Photo Credit: CrispyCream27, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Los Angeles went decades without a football team. Now they have two. The city will also be hosting the Super Bowl next year. That naturally raises the question, how close are we to seeing a Los Angeles team in the Super Bowl?
So let’s take a look at the two LA teams and speculate how close they are to bringing a championship to the great city of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Rams
All things considered, the Rams had a pretty good season. They came in second place in the NFC West with a 10–6 record. They also won a playoff game.
The good news is that 10–6 with a playoff win is not all that far away from contending for a title. They are clearly not there yet. However, they don’t have nearly as far to go as some other teams.
The defense is probably the biggest reason for optimism. They allowed 296 points all season, which was 1st in the NFL. In an offense-driven league, it is great to have a great defense you can lean on.
One big negative for the Rams was their offense. With 23.3 points per game, the offense ranked at the bottom half of the entire league (22nd overall). The offense will definitely need to step it up a notch if they hope to contend for a championship.
They will also have fewer draft picks to work with than most teams. They traded away their 2021 third-round pick as well as 2022 and 2023 first-round picks. This is not a huge problem since they are already a good team. However, it does take away some room for error drafting.
Their future looks very bright. The offense is their biggest weakness, but the addition of Matthew Stafford should help with that. If the defense remains one of the best in the league, they should be real contenders next season.
They also have a great coach. Sean Mcvay is both young (35) and battle-tested. The lack of draft picks is not ideal, but I don’t expect it to hold them back too much.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers looked terrible at times last season. Thankfully, they finished the season on a four-game winning streak to give the fans something to feel good about. It was still not a good season, but at least they showed improvement.
The team also showed a ton of resilience. They had four-game and three-game losing streaks. They also got embarrassed by the 7–9 Patriots 0–45. However, despite that adversity, they never quit and managed to finish the season strong.
Despite drafting the 3rd QB off the board, the Chargers still managed to get the Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Justin Herbert pick looks like a home run that they can build around.
While their 7–9 record is not good, it could have been worse. The path to the playoffs is much shorter from 7–9 than from 3–13 or 4–12.
Regardless of the four-game winning streak, 7–9 is still a losing record. They were also 3rd in the competitive but not overly difficult AFC West.
Being in the AFC West means seeing the Chiefs twice a year. Also, the 8–8 Raiders are a few pieces away from being a real problem.
The offense was not great, but with Justin Herbert's play, there is a reason for optimism. The defense, on the other hand, is a problem. 426 points allowed was 23rd in the whole league. That will not get it done.
Their future is hard to predict. I could see it being good or bad, depending on a couple of things.
They have a new coach. Hopefully, he will do well. However, the Chargers track record for hiring coaches is not the best.
At 7–9, they are close to the playoffs, which is encouraging. However, that record comes with a mediocre draft position. That makes improving through the draft a little more challenging.
To be fair, they have their franchise QB, which is the hardest thing to draft for.
The quality of their immediate future will come down to two things. First, how well the new coach does. Second, can they draft well enough to fill the few holes they need to be contenders?
Both Los Angeles teams are in a good position to contend for a title in the near future. However, the clear leader is the Rams. They are one good offseason away from contention.