By Austin Medina
The Los Angeles Rams are another step closer to the ultimate prize: a Super Bowl championship.
Los Angeles took care of business in the Wild Card round, swiftly defeating the Arizona Cardinals 34-17. For the NFC West champions, defeating division rivals is just a part of the process. Realistically, the Rams need more than a division crown and a playoff victory. There’s no denying that it’s all or nothing for LA and the pressure is considerably higher this weekend with a road game set against the defending Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers.
Since last March, the Rams have gone all-in. They traded former first overall pick Jared Goff and two first-round picks to the Lions for Matthew Stafford. No doubt Stafford is a considerable upgrade at quarterback, yet the trading of prime draft capital has been a recurring theme for the Rams.
The Rams haven’t drafted in the first round since selecting Goff in 2016. After sending both their 2022 and 2023 first round picks sent to Detroit, the Rams message is clear: they are playing to win-now. And with this mentality, the pressure is mounting for LA to get the job done.
The Rams front office has brought in multiple stars to Los Angeles. They traded two first-round picks to acquire All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey in 2019. This season, they traded a second-round pick and a third-round pick to bring in former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. If that wasn’t enough star power, the Rams added wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr shortly after their acquisition of Miller.
No doubt the Rams additions have made a significant impact on the team’s success. Beckham has six touchdown receptions since joining Stafford and the Rams. Miller has racked up six sacks, including one against Kyler Murray in last week’s Wild Card victory. There is a reason LA went 12-5 this year and won the NFC West. Even after adding Stafford, Beckham, and Miller, defining the Rams “success” is crucial.
Losing to the Bucs is not good enough. This is a must-win for LA.
With draft picks shipped off and a diminished salary cap, the pressure to win-now is at an all-time high. For the Rams, “success” is easy to define. It’s Superbowl or bust.