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Early lines show Rams favored in just five games

OXNARD, Calif. -- Late last week, Cantor Technology unveiled its early game-by-game lines for 16 weeks of the NFL season. If those lines hold true (and they won't), the Los Angeles Rams could be in for a long season.

Going through the lines weekly, Cantor has the Rams favored in just five of their 15 projected games, underdogs in nine of them and a pick 'em in one. Cantor did not put out a line for week 17 because of the variance of teams resting players for the playoffs and other factors.

The Rams are favored in both games against San Francisco and at home against Buffalo, Miami and Atlanta. The team's game in London against the New York Giants is considered a coin flip and the Rams are underdogs on the rest of the schedule.

Of course, most of these games have the Rams in close battles, something that's been a common occurrence under coach Jeff Fisher. Eight of the games have point differentials of a field goal or less and all but two of the games are projected to be decided by more than one possession.

Naturally, these lines will change a lot as the games draw near but the one thing that jumps out is seeing the Rams as four-point underdogs at home against Seattle in Week 2 and then 10-point underdogs against the Seahawks in Week 15. It's not unusual that Seattle is favored so much as the healthy lines on both games.

The Rams and Seahawks have generally had close battles in the four years since Fisher took over, with the teams splitting their eight meetings. The Rams swept the Seahawks last year and have been particularly good at home against Seattle. That's not to say they'll repeat that but it's reasonable to think the Rams will keep it a bit closer, if not win, at least one of those contests.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of the weekend's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... On Friday, we took a look at running back Todd Gurley's opportunity to go through a full offseason program for the first time and how he's embracing California. ... Rookie quarterback Jared Goff is willing to add southern California teams to his sports fandom. ... Receiver Stedman Bailey is attending OTAs but his football future remains uncertain. ... In Saturday's mailbag, we looked at the team's high hopes for its undrafted rookie class. ... Sunday's mailbag focused on the Rams' relative youth on the depth chart at defensive tackle.

Elsewhere:

Field Yates and Antonio Pierce discussed whether the Rams' changes on defense will hurt that group in 2016.

Pierce and Trey Wingo wonder whether Gurley's weight loss is a good or bad thing.

Sheil Kapadia looks at five quarterbacks who thrived and five who failed against the blitz in 2015.

Matt Bowen served up five plays NFL offenses need to run more.

Saints reporter Mike Triplett reported that former Rams tight end Henry Childs died at 65.

DailyNews.com's Vinny Bonsignore writes that cornerback E.J. Gaines is expected to play a big role in 2016.

At LATimes.com Gary Klein writes that linebacker Alec Ogletree is finding his comfort level at his new position.