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Los Angeles Rams' 2021 schedule: Early Super Bowl test awaits

Los Angeles Rams Schedule in 2021 NFL

The Los Angeles Rams' 2021 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate on Wednesday, according to ESPNBlog.

The 2021 NFL season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 9 with Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys. ESPN will have Monday Night Football on Sept. 13 featuring Las Vegas Raiders hosting the Baltimore Ravens (8:15 p.m. ET).

The NFL will change its schedule for the first time in 44 years, expanding to 17 regular-season games. The final regular-season games will be played January 9, 2022. The playoffs begin January 15, 2022, and continue through Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022, at Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium.

Here's what in store for the Rams:

Schedule

Sept. 12: vs. Chicago Bears

Sept. 19: at Indianapolis Colts

Sept. 26: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Oct. 3: vs. Arizona Cardinals

Oct. 7: at Seattle Seahawks

Oct. 17: at New York Giants

Oct. 24: vs. Detroit Lions

Oct. 31: at Houston Texans

Nov. 7: vs. Tennessee Titans

Nov. 15: at San Francisco 49ers

Nov. 21: Bye

Nov. 28: at Green Bay Packers

Dec. 5: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Dec. 13: at Arizona Cardinals

Dec. 19: vs. Seattle Seahawks

Dec. 26: at Minnesota Vikings

Jan. 2: at Baltimore Ravens

Jan. 9: vs. San Francisco 49ers

Strength of schedule: 10th, .515

Team News

2021 NFL Los Angeles Rams: Full Schedule, Predictions & Key Games

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams (Week 15): The Rams sacked Russell Wilson five times in their playoff win last year. Matthew Stafford's arrival may portend the Rams' ascension back to the top of the NFC's toughest division, according to NFL.

Tom Brady has started 299 regular-season games in his 21 years in the NFL. He’s also started 45 postseason games and has beaten every team in the league (except the Patriots) at least once. He’s accomplished just about everything a player possibly can in the NFL, but when the Buccaneers visit the Rams in Week 3, he’ll do something he’s never done before.

Brady will play his first NFL game ever in Los Angeles.

It’s a crazy stat that was shared by Peter Schrager of NFL Network after the 2021 schedule was released, one that’s difficult to believe given Brady’s extensive track record in the league.

That will change on Sept. 26 when the Rams and Bucs square off, according to TheRamsWire.

Predictions

2021 NFL Los Angeles Rams: Full Schedule, Predictions & Key Games

The Rams will learn early in the schedule -- Week 3 -- whether they are true Super Bowl contenders when they host Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers at SoFi Stadium. This matchup would potentially provide more drama if scheduled down the stretch, but instead it will provide Rams coach Sean McVay, quarterback Matthew Stafford and the defending top-ranked Rams defense, led by three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald and All-Pro Jalen Ramsey, an early challenge and the chance to build upon and any successes and correct any shortcomings as the season continues on.

A year after they played an entire season in their new home without fans, the Rams will play in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. The Rams went all-in -- again -- to make a Super Bowl run when they completed a blockbuster trade for quarterback Matthew Stafford, then spent their first draft pick on another speedy receiver in Tutu Atwell after signing receiver DeSean Jackson in free agency. The Rams' way of building is clear: Win now and address future roster needs later, according to ESPN.

Key Games

2021 NFL Los Angeles Rams: Full Schedule, Predictions & Key Games

No one has taken a more questionable approach to team-building than the Los Angeles Rams. Their complete disregard for first-round picks and constant flirtation with the salary cap is definitely not the norm.

But it's managed to build a steady contender in Los Angeles. The team hasn't had a losing record since Sean McVay took the reins in 2017.

Trading for Matt Stafford is the latest example. The Rams brass gave up two first-round picks, a third-rounder and Jared Goff to acquire a 33-year-old quarterback. It doesn't make the most sense from a long-term perspective, but just watch Stafford lead an effective Rams offense to another playoff appearance.

Stafford will likely be playing behind the best offensive line he's ever had, and have a terrific one-two punch in Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp at wide receiver with DeSean Jackson, Van Jefferson and rookie Tutu Atwell providing depth.

Then there's the defense that's led by one of the best players in the league in Aaron Donald. Losing John Johnson III and Troy Hill to the Browns in free agency hurts, but there's plenty there to form a strong group, according to Bleacherreport.

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