losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. However, that defense is still questionable despite some solid offseason signings.

Week 10: @ 49ers — Win

The 49ers were a great 6-10 team hampered by injuries, so I think this could be close. I think the 49ers win with Trey Lance, but I expect Jimmy Garoppolo to be starting for most of 2021, and that’s good for the Rams.

Week 12: @ Packers — Win

If Aaron Rodgers is in Jeopardy, the Packers will be in jeopardy.

Week 13: vs. Jaguars — Win

Trevor Lawrence is good, but he isn’t that good.

Week 14: @ Cardinals — Loss

We’ll split the season series, since both games could go either way.

Week 15: vs. Seahawks — Win

We’ll split the season series, since both games could go either way.

Week 16: @ Vikings — Loss

The Vikings know Stafford very well. If anyone is going to shut him down, Mike Zimmer is the likeliest candidate.

Week 17: @ Ravens — Loss

Not only does Lamar Jackson have a great new target in Rashod Bateman, but Mark Ingram is gone as well, opening the door for J.K. Dobbins. Imagine giving a lot of carries to an old back over your exciting young rookie.

Week 18: vs. 49ers — Win

This could very well be a battle for the NFC West or a Wild Card spot. Stafford is used to balling out in meaningless end-of-season games, so how about one for all the marbles?

Final record: 12-5

What do you think about my record prediction? Will the Rams achieve some postseason success, or will they fall flat and grant the Lions a great draft pick?

Your turn.