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Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley may be the key to a successful playoff run for LA as the bye week closes.

An off week for the Los Angeles Rams will end, as they ramp up for Week 9 and a game against the New York Giants.

The Rams will travel east for a game against a 1-6 New York team whose offensive struggles, especially on the line, have NFL pundits and fans already wondering if the Giants have seen the best of veteran quarterback Eli Manning.

Los Angeles will roll into NY, or New Jersey to be geographically accurate, with a 5-2 record to kick off what is, in effect, part two of a season where expectations are running high.

One big part of the first seven games has been the play of running back Todd Gurley, who has put the doldrums of a sophomore slump behind him and may be in line for postseason honors.

I’d bet he’d settle for postseason play instead.

For the Rams, any success after the bye week will have Gurley leading the way offensively. As efficient and management like second year quarterback Jared Goff has been, it’ll be the LA running back who will carry this team into the latter fall and holiday months.

Gurley, who has rushed for 627 yards through these first seven games, is clearly on pace to erase a disappointing 2016. To add to his numbers on the ground, he’s also managed to be a reliable pass catcher out of the backfield, with 27 receptions for another 293.

That’s the kind of production that has helped Goff improve form a dismal seven games his rookie season, to a solid first seven games in 2017.

Count on Gurley to continue as a feature for the Rams as the bye week comes to a close.

They’ll need him to be, if they want to play beyond New Year’s Eve.

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A big reason the Los Angeles Rams rank No. 1 in points scored is because of Todd Gurley. He’s no longer a one-dimensional back who’s a traditional runner. This season, Gurley has become a true three-down back capable of dominating in every facet of the offense.

Coach Sean McVay’s offensive scheme has certainly helped turn Gurley into a more dynamic weapon after struggling under Jeff Fisher last season, but the third-year back has done plenty of his own work, too — and McVay knows it.

“I think any time you’re able to have some success, it helps,” McVay said on the Rich Eisen Show. “The thing about Todd, though, is from the day I met Todd, he’s had that swagger and that confidence. It’s great to see him performing at such a high level.”

Gurley ranks second in the league in rushing, has scored the most touchdowns (eight) and is on pace for more than 1,400 yards rushing and 670 receiving. That would be quite the feat after he failed to reach 1,000 yards on the ground last season.

Without him, the Rams offense doesn’t look the way it does today. There’s a reason he’s already touched the ball 172 times in just seven games. It’s because he’s one of the best players in the league.

“He makes you look good as a coach because you get special players like that, but they’re also special people in terms of the way they lead and bring others with them,” McVay continued. “I think you’re seeing a complete back right now. He’s playing well in all phases. He’s protecting well, understands the little nuances of the position. And I think you can just see in the pass game, making the most of his opportunities. And I also think it’s a credit to Jared being able to get through the progressions where he’s an outlet.”

With Gurley controlling the offense and Goff taking care of the football, the Rams have one of the best young duos in the NFL. As long as they can stay healthy, L.A. could be a legitimate contender in the NFC.

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