The 33-year-old will make his Rams regular-season debut against the Chicago Bears.
Los Angeles made the first blockbuster trade of the offseason to acquire Stafford from the Detroit Lions. In order to do that, the team had to send Jared Goff and three draft picks, including first-rounders in 2022 and 2023, to the Lions.
One reason the Rams may have felt they needed to make a change at quarterback is because of their division. The NFC West looks loaded heading into this season. The Seattle Seahawks won 12 games last year. The Arizona Cardinals are on the rise after an 8-8 campaign, and the San Francisco 49ers should be better by default because their roster was decimated by injuries in 2020.
With the NFL's release of the 2021 regular-season schedule, here's the path that the Rams will take in their quest to get back to the playoffs.
2021 Rams Regular-Season Schedule
The Rams won 10 games last year on the strength of their defense, which led the league in points allowed (296) and features reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.
Head coach Sean McVay has a reputation as one of the league's best offensive minds, but that unit has been hindered over the past two seasons because of Goff's erratic play. He had thrown for 8,590 yards since the start of 2019 but had just 42 touchdowns and 29 interceptions during that span.
Stafford has succeeded throughout his career, despite playing for a Lions organization that often seemed to lack a definitive plan. He joins a Rams offense that features Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, rookie Tutu Atwell and DeSean Jackson after throwing for 4,084 yards and 26 touchdowns last year in Detroit.
The strength of schedule doesn't do the Rams any favors. They have the second-hardest schedule in the league based on 2020 winning percentage, per Katie Richcreek of The Action Network.
Los Angeles will play eight of its 17 games against teams that made the playoffs last season. That group includes matchups with the Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If the Rams are going to make the postseason again, they are going to have to earn it against this schedule.
The Rams won 10 games last season despite having a 3-3 record in the NFC West. That speaks to the amount of talent within the division, but it also points to how easy their schedule was outside of the Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals.
For instance, Los Angeles won all four of its games against the NFC East. Its only win outside of the division against an opponent that finished the season with a winning record was in Week 11 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Things figure to be far more difficult this season. The Rams have lost their last four games against the Niners dating back to 2019.
While there are certainly winnable games on the schedule, including against Lions, Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and Houston Texans, the majority of their opponents have a chance to compete for a postseason spot in 2021.
The measuring-stick games for the Rams will be against the Seahawks in their own division, as well as against the Packers and Bucs.