Rams’ 2023 NFL schedule appears easier than 2022 but September is daunting

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald waits in the tunnel before being introduced at SoFi Stadium.
Star defensive tackle Aaron Donald is ready to lead the Rams into another season, starting with two NFC West games.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams apparently are no longer ready for prime time.

Last season, the Super Bowl LVI champions nosedived to a 5-12 finish.

Their reward?

A seemingly easier schedule — at least theoretically — though a start that includes a Sept. 10 opener at Seattle, a home game against the San Francisco 49ers and a “Monday Night Football” road game at Cincinnati could leave the Rams winless in September.


Under coach Sean McVay, the Rams are accustomed to making five prime-time appearances. But the game against the Bengals, and a late-season Thursday night game against the New Orleans Saints are the only prime-time games.

The Rams play preseason games against the Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium and on the road at Denver.

NFL teams are only given a 30-hour head start ahead of the schedule release. Here’s how the Rams executed their schedule release plans.

May 11, 2023

A game-by-game look at the regular-season schedule (all times Pacific):

Sept. 10, at Seattle, 1:25 p.m. (Fox): After a one-season stopover with the Rams, linebacker Bobby Wagner is back with the team that drafted and developed the six-time All-Pro.

Sept. 17, SAN FRANCISCO, 1:05 p.m. (Fox): The Rams’ home opener easily could turn into another 49ers’ fanfest. But will 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy have recovered from surgery?

Sept. 25, at Cincinnati, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN): Quarterback Joe Burrow is expected to receive a massive payday before the Bengals begin a run for their second Super Bowl appearance in three seasons.

Oct. 1, at Indianapolis, 10 a.m. (Fox): The Colts selected quarterback Anthony Richardson with the No. 4 pick in the draft. Richardson will lead a team that features former Rams kicker Matt Gay.


Oct. 8, PHILADELPHIA, 1:05 p.m. (Fox): The Eagles rewarded quarterback Jalen Hurts with a new contract. Now he must not only take them to the Super Bowl, but also win it.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts points with both hands as he celebrates a touchdown run by Kenneth Gainwell.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts aims to point the Philadelphia Eagles to another Super Bowl appearance.
(Chris Szagola / Associated Press)

Oct. 15, ARIZONA, 1:25 p.m. (Fox): Quarterback Kyler Murray is not expected to play until midseason, with the Cardinals clearly eyeing the 2024 draft.

Oct. 22, PITTSBURGH, 1:05 p.m. (Fox): The Rams were unhappy with receiver Allen Robinson’s performance last season. Now they are paying $10 million for him to play for the Steelers.

Oct. 29, at Dallas, 10 a.m. (Fox): If Dak Prescott can avoid another early-season injury, the Cowboys should contend with the Eagles and New York Giants in the NFC East.

Nov. 5, at Green Bay, 10 a.m. (Fox): In what is becoming an annual trip to Lambeau Field, the Rams are happy to face Jordan Love rather than Aaron Rodgers.


Nov. 12, off week.

Nov. 19, SEATTLE, 1:25 p.m. (CBS): After last season’s outstanding performance, the Seahawks re-signed veteran quarterback Geno Smith and then loaded up in the draft.

Nov. 26, at Arizona, 1:05 p.m., (Fox): The Cardinals hired former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Two months later, star safety Budda Baker made it known he wants to be traded.

Dec. 3, CLEVELAND, 1:25 p.m., (Fox): Embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson will have a full season to prove the Browns were correct — or crazy — to fully guarantee him $230 million.

Even after suffering his first long-term injury, Rams’ star Aaron Donald never considered retirement, saying he could not leave following such a disappointing season.

May 10, 2023

Dec. 10, at Baltimore, 10 a.m. (Fox): Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. helped the Rams win a Super Bowl. Quarterback Lamar Jackson hopes he will do the same for the Ravens.

Dec. 17, WASHINGTON, 1:05 p.m. (CBS): The sale of the Commanders is expected to be completed before the opener but coach Ron Rivera’s team still looks bargain-basement quality.

Dec. 21, NEW ORLEANS, 5:15 p.m. (Prime Video): Derek Carr could not beat the Rams in a Thursday night game with the Raiders. The odds of that happening did not improve with his move to the Saints.


Dec. 31, at New York Giants, 10 a.m. (Fox): Second-year coach Brian Daboll and newly extended quarterback Daniel Jones aim to build off last season’s playoff appearance.

Date TBA, at San Francisco, TBD (TBD): The 49ers signed defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, another disruptive force for a defensive front that includes Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead.