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Given the rich history and popularity of American football in Los Angeles, not to mention the huge population of the metropolitan area and surrounding suburbs, it’s always amazing to think that the city went two decades without being home to any NFL franchise. Now there are two and they are battling for dominance of a fan base looking to pin their colors to one mast.

Although fans of both teams would have expected much better in 2019, neither the Rams nor the Chargers were able to deliver the goods.

Both the LA Rams and the LA Chargers have now moved into the fantastic new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, and over the course of the 2020-2021 NFL season, each franchise will be working hard to keep developing their base of support. Of course, the biggest attraction for people to follow any team is typically sporting success.

Amusingly, one NFL beat writer insists that the “Battle of Los Angeles” is already over, ahead of the new season. He suggested that in terms of salary cap space, franchise branding and uniforms, plus the potential rosters for the next few years, the Chargers are way ahead of the Rams. He could have a point about the uniforms, although everything else is wide open for debate.

Head to Head Record

Since both teams returned to Los Angeles, the Rams have enjoyed two excellent campaigns out of four since 2016, while the Chargers have had just one run to the Divisional Playoffs in 2018 during the last three years, since making their move back to the City of Angels. Coincidentally, that 2018 playoff run was ended by the New England Patriots, who would then go on to beat the Rams at Super Bowl LIII.

Although fans of both teams would have expected much better in 2019, neither the Rams nor the Chargers were able to deliver the goods. The Rams finished third in the NFC West with a disappointing 9-7 record, while the Chargers fared even worse, slumping to fourth in the AFC West with their dismal 5-11 regular season record.

Given that neither team made the playoffs last season, that must be the minimum expectation for both franchises in 2020, with fans of the Rams and the Chargers hoping to enjoy some postseason playoff action this year. If the two opening NFL weekends are any indication, there’s plenty to indicate that both teams might get there.

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The Rams have made better start in 2020, beating the Dallas Cowboys (20-17) and the Philadelphia Eagles (37-19). Meanwhile, the Chargers won their opening game against the Cincinnati Bengals (16-13), then slipped to an agonizing OT 20-23 defeat against Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning NFL champions.

Key Fantasy Players

While some readers will obviously be a little more partisan with their thoughts and opinions, depending on whether they favor the Rams or the Chargers, those following the latest fantasy football news usually tend to stick with the numbers, leaning towards players that the statistics rank the highest. Beyond the data, we all have our favorites, although this is a straight up look at how key players are performing so far.

After the opening two weeks, Jared Goff with the Rams is amongst the top ten NFL quarterbacks for passing yards, although he doesn’t even make the top twenty for attempts and completion, which is a concern. As the Chargers cope with life after Philip Rivers, quarterback duties have been split between veteran Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert. Statistically, it’s Herbert who looks the much better option.

According to pff.com player rankings, both the Rams and the Chargers have great half back options. Austin Ekeler with the Chargers and Austin Ekeler with the Rams both rate amongst the top five in the NFL after two games. As for guards, Joseph Noteboom of the Rams and Tyree St. Louis of the Chargers both rank within the top ten. Andrew Whitworth is currently the best tackle in the league for the Rams.

Denzel Perryman and Kyzir White make for the best due of linebackers with the Chargers, and they’re the only pair of players from the same team that feature together in the top ten, while Joey Bosa remains one of the very best edge defenders in the league, with realistic possibilities of becoming the 2020 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Unfortunately, the Rams don’t have defensive players rating anywhere near as highly.

Team Expectations

If the opening two games are any indication, the positive start by the Rams would indicate they have the best chance of making the playoffs, if the good form can be maintained. Rather than exceptional individual player performances, the two opening games of the NFL season have come from solid team displays, which is great for the fans but not so much for those looking for fantasy players.

Finally, although most sportsbooks and football pundits regard 2020 as perhaps being another transitional year for the Chargers, their opening two games might indicate otherwise. Despite having already lost one game, that defeat was against the reigning NFL champions and needed overtime to decide the outcome. Individually, the Chargers’ roster features some good fantasy player options, plus this team could be a dark horse for the playoffs.

Tiqua Jackson