RAMS (0-0) vs. BEARS (0-0)
When: 5:20 p.m. Sunday
Where: SoFi Stadium
TV/Radio: Channel 4, 710-AM, 93.1-FM, 1330-AM (Spanish)
Line: Rams by 7-1/2
Notable injury designations: Rams: RB Cam Akers (Achilles) is on injured reserve; no other starters are out this week.
Bears: NT Eddie Goldman (doubtful; knee, ankle), WR Darnell Mooney (questionable, back), OLB Khalil Mack (questionable, groin), OLB Robert Quinn (questionable, back), S Tashaun Gipson (questionable, back); S Eddie Jackson (questionable, wrist).
What’s at stake?: Amid changes, the Rams try to continue their knack for starting seasons fast. They haven’t been below .500 at any point in Sean McVay’s time as coach, thanks to their 4-0 record in opening games. A powerful showing against the Bears, whom they beat 17-7 and 24-10 the past two years, would say good things about the Matthew Stafford-led offense.
Who’s better?: The Rams. Like them, the Bears have a new quarterback in Andy Dalton and defensive coordinator in Sean Desai. While the Rams come off a 10-6 season and first-round playoff win, and hope Stafford takes them farther, the Bears were 8-8 and lost seven of 10 before a quick playoff exit, and Dalton could replaced soon by 11th overall draft pick Justin Fields.
Matchup to watch: Rams CB Jalen Ramsey vs. Bears WR Allen Robinson. A top-10 receiver, Robinson has been contained in both games since Ramsey joined the Rams in mid-2019, catching four passes in each of those defense-oriented L.A. victories. Ramsey’s skills allow him to play all over the field, wherever he’s needed, but Robinson should be a focus.
Rams win if …: If Stafford and his wide assortment of receiver options look as in sync in their first real game as they usually have in practice and scrimmages. If Aaron Donald can put pressure on Dalton; the Rams sacked him five times in their 24-10 win over the Bengals in 2019, and sacked then-Bears QB Nick Foles four times last year. If Rams fans remember when to make noise and when to be quiet.
Fantasy pick: Rams RB Sony Michel. His grasp of the playbook and his eventual role are unclear 18 days after he was acquired from the Patriots. But one thing McVay knows Michel can do right away is score touchdowns in goal-line situations (see Super Bowl LIII).
Prediction: Rams 27, Bears 13. McVay’s Rams aren’t just 4-0 in season openers, they’re 4-0 against the point spread in those games. Stafford’s Rams debut, SoFi Stadium’s first real game with a crowd, and a victory would make for a joyous beginning.