The regular season has finally arrived Rams fans. The Rams will host the Indianapolis Colts in week one. The game will take place at 1:05 P.M. PDT. The team looks to start strong in the first game of the Sean McVay era, as well as quarterback Jared Goff’s first week one start. However, as things stand now the Rams will be without star Aaron Donald, arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. This article will take a look at both sides of the ball to identify which team has the advantage.
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The Rams offense is a question mark coming into this season, they are still unsure exactly what they have in Goff. Additionally, running back Todd Gurley is looking to bounce back from a down year. The Rams receiving corps has been bolstered with new targets; Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Gerald Everett. This is the biggest progression for the Rams from last season, they now feature dynamic threats at all levels of the passing game. However, the right side of the Rams offensive line is a pillar of inconsistency. Jamon Brown and Rob Havenstein have looked good at times, yet Brown has looked completely lost at others. The left side of the line, however, is very strong. It is anchored by big man Andrew Whitworth, who did not allow a pressure the whole season. The pieces are in place for the Rams, they just need to execute Sean McVay’s system.
The Colts offense is typically led by their passing game and quarterback Andrew Luck. However, Luck is out for week one and Scott Tolzien will start under center. This is a huge loss for the Colts and will likely be catastrophic for their offense. Frank Gore is the Colts primary running back, but he is simply not what he used to be. The age of thirty rule in the NFL is rarely incorrect. Colts primary wide receiver T.Y. Hilton will look to lead the passing game, likely providing a go-to target for Tolzien. Regardless, the Colts offense just lacks firepower without Luck.
Offensive Advantage: Rams
The Rams will be searching far and wide for Aaron Donald on game day, but he will likely not be in attendance. Tanzel Smart will have to step up into a starting role on the defensive line. It is crucial that the Rams put pressure on Tolzien, they may be able to force an easy turnover. Many Rams defensive starters will see their first game action of the year. This includes players such as; Robert Quinn, Mark Barron, and Kayvon Webster. It is important that those three do not miss a step despite their absences. The Rams defensive unit should still be strong, even without Donald.
The Colts defense is without one of their best players in cornerback Vontae Davis. This will be a big hole to fill for Indy. The defense was already a step behind, ranking 30th in the league last year in terms of yards allowed. Now, without Davis, they will look to overcome an even bigger hurdle.
Defensive Advantage: Rams
The Rams look to have the advantage on both sides of the ball, given the absence of quarterback Andrew Luck. This would be an entirely different conversation if Luck were playing. Both teams will be missing their best player, but the loss of Luck will be much harder to recover from for the Colts. The Rams will take the win at home to kick off the McVay era.
Rams win 24-10