Perfection: population two?

Joseph Griswold – Anchor Staff

In the storied history of the National Football League there has only been one perfect team, the 1972 Miami Dolphins who went undefeated and beat the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII. The last team that came close to the mark was the seemingly unstoppable 2007 New England Patriots who fell to the Eli Manning and the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII 17-14.  

Each year as the football season begins 32 teams are vying for a chance to become the team to unseat the dolphins as the only undefeated team. Halfway through the season there is only one team left with that opportunity: The Los Angeles Rams.

The fact that the Rams are even in the conversation is mind-blowing as just two seasons ago they went 4-12 under Jeff Fisher. They were considered one of the worst teams in the league and then-rookie quarterback Jared Goff was already being labeled a bust.

Now in just their second season under young and fiery head coach Sean Mcvay the Rams seem very similar to the 2007 Patriots, averaging 33 points a game and cruising to their 8-0 record by an average margin of victory of almost 14 points.

So, can the Rams do what the Patriots could not? The talent from top to bottom on this team seems to support that they can.

On offense the Rams are led by an outstanding young quarterback Goff who is throwing to one of the best wide-receiver trios in the league, Brandon Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. In the backfield Goff has the best running back in the league, Todd Gurley, who is averaging almost two touchdowns a game combined rushing and receiving.

Photo courtesy of USA Today

On defense, the Rams are led by seven-former first rounders, following their trade for defensive end Dante Fowler. Overall on paper, the Rams seem have the potential to become the second undefeated champion in NFL history.

However, NFL games are not played on paper and the Rams face some serious threats to their undefeated season in their final eight games. Their next test will come in the form of a surging Seahawks team who have finally found their stride following an early season struggle.

Following Seattle comes arguably their largest challenge in a neutral site game in Mexico City against the Kansas City Chiefs, the only team averaging more points per game. Led by their own young quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs will look to put an end to the Rams undefeated season much as the New England Patriots did to them following a last second field goal by New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski to hand them their sole loss.

Assuming they can get past the Chiefs their next three games provide no respite on the road against the Detroit Lions, who have taken down both the Green Bay Packers and Patriots, but have been wildly inconsistent. They’ll also be on the road against the Chicago Bears who have the top rated defense in the league and arguably the NFL’s most valuable player in linebacker Khalil Mack.  

The last major challenge comes in a Sunday night game against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles who are beginning to look more like real contenders after a sluggish start to the season.

If the Rams can navigate through these games they end the season with the lowly Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, which should allow them to stroll into the postseason a perfect 16-0.

It is not far-fetched to believe the Rams can pull off the undefeated season. However, it is more likely that they will fall to Kansas City or Philadelphia allowing the 1972 Dolphins team to once again pop the cork and remain the only unbeaten team in NFL history.