The Los Angeles Rams are off to a 3-1 start, after winning the last three games. The most recent of those wins allowed Jeff Fisher to get a measure of revenge over Bruce Arians for his comments after a game in December of 2014. “I love it when nobody says that you will have a chance to win,” Arians said. “There is an 11-3 team, and a team that is always 8-8. You figure it out.”
Arians was fired up for that game because the 10-3 Cardinals were a 4.5 point underdog at 6-7 St. Louis, as they were playing without Carson Palmer, and the Rams were coming off two straight shutouts.
As it turned out, the 8-8 comment by Arians was generous. The Rams lost all their remaining games, and Jeff Fisher hasn’t even finished with an 8-8 record since 2009, having five straight losing seasons, including four with the Rams.
That appears to be ready to change this year. The Rams are on pace to go 8-8. I know, I know, you might look at the 3-1 mark and claim they are on pace to go 12-4. However, when you look at how they have done it, if you were to put a best guess on the Rams’ final number, it would be 8.
First, let’s look at teams like the Rams, who have gotten off to a 3-1 start despite giving up more points than they scored. Here are the ten most similar teams after four games, all 3-1, who had a negative point differential.
Those teams averaged 8.2 wins over the entire season. Since they all started 3-1, that means they averaged more losses than wins over the remaining 12 games (5.2 wins and 6.8 losses).
If you use the preseason point spreads for remaining games, they are expected to win 5.4 remaining games. Now, obviously, some of those individual games may have changed (Carolina down, Atlanta up, etc.). But knowing that the Rams have been outscored, are ranked near the bottom in offensive efficiency, etc., doesn’t really improve their outlook.
Jeff Fisher said that the win over Arizona was an early Christmas present, since the teams don’t meet again until week 17, after the holiday. But there is a decent chance that Bruce Arians can still get the last word, because that may be a game that determines whether Jeff Fisher finishes 8-8 for sixth time in his career.