The Los Angeles Rams' 10-1 won-loss record and lofty offensive ratings are enough to show what the Detroit Lions are up against at Ford Field Sunday.
In the Rams' case, the numbers don't lie. They're good – scary good for a struggling team facing them.
As the Rams return from a bye, the season is just starting in the mind of Aqib Talib, a five-time Pro Bowl cornerback and member of the 2015 season Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos who has returned to practice from the injured list.
"The season – real season – starts right now," Talib told reporters covering the Rams earlier this week. "If you plan on doing something, you should have about eight games left. Your last eight games, you should be working harder than the first 11."
Talib's eight-game projection would take the Rams to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
There's a long way to go before anybody gets to the Super Bowl, but the Rams can take one more step in that direction Sunday. They need only a victory or a tie to clinch first place in the NFC West for the second straight year. Second-place Seattle (6-5) is five games behind.
Meet this weeks opponents, the Los Angeles Rams.
The stars are aligning at the right time for the Rams to make a Super Bowl push.
One of those stars is second-year head coach Sean McVay, who was only 31 when the Rams hired him last year.
McVay brought with him a reputation for having a keen offensive mind that was developed over nine NFL seasons as an assistant coach. He was Washington's offensive coordinator the last three.
McVay got instant results. The Rams' record improved from 4-12 to 11-5. The offense – his specialty – skyrocketed from last in the league in yards (262.7) and points per game (14) in 2016 to first in points (29.9) and 10th in yards (361.5).
Third-year quarterback Jared Goff, drafted first overall in 2016, has benefitted from McVay's presence. Goff is headed for a second straight Pro Bowl with 26 TD passes against six interceptions.
Goff is blessed with a talented supporting cast.
Todd Gurley, second in the league in rushing with 1,043 yards and first with 13 TDs, already has his third 1,000-yard season in four years.
Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, with 59 catches each, form a lethal receiving duo. Cooks has 964 receiving yards. Woods has 904.
And on defense, tackle Aaron Donald is playing like Aaron Donald. In other words, the league's best defensive player – voted the defensive MVP a year ago – is playing to his own standard of supreme excellence with a league-high 14.5 sacks.
In a city that demands star power and style points to go with performance in its sports teams – college and pro -- the Rams are giving the L.A. glitz crowd the entertainment it expects in its arenas and stadiums.
There was no higher level of that than the Rams' last game – a 54-51 victory over the Chiefs in a Monday Night TV game that had the trappings of a heavyweight championship fight.
Goff threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 478 yards and six TDs, but he also had three interceptions and lost two fumbles.
"It was a crazy game ... crazy game," Goff told reporters. "It was back and forth the whole game."
Goff was asked if it felt like an NBA game.
"It felt like a college game, is what it felt like," Goff said. "It was a lot of fun."
It is a tribute to the Rams' collection of stars that in a game that looked like a 100-yard relay race, back and forth to the end zone, a defensive player could steal some of the limelight.
Donald dominated the interior. He sacked Mahomes twice, forcing fumbles both times. Linebacker Samson Ebukam returned one fumble for a TD and added a second TD on an interception return.
"Our defense made the plays when they had to," Goff said. "Whenever we need it, they get it done."