However, even as one of five teams that hold a current 5-1 record through Week 6, the Rams are still lauded by one national outlet that has them at No. 1.
Sports Illustrated unveiled its newest power rankings on the morning of Tuesday, October 19, and at the top of its list plus hailed as a Super Bowl contender? The Rams:
What SI Says About the Rams
Gary Gramling was the writer who constructed the rankings for SI. Here’s why he and SI are high on the Rams as of Week 7:
“The only blip on their record came on an off-day against a Cardinals team they’d beat four out of five times at SoFi. They have the best coach in the NFL (Sean McVay), an MVP-caliber quarterback playing at an MVP level, and as long as Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey stay healthy they’ll remain the most well-rounded team in football.”
Gramling likes the well-roundedness of the Rams through the first six games of the year…better than last year’s Super Bowl champion the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the AFC representative from January 2021 the Kansas City Chiefs and any team that shares identical records with the Rams.
It’s understandable why. Matthew Stafford has thrown 16 touchdown passes in his first six games as a Ram. Cooper Kupp is tied for the league lead in receptions with 46 and is second in receiving yardage at 653. He’s also the NFL leader in receiving touchdowns with seven. And the Ram defense leads all NFC West teams with 18 sacks — which places them tied for third with the Cleveland Browns.
However, not everyone is in agreement with SI’s rankings. Particularly the NFL’s lone 6-0 team.
Rams Rival Uses Popular Jordan Meme to Respond to SI
No, it wasn’t the crying meme with Michael Jordan’s face that the Cards used.
In response to the SI ranking that has the Cards six spots behind the Rams at No. 7, here’s how the Cardinals Twitter account clapped back at SI’s Week 7 rankings:
So what is it that Gramling doesn’t like about AZ?
“What’s worrisome is an offensive system that requires the quarterback to maintain an MVP level over 17 games. They’ve been great, but they’ve also been fortunate along the way. The Cardinals are converting a lot of third and very longs while also stopping opponents on fourth downs at an unsustainable rate (10 of 14 so far, league average usually hovers around 50%). They’ve recovered 18 of 23 fumbles (expected fumble recovery rate for any team is 50%). Between fourth-down defense and fumble recoveries they’re stealing two possessions per game so far. They’re the only team in football to have opposing kickers miss three attempts inside 50 yards, one of two teams to have opposing kickers miss four PATs, and are top 10 in offensive and defensive red-zone efficiency, typically a volatile stat unless you have a Derrick Henry on your roster.”
Well, SI and Gramling prefers the Rams at the top. But not everyone has L.A. at No. 1.
Pro Football Network has this order: Rams at second, Cardinals at first overall via PFN writer Dalton Miller.
But if there is a ranking that could fuel Ram fans, it comes from nfl.com, which lists the Rams at the spot SI has the Cardinals, seen here.