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Goff and Keenum: Showdown of 2016 Rams QBs

November 12th, 2017 · No Comments · Football, Los Angeles Rams, NFL

Funny thing, NFL schedules. Fans and journalists yammer, before the season, about how easy or tough this or that team’s schedule is. And then they play the games …

Which this year has led to an unexpected, semi-elite showdown of division-leading 7-2 teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings teams. Teams who, two months ago, were expected to be also-rans. At best.

What’s more, remember the two quarterbacks who suffered through the 4-12 Rams season in 2016? They will meet on the field in Minneapolis on Sunday. Jared Goff of the Rams and Case Keenum, late of the Rams, now the starting quarterback for the Vikings.

One of the leading takeaways of that?

Perhaps Keenum and Goff are demonstrating, via their strong seasons so far, just how awful (and awfully coached) the 2016 Rams were.

Hey, Jeff Fisher: Thank God and Greyhound you’re gone.

Keenum had returned to backup status, with the Vikings, behind Sam Bradford, but the latter has a bad knee and Keenum has appeared in eight games, one off the bench and seven as a starter, and the Vikings are 6-2 in those games.

Keenum outperformed Goff last season, Goff’s first in the NFL. The Rams were 4-5 in the nine games Keenum started, which looked a lot better when Goff took over for the final seven games, and the Rams were winless with the rookie at QB.

That was back when many of us figured Goff was a bust — a disaster considering the Rams enormous investment in him.

Goff, however, has been a different player this season, now that Sean McVay is coach and Fisher is not.

Ahead of this season the Rams helped Goff by getting a veteran left tackle with a fine reputation, in Andrew Whitworth, and adding a well-regarded receiver in Sammy Watkins and signing receiver Robert Woods, who leads the team in catches and receiving yards.

Their best victory so far was 35-30 over the Cowboys, in Texas, and 27-17 at Jacksonville, suggesting the Rams have done some good work on the road.

The Vikings’ best victory, in retrospect, was 29-19 over the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. (Two weeks later, the Saints went on a winning streak that remains unbroken.) Keenum had nothing to do with that one, but he was at the controls for victories over the Packers (23-10) and Ravens (24-16) and the Washington Redskins (38-30).

Versus the latter, Keenum passed for 304 yards and four touchdowns, and was having a memorable day until two ill-advised throws led to interceptions in the second half.

Anyway, back to schedules.

Those who like that stat, and it seems to be a large group, considering how often we hear about it, now note that the Rams have the second-toughest schedule in the NFL, from here on out. Based on wins-losses so far.

That includes the Vikings and Saints (also 7-2, like the Rams), and the 8-1 best-in-the-NFL Philadelphia Eagles.

But as we notice, year after tear, a team’s schedule doesn’t really mean much of anything — until it has been played.

Goff versus Keenum on Sunday, a 10 a.m. start, PST.



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