The Los Angeles Rams are the best team in football by a wide margin, and they are showing why against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.
Plenty can and will change between now and the end of the regular season, but the Los Angeles Rams are clearly the class of the NFL in the current moment. The gap is large, perhaps larger between the second-best team and the 10th-best, which is why this feels worth writing about in September.
Could somebody catch the Rams, or simply play them on an off day in January and advance past them? Sure, but it’s going to take one hell of an effort.
On Thursday night, Los Angeles was playing the Vikings, an angry and talented team. After being humiliated on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium by the lowly Buffalo Bills, the Vikings were going to come out hopping mad, giving their best shot.
It didn’t matter. Minnesota, a team with a top-five roster, gave up 28 points in the first half on four touchdown passes from Jared Goff. While almost impossible to believe, the Vikings didn’t play poorly. They didn’t blow coverages. Goff was simply perfect, and the scheme he’s in continues to accent his grand talents.
Head coach Sean McVay is only 32 years old, and he’s already the most creative offensive mind in the game alongside Andy Reid. His defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, is arguably the best at what he does as well. With elite coaching and the best 53 in the league, the Rams have an advantage in brain power and sheer talent against everybody, a combination that is going to be brutally tough to beat.
Going into Thursday night, the Rams checked in third in points and yards per game. They are fourth in yards per passing attempt and 11th in rushing yards per carry, while boasting Pro Bowl or All-Pro caliber players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tackle. The defense is no slouch either, with Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib (when healthy), Ndamukong Suh, Aaron Donald, John Johnson and LaMarcus Joyner. The result? A Week 2 shutout against the hapless Arizona Cardinals, and the consistent threat of creating turnovers and negative plays.
With the NFC West so weak, the Rams will waltz to the division title and likely a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, if not the top seed. From there, it will be a match race to the Lombardi Trophy, and only a fool wouldn’t take Los Angeles to win it with comparable ease.