The Los Angeles Rams will travel to the Coliseum on Monday night for a primetime Week 1 matchup against the Oakland Raiders.
The Rams will be happy not to see star linebacker Khalil Mack in this game after Oakland shipped its best defensive player to the Chicago Bears for a bevy of future draft picks. Raiders head coach John Gruden tried to explain the deal, saying that it was not his goal to deal Mack and that the linebacker was one of the reasons that he ultimately decided to take the job during the offseason.
Rams hoping preseason strategy pays off
The Rams elected to rest most their playmakers and veterans throughout the preseason, but managed to go 2-2 during preseason action. St. Louis spent a ton of money during the offseason, but most of it came on the defensive side of the ball. According to Spotrac, despite being the top-scoring unit in the NFL last season, the Rams are spending the third-least money on that side of the ball at $61 million. Only the Bills and Texans are spending less. Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley will be mainstays in the backfield this season and they will be joined by returning wide receiver Robert Woods, as well as newcomer Brandin Cooks, who came over from the New England Patriots.
On defense, the Rams will feature one of the most vaunted front-sevens in all of football. Superstar defensive end Aaron Donald will be joined by newly acquired defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has become one of the most feared players in the sport. They are spending the third-most amount of money on the defensive side of the ball after the additions of Suh, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters.
Raiders ready to move on after Mack deal
The Raiders had an interesting offseason to say the least, starting with allocating $100-million to lock down head coach Jon Gruden for the next decade. Ironically they weren’t ready to hand over the same kind of money to Mack, who has arguably become one of the top defenders in the entire NFL. Instead, the team dealt Mack and cut newly-acquired wide receiver Martavis Bryant despite trading a third-round pick for the enigmatic playmaker.
With sure-handed Michael Crabtree now running routes in Baltimore, the Raiders will have to rely on another veteran – former Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson – for some consistency on the outside. Raiders fans will also be hoping that the addition of Gruden can help turn around Amari Cooper’s up-and-down career. Cooper has struggled with drops over the last two seasons and is coming off of the worst year of his career in 2017, when he totalled just 680 yards in 14 games.
- Raiders are 3-9-2 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
- Raiders are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.
- Rams are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games