The Los Angeles Rams and second year head coach Sean McVay are all-in for the 2018 NFL season, trading away significant draft capital to sign a plethora of defensive stars, mostly on one-year contracts. The Rams feel that they can win a title this year and the media agrees -- they are certainly an early season favorite to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

The loss of WR Sammy Watkins to Kansas City was off-set by the acquisition of New England Patriots WR Brandin Cooks who has now been traded in back-to-back seasons for a first-round draft pick.

The Rams parted with pick 23 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft to acquire the speedy Cooks. The addition of Ndamukong Suh, shutdown corners Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, plus the best interior lineman in the history of the NFL, Aaron Donald, has the Rams thinking Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Does their schedule provide a clear path to the playoffs?

Early season vs. AFC contenders and division rivals

The 2018 Rams open the season on Monday Night Football Week 1 on the road against the Oakland Raiders and new head coach Jon Gruden. The Raiders are one of the favorites to win the most competitive division in the AFC and the Rams will face all four teams from the AFC West in 2018.

Week 2 finds the Rams at home against division rival Arizona, a team with many question marks, including rookie QB Josh Rosen, drafted 10th overall.

Will Rosen be the starter for the Cardinals in Week 1 or will Arizona turn to oft-injured Sam Bradford?

Week 3, the Rams will be at home against AFC West contender and city compatriot, the Los Angeles Chargers. The other LA team boasts future Hall of Fame QB Phillip Rivers, perhaps the best secondary in the NFL, and everyone is thinking 2018 is the year the Chargers return to the post-season.

Week 4 again finds the Rams at home against the Minnesota Vikings and newly-signed franchise QB Kirk Cousins. The Vikings, fresh off of their 2017 NFC Championship appearance, and with a fearsome front four on defense, are expected to contend for the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIII.

Lengthy road trip

After spending weeks two through four at home, the Rams will embark on a three-week road trip.

Week 5 finds them in Seattle, to face a division foe, and All Pro QB Russell Wilson. The Seahawks are perhaps one of the few teams who did not improve after free agency and the draft. Huge question marks remain on the offensive line and the secondary has been decimated by the departure of Richard Sherman and the injury to Kam Chancellor.

Week 6 finds the Rams in Denver against newly signed QB Case Keenum and a defense remaining fierce, especially after drafting Bradley Chubb fifth overall.

Week 7, the Rams will travel to San Francisco, facing media darling and franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo.

Week 8, the Rams return home to face the Green Bay Packers and future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers. It’s a tough first half of the season and one can envision the Rams going 4-4 at this point, which would be a huge disappointment.

Load lightens heading into the Rams’ Week 12 bye

Week 9, the Rams will travel to New Orleans to face future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees who is virtually unbeatable at home.

Week 10, the Seahawks come to Los Angeles in the second of their two regular season match-ups.

Week 11, the Kansas City Chiefs and new starting QB Patrick Mahomes travel to Los Angeles. Mahomes' development and maturation will be one of the storylines to follow during the upcoming season. Heading into their bye week (Week 12), the Rams could realistically be 6-5, although nobody would be surprised in any way, shape, or form if they’re 11-0.

Push to the playoffs

The NFC is shaping up to be the most competitive playoff race in NFL history during the 2018 NFL season as 13 teams could be in the playoff picture in the final five weeks of the season.

Week 13, the Rams will travel to Detroit to face franchise QB Matthew Stafford and new head coach Matt Patricia.

Week 14, the Rams will travel to Chicago to face second-year QB Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears will be a great unknown heading into the season and one of the NFC teams not expected to contend for a playoff berth.

Week 15, the Rams will be at home against defending champion Philadelphia, where Carson Wentz could be returning from injury.

Week 16, the Rams will be on the road against Arizona and will finish the season at home against the 49ers, a game that many expect could decide the division.

Predicting the Rams' record

Prognosticating is a tough job. Injury is the invariable variable. Injuries are going to happen and are completely unpredictable.

Every NFL player is one play away from a career-ending injury. The Rams are one of the preseason favorites to win a title. I recommend treading with caution because, from start to finish, the Rams' 2018 schedule is difficult.