By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
Congratulations Los Angeles sports fans! You’ve won the NFL lottery! Within the next three years you will be receiving at least one (Rams), possibly two (either Chargers or Raiders) NFL teams to root for. Some of you may be old enough to have rooted for the Rams or the Raiders, some possibly even the Chargers before they left town the first time. In which case, you already know who you’ll be rooting for in all likelihood.
However, this post isn’t for you. It’s for the LA sports fan who’s an NFL fan free agent at the moment. You’ve seen the news about the teams heading to your backyard and you have a question. Which team should I root for? Or, probably more likely, which team is likely to be the best on field product to hitch my wagon to?
Well, that’s what we’re here to do. Let’s take a look at each of the three teams in four separate categories (Offense, Defense, Coach, and GM) and try to determine which one is best set up for success so you can get behind that winning horse.
Rams- The Rams offense has been inept ever since the end of the “Greatest Show On Turf” era. Since Kurt Warner, the team has cycled through Marc Bulger, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Green, Brock Berlin, Keith Null, Kyle Boller, Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens, AJ Feeley, Shaun Hill, Case Keenum, and Nick Foles at QB. That’s….not encouraging. Right now, you’re looking at either Nick Foles or a drafted QB to lead the offense and an average group of wide receivers. This past season they were last in the league in yards per game on offense and averaged just 17.5 PPG. The lone bright spot? Rookie running back Todd Gurley who is a beast. So, hey, you’ve got that going for you.
Chargers- Phillip Rivers is on the downside of the career curve, but is still a very good QB. He’s got a couple weapons to throw to in WR Keenan Allen, RB Danny Woodhead, and TE Ladarius Green. The team finished 9th in yards per game, but just 20th in points per game averaging 20 per contest. However, the offensive line and offense in general was devastated by injuries so those numbers are a little skewed.
Raiders- Young QB Derek Carr has the Raiders feeling like they have finally found their franchise guy. Amari Cooper is a stud at wide receiver and paired with Michael Crabtree, that’s a dangerous duo. Latavius Murray is coming off a 1,000 yard season and looks like a feature back. The team was just 24th in the league in yards per game, but was 17th in scoring at a little over 22 points per game. A young exciting offense loaded with talent that can only get better.
Verdict: It’s close between the Raiders and Chargers. Right now, the Chargers are probably a hair better due to Rivers being the more experienced QB. But, the Raiders are the younger crew with stars that should be around and improving for the next few years. If you’re looking for offense, go with them.
Read the defensive analysis on CBSLA.com