USA Today

Who runs Los Angeles? If you ask the Rams, they’ll say they do. Yes, the landscape of the sports scene has been altered by the Rams-Charger move and LeBron James coming to town (sorry, Clippers fans).

Yet, while the City of the Angels bows to LeBron and the Lakers, they aren’t the only star-studded show anymore after the Rams posted a dazzling, 38-31 victory Thursday night against National Football Conference contenders the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings refused to buckle, despite getting out-gunned and overwhelmed by their hosts. But, the Rams showed just why they rank among the favorites to win a Super Bowl. They are elite and after the Vikings game, stamped their name as the top team in the NFC and perhaps the NFL. The Rams are loaded at every position since star quarterback Jared Goff is on a rookie contract. But, after last year (and thus far this year) a $100 million deal is on the way.

Is Goff an elite this young in his career? He was electric in picking apart the Vikings’ defense, which came into the season as one of the league’s premier units. The third-year pro sure is playing like a choice QB. In the first half, his stat line looked better than some starters’ entire games. In the second quarter alone, he completed six of eight passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns. The Rams just have so many weapons a defense has to account for. And, with an offense mastermind at their helm, the league might be witnessing future Super Bowl champions in the making.

Indeed, Thursday’s matchup was a thrilling QB’s duel. The victor, Jared Goff went 26-for-33 for 465 yards and five touchdowns — and no interceptions. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins completed 34 of 48 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. After a rough rookie year, Goff broke out 28 touchdowns, seven interception and a passer rating over 100 in 2017. But, he’s pushed things even further in 2018. Through four games, he’s emerged as an NFL MVP candidate.

The Rams were scary in 2017 when a more conservative version of Goff took advantage of teams that had to stop Gurley, too. Just think, one of the league’s best offenses played conservatively at times. But now, with more talent at the wideout positions, the offense seems invulnerable. With the improved, aggressive Goff, the Rams have scored at least 33 points in each of their games to win by double digits weekly. They haven’t done much different schematically from last year, they’re just better.

Their offense still leans on Gurley and uses Goff in a similar amount from 2017. The difference is, the quarterback is completing passes he didn’t make last year. He’s finding tight windows down the field and playing with a swag not seen since Kurt Warner guided the greatest show on turf to a Super Bowl. L.A., the Rams takeover is underway!

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