NFC West race will come down to QB play, says Rams legend Marshall Faulk

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The Los Angeles Rams are entering the regular season with championship-or-bust expectations, as they currently own the second-best odds to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 56.

But will the franchise -- now spearheaded by big-play veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford -- reach the postseason as a division winner or wild card?

"It comes down to quarterback play, if you look at the dynamic of those [NFC West] teams," Rams legend and Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk told the Tiki and Tierney show on Wednesday. "All of them play good defense. They have sporadic offenses that can actually put up points. But when the quarterback turns the ball over, it killed the Rams last year...

"It's an issue they have because all these teams, defensively, they play pretty strong and they're pretty stout. They have some game-changers on defense, and you have to account for these guys. I think it comes down to quarterback play. This is why Matthew Stafford was brought in for Jared Goff..."

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Stafford, who was part of a blockbuster deal between the Rams and Lions in January, spent 12 seasons with Detroit, and finished the 2020 campaign with 4,084 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions in 16 games. Since the trade didn't include an extension or a pay raise, Los Angeles has inherited the two years and $43 million remaining on Stafford's contract.

Although the Rams finished 10-6 and reached the divisional round of the playoffs last season, their offense wasn't up to snuff. With fifth-year starter Jared Goff under center, they ranked 22nd in the NFL in average points (23.3) and 25th in percentage of drives ending with an offensive score (34.2).

Los Angeles will host the Chicago Bears on Sunday night at SoFi Stadium. According to the William Hill Sportsbook, the Rams have the second-best odds (+190) to win the NFC West, and Stafford has the seventh-best odds (+1800) to win league MVP.

The entire NFL conversation between Faulk and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the Tiki and Tierney Show on Twitter @TikiAndTierney and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.