The St. Louis Rams can no longer blame their woes on injuries to quarterback Sam Bradford. In a somewhat surprising off-season move, the Rams sent Bradford and a first-round draft pick to Philadelphia for QB Nick Foles and a first-round draft pick. Foles, who had success in Philadelphia, takes over a Rams unit that was 28th in the league last year in total offense. With the help of new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr., Foles looks to change that. The St. Louis offense struggled last year after Bradford suffered another knee injury. Rotating quarterbacks left the offense inept and led to a 2-5 start. With stability at the position and some serious weapons, the offense should be much better in 2015. That being said however, Vegas Super Bowl predictions aren't giving the Rams much of a chance to lift the Lombardi trophy listing St. Louis as +5000 longshots to win the championship.
NFL odds also have the St. Louis Rams +2500 to win the NFC Conference and +900 to win the NFC West division. In an effort to bolster the offensive production, the Rams went out and took a risk by drafting Georgia RB Todd Gurley in the first round. Gurley is coming off a knee injury but is the kind of back who is a game-changer. He is big (6-1, 222) and possesses great speed and vision. The offensive line was mediocre last year, but St. Louis added former Detroit guard Garrett Reynolds and drafted 6-7, 321-pount tackle Rob Havenstein out of Wisconsin. Both should start and pave the way for Gurley and last year’s leading rusher Tre Mason (765 yards on 179 carries). Whether or not Foles and Gurley will be able to provide enough points to cover weekly NFL odds is still up for debate.
Head coach Jeff Fisher was successful in Tennessee using a ball control offense and a tough, physical defense. The Rams defense was actually very good during the second half of the season last year. Minus giving up 37 points to Odell Beckham and the New York Giants, the Rams gave up just 32 points over four games at the end of the season, including back-to-back shutouts over Oakland and Washington. Much of that defense returns including all three starting linebackers and seven of the top nine defensive linemen. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and second on the team with 9.0 sacks. Defensive end Robert Quinn led the team with 10.5. St. Louis added DT Nick Fairley from Detroit and outside linebacker Akeem Ayers from New England in the offseason. The talent is there for the Rams to be an elite defense but not enough to defy Super Bowl predictions as longshots. However, they may have a shot at a winning record and possibly a 2015 NFC West title.
Rams Update (9/12/15): St. Louis are now +5000 favorites in Super Bowl predictions, +2800 to win the NFC Conference and +700 to win the NFC West.