1. LA Rams
The 49ers did not miss a beat when Robert Saleh left to be the head coach of the New York Jets and the LA Rams did not miss a beat when Brandon Staley left to be the head coach of the LA Chargers. Staley undoubtedly had a huge impact on the Rams' defense in 2020 but the team was able to still be one of the best in the league after his departure.
The Rams ranked ninth in points allowed, which probably is a bit high with the team allowing some garbage-time points in shootout wins. That sentiment is backed up by the fact that the Rams ranked fifth in the league in defensive DVOA last season.
Last we checked the Rams still have Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald, who are the life and soul of this defense. The Chargers are replicating that (times two) with Derwin James and Joey Bosa and now J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack. Having legitimate game-changers on the defensive line and secondary is key to turn a complete defense into an elite one.
The Rams certainly have an elite defense. There were some losses on defense but the Rams have been the best team in the league in replacing those losses. LA brought back Troy Hill, who will probably re-find his form back with the Rams, and signed long-time Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner to replace the star power that Von Miller brought.
The Chargers and Rams play on primetime on New Year's Day and it is going to be an absolutely massive game between perhaps the two favorites to make the Super Bowl at that point in the season.
Many will expect the game to be an offensive shootout but with two great defenses going at it, it might surprise some people and be a methodical, lower-scoring battle.