The NFL has released its 2017 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Los Angeles Rams.
Breakdown: The Rams won't have as much of a back-loaded home schedule this year. The 2016 season featured only two games at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum within the first eight weeks. This year starts with back-to-back home games and three of them within the first five weeks. There seem to be a lot of winnable games here, too. And it starts with the NFC West, where the Cardinals have seemingly taken a step back and the 49ers are in the initial stages of a rebuild. It looks like only four games (on the road against the Cowboys and Giants, and twice against the Seahawks) will come against what many consider legitimate playoff contenders. Two others (on the road against the Jaguars and Titans) will come against teams that are seemingly on the rise.
All the feels for Sean McVay: The Rams' 31-year-old rookie head coach will get an interesting test early. In Week 2, he will host his former team, the Redskins, after spending the last three seasons as their offensive coordinator. That Sunday, on Sept. 17, he will reunite with his former quarterback, Kirk Cousins, and one of his key mentors, Jay Gruden. And then, a mere four days later, McVay will match up with another one of his key mentors, Kyle Shanahan, when the Rams travel to face the 49ers on Thursday Night Football. It accounts for the Rams' only nationally televised regular-season game.
A tough stretch: If you're looking for a make-or-break stretch in the Rams' schedule, look towards the middle. That window between the start of Week 4 and the end of Week 9 looks especially tough. It begins on the road against the Cowboys for what will probably be the Rams' most difficult game all season. Then they host the Seahawks, who are still favored to win the NFC West, then travel to face what should be a much-improved Jaguars team in Florida. From there, they fly to London to face the Cardinals. Then, after the bye, they travel to face a good Giants team. The London game will kick off at 10 a.m. PT, by the way. Much easier viewing for locals. The Jaguars game starts at 4:05 p.m. ET, which the Rams appreciate.
Fight for LA: That's the slogan the Chargers adopted when they moved north from San Diego. And though they won't face the Rams in the regular season, they'll compete against them in a different way. The NFL has scheduled three dates -- Sept. 17, Dec. 10 and New Year's Eve -- when the Rams and Chargers will host games at the same time, all of them at 1 p.m. local. The Rams will be hosting the Redskins, Eagles and 49ers, respectively. The Chargers will host the Dolphins, the Redskins and, in a highly anticipated matchup, the Raiders. The Chargers will play out of the 30,000-seat StubHub Center, located 12 miles from the Coliseum.
Goff vs. Wentz: This will be fun. For the first time, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Jared Goff, will match up against the No. 2 overall pick from the 2016 draft, Carson Wentz. It'll take place Dec. 10, when the Rams host the Eagles at the Coliseum in Week 14. Question is: Whose team will be in better shape by then? Wentz started his rookie season off well, but tapered off towards the end. Goff sat through the first half, then struggled mightily in the second half. Since then, Goff got a new, offensive-minded coach, while Wentz got a new weapon in Alshon Jeffery. These two will be linked for their entire careers. And they're also good friends.
Strength of schedule: 17th, .482
Rams Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 10, Indianapolis, 4:05 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 17, Washington, 4:25 p.m.
Week 3: Thursday, Sep. 21, at San Francisco, 8:25 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 1, at Dallas, 1 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 8, Seattle, 4:05 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 15, at Jacksonville, 4:05 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 22, Arizona, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 5, at NY Giants, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 12, Houston, 4:05 p.m.
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 19, at Minnesota, 1 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 26, New Orleans, 4:05 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 3, at Arizona, 4:25 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 10, Philadelphia, 4:25 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 17, at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 24, at Tennessee, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 31, San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.