I was reading mike sando's ESPN piece about which playoff teams have the toughest road back to the post season and which are most likely to make it next year. Granted there is a full offseason to go and this seasons winning percentage means little next year. However, as i am reading the wonderful article, i noticed that the worlds "St Louis Rams" was appearing early and often under "next season opponents". Do the Rams really have to line up across from so many playoff teams. To the internet! Answers to all of life's questions! Short answer is... yes...yes we do. Part of that is playing in a very tough division; we face the two participants of the NFC championship twice... each. Add in a winning record with the cardinals and thats 6 games against teams over 500. Not a great start, but nothing we didnt know before the internet answered all.
The difficult part comes in as we are slated to face the AFC West next season. Yes, that same division that just boasted the best season every by a QB, a team that started the season 9-0 and another playoff team to boot. So for those counting at home, we have the NFC championship game twice, and the division that sent three teams to the playoffs. But we also have the Raiders, so theres that.
Next we face the NFC east... again. There is the eagles, who made the playoffs thanks to spectacular QB play, the cowboys who are usually good for a win if it isnt december, the skins and the giants. Personally, I think the entire division is prime for some bounce back, but that is speculation. Quantitate evidence suggests that this should not be too tough, thanks to a weak winning %. Yay.
Now is where I am unsure of who we play for the final two games. stlouisrams.com suggests that we play the NFC North "same place equivalent" in what can be politely called a diction nightmare. My understand is that since we finished 3rd in the division, we would play the 3rd place finisher in the NFC North... the detroit lions. goody. For more speculation, that team is too talented to be below 500 again. But they are the Lions, so all bets are off. either way, that should be a good tough game, at least its at home.
If I am right about the Lions, then we would also face the 3rd place team in the NFC south, on the road. Ok, it was a very top heavy division this year, the 3rd place team shouldnt be too good. Oh... its the Falcons... at home. Maybe this season was a sign of whats to come for the falcons, but I think most would be projection a bonce backs season. Regardless, I dont like the falcons at home being our second easiest game based on winning %.
In summary: we have 5 games against teams with a losing record, including the falcons and lions, and another against a 500 team in the cowboys. The remaining 10 games (!) are against teams that had a wining record this past season. Now as I mentioned earlier, alot can change. I can see the chiefs and chargers taking steps back, the giants and redskins can continue to struggle, and god help us all if Peyton has a better year than the one he just had. Maybe Russell WIlson will get into a fight with Colin Kapernick on route 101 and knock each other out for the season. Maybe Richard Sherman will take so much adderall that he goes back to school to complete his masters. Either way, the rams are looking for a tough schedule next season. So wheres the hope?
The arent too shabby either. A bunch of those games are at home, where under fisher we havent been an easy out. We have a gluttonous amount of picks coming our way this year, enough for me to delay my purchase of madden until i can have the full bounty of the RGIII trade. The best hope I can offer is that when we are beating the crap out of those teams, their winning % in 2013 wont mean much in 2014. I will be sure to thank Peyton for beating the seahawks while robert quinn is spoon feeding him the turf.