NFL Power Rankings Week 7 summary
Welp. Not a great showing for the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6 up in Santa Clara.
If they were suffering from criticism of perhaps being a bit of a paper tiger having beat up on the NFC East for four wins, this performance surely didn't help them shed those barbs. Worth remembering that injuries and all, the San Francisco 49ers are still a quality team with plenty of talent. There are no handouts in the NFL, and lord almighty are there not going to be any in the NFC West.
So be it. Here's how the major power rankings see things through six weeks:
Most impactful injury: RB Cam Akers
The Rams have mostly avoided serious injuries, with the exception of left guard Joe Noteboom (calf) and safety Jordan Fuller (shoulder), who were placed on injured reserve but are expected to return after being replaced by experienced starters. So the most significant injury was to Akers, who suffered separated rib cartilage in Week 2 and was sidelined for two games. A second-round pick from Florida State, Akers started the first two games and appeared on track to play a large role. Despite returning to health and rushing for 61 yards on nine carries in Week 5, Akers did not have a touch in Week 6.
Jared Goff and Cooper Kupp have enviable chemistry on the field. That's what made the near misses between the quarterback and wide receiver so jarring in Sunday night's 24-16 loss to the 49ers. Two plays on successive drives in the third quarter stood out: With 9:30 to play in the quarter, Goff was a split-second late on a deep throw to an open Kupp, who got turned around and couldn't make the catch. Then, with 2:39 to play in the third and the Rams inside the San Francisco 10-yard line, Goff rolled to his right and fired a perfect dart that Kupp failed to corral at the pylon. The first missed connection led to a punt, the second set up an interception. Frustrating stuff for two guys who usually make the most of their opportunities together.
It at least needs to be said: The Rams are 4-0 against the NFC East, which is trending as the worst division in modern NFL history, and 0-2 against everyone else. I don’t think the Rams are a bad team. I do wonder why in two of the past three weeks their offense has struggled so much, and how good they’ll be now that there are no more NFC East games on the schedule.
That was a bad loss at San Francisco. So much so, it has some saying their fast start was fraudulent. We will find out this week against the Bears.
The unofficial NFC East champs apparently aren’t ready for the NFC West portion of their schedule.
How much do you trust the Los Angeles Rams right now?
After a lackluster performance on Sunday night, in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Rams fell to 4-2. Still a very good record, but look at those four wins. They came against the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Football Team, and the Dallas Cowboys back in Week 1.
They have feasted on the worst division in football.
But the two occasions where they had to step outside the comfort zone of the NFC East? A loss to the Buffalo Bills and now a loss to the 49ers.
Thankfully, the NFL Scheduling Gods have provided us with a tremendous matchup for Monday Night Football in Week 7. The Rams host another team with a great record, but lots of questions, in the Chicago Bears. That game might tell us a ton about which of those two teams is the contender, and which is the pretender.
The Rams appeared to be cruising until they went into Santa Clara Sunday night, even if an NFC East sweep doesn’t mean much this year. I’m still bullish on them in the NFC playoff race, and I don’t want to overreact to one division loss on the road. (As mentioned in the intro: Trying not to overreact to one game is a common theme in this column!) But it sure seems like the Rams will need to go .500 in their division games, given that everyone else is fighting for those playoff spots too. And they've gotten off on the wrong foot there.
Admittedly, time to take hard look at this team – which fattened up on NFC East – and re-evaluate. Aaron Donald can't do it alone up front.