The 2014 Future Opponents For The St. Louis Rams

Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

When the dust settles from the NFL’s Week 17 matchups, the St. Louis Rams won’t be preparing for a playoff opponent . On that note, let’s have a gander at their 2014 opponents…

The St. Louis Rams are no stranger to tough scheduling. Looking back, the Rams were slated to play the 4th most difficult schedule in 2012…and it didn’t get any easier in 2013. And though official strength of schedules won't be released until after the season comes to an end, current records shed a little light on what the Rams are up against in 2014.

The Rams already play in the toughest division in football; the NFC West. In the upcoming year, they’ll also play the 2nd strongest division [AFC West] and…one of the more unpredictable and chaotic; the NFC East. The NFC West has a combined 40 wins in 2013, with the AFC West not far behind [35]. The NFC East has put together 26 total wins this season, which trumps only the AFC South [22] for league’s worst.

For a closer look, minus the schedule [which will be released in April]…

Home
Away
NFC North*
NFC South*
Arizona Cardinals [Div.]
San Francisco 49ers [Div.]
Seattle Seahawks [Div.]

* indicates the last placed team based on 2013 final standings

A Few Things To Note:


* The Rams will play [at least] half of their season against teams with double-digit teams from 2013. The Broncos, Chiefs, and remainder of the NFC West have already secured 10+ wins. A win for the Eagles on Sunday night could make it nine games against double-digit win teams from 2013.

* The Rams will not know one of their ‘*’ opponents until after Week 17. The Minnesota Vikings [4 wins] have locked up last place in the NFC North and will head to St. Louis at some point next season. The away game for the Rams [last place in the NFC South] won’t be determined until Sunday. The 4-11 Atlanta Falcons will host the Carolina Panthers, who look to lock in the top seed in the North. Another potential opponent could be the 4-win Buccaneers, who head to New Orleans to face a Saints team still vying for a wild card spot, despite having already won 10 games. A loss for both [Bucs and Falcons], and the Rams will be heading to Tampa Bay in 2014.

* In eleven of the Rams’ 16 games they’ll face a 1,000+ yard running back from 2013: Lesean McCoy [1,476 yards; 1st], Jamaal Charles [1,287 yards, 2nd], Adrian Peterson [1,266; 3rd], Alfred Morris [1,213; 5th], Marshawn Lynch [1,160; 6th], Frank Gore [1,114; 7th], Ryan Mathews [1,111; 9th], DeMarco Murray [1,073; 10th], and Knowshon Moreno [1,015; 11th].

* The Rams’ offense will face some of the NFL’s toughest defenses [again] in 2014. The Seahawks, 49ers, and Chiefs rank 2-4 in points per game in 2013 [14.8, 16.8, and 18.5 respectively]. On the bright side, they also play the Raiders [27.9; 28th], Falcons [28.1; 29th], Redskins [30.5; 31st], and Vikings [31.1; 32nd].

* The Rams currently rank 26th in the NFL in yards per game, with 314.6. They’ll face two of 2013’s most potent offenses next season when they take on the Broncos [457.3 ypg; 1st] and the Eagles [420.7 ypg; 2nd].

* The Rams will head to Washin…Landover, Maryland to face the Redskins at some point next season. The RG3 trade - at this point - has been far more favorable to the Rams. The Rams have already received seven draft picks courtesy of that trade and an eighth [potentially more] can be had if the Rams stay put at what is currently a 2nd overall pick in the 2014 Draft.

The Rams still have the chance - with a win in Seattle - to finish the season with a .500 record. That’s something that they haven’t been able to do since 2006. Having the youngest team in the NFL, and having lost their starting QB, Sam Bradford, in Week 7, an 8-8 season is far better than most would have expected.

In terms of strength of schedule, it doesn’t appear that things will get much easier for the Rams in 2014. The Rams’ 2014 opponents currently have a record of 102-93-1 [.526] which would be good for about the 6th toughest strength of schedule prior to the onset of the 2013 season.

What games are you most looking forward to in 2014? What opponents worry you the most? Which games could you see the Rams playing spoiler? Early predictions on the Rams’ finish to the 2014 NFL season?


You can follow Brandon Bate and Turf Show Times on Twitter at:


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