clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Parsing the Rams' schedule: Can you see eight wins from here?

New, comments
Steven Jackson and the St. Louis Rams have a schedule that could help them surprise the league.
Steven Jackson and the St. Louis Rams have a schedule that could help them surprise the league.

Through six weeks the St. Louis Rams own a surprising 3-3 record, and it could have been better. More surprising is that these Rams, having already tripled their win total from a year ago, find themselves in the running for a division title. 

But plenty of football remains. Some look at the Rams' schedule and still only see 5-6 wins. Naturally, injuries can change a season faster than anything, and the Rams still lack enough depth to compete should they lose key players for significant amounts of time. Setting that aside, it's worth going through the rest of the Rams schedule with a rational look at what kind of record is possible.

Week 7 - at Tampa Bay
No game is a "gimme" and to set themselves apart, the Rams have to convincingly beat teams that they outmatch. The Bucs rank among the bottom of the league on offense and defense. Still, they have a better record than a Rams team that desperately needs a road win to make themselves legit. 
Van's difficultly meter (1-5 stars, 5 being most difficult): two stars...the extra star is because of that whole haven't won on the road thing. 

Week 8 - vs Carolina
This is the most winnable game on the schedule right now. Carolina is terrible and playing the Rams at home where they've been very good. The trick here will be for Spagnuolo to have his team playing Carolina as air tight as they played Seattle or San Diego. 
Van's difficultly meter: one star

Week 10 - at San Francisco
Who knows what to expect from the 49ers? One thing you can count on is that they won't be looking to lose to the Rams, especially when salvaging their season depends exclusively on running the table in their remaining division games. I still think this a tough one for the Rams.
Van's difficultly meter: four stars

Week 11 - vs Atlanta
They beat the reigning champs and narrowly lost to the Steelers. This team is a legitimate contender for the best team in the NFC right now. Issues in their pass defense could be their Achilles heel against the Rams.
Van's difficultly meter: five stars

Week 12 - at Denver
Denver is not a very good team this year. Like San Diego, the Broncos own a vicious passing offense led by Kyle Orton (?). The Rams pass rush has helped them stop prolific passers, except for Detroit. They'll also need to have established themselves as able to play on the road.
Van's difficultly meter: two stars 

Week 13 - at Arizona
This is a hard one to read. However, the Cardinals are coming off a great win over the Saints, which mostly had to do with their defense. Chris Long and the Rams defense have a great matchup against a rookie QB, but Sam Bradford and Co. will have to erase memories of opening week to get past them. 
Van's difficultly meter: four stars

Week 14 - at New Orleans
It seems like everyone's beating the champs this year, at least the Falcons and Cardinals...bird-flavored teams. So what about an animal flavored team like the Rams? Obviously, it won't be easy. The defense will have its hands full, even though the Saints' offense has come back down to Earth a little bit this season. Spagnuolo ought to have his team geared up to get back a game they could have won last year. 
Van's difficultly meter: five stars

Week 15 - vs Kansas City
This seemed like one of the easier games of the season just a couple months ago. Now, it's one of the more difficult. However, KC lost their last two games, and their 3-0 start came against the Chargers, Browns and 49ers. How they respond in the weeks ahead will say plenty about their chances against the Rams. Their running game could give the Rams defense fits, but if they can shut it down, smother Bowe with Bartell and force Matt Cassell to do the heavy lifting they have a chance. 
Van's difficultly meter: three stars

Week 16 - vs San Francisco
I've given the Rams slightly less difficult rating against division rivals at home. But these are still tough games. San Francisco should be out of the chase by this point, though crazy Mike could have them fired up to play the role of spoiler. I still think SF is a more dangerous team for the Rams than the Cardinals. 
Van's difficultly meter: three stars

Week 17 - at Seattle
Seattle at home adds a star to the difficulty rating, and this game could have serious ramifications for the NFC West title. A win at Seattle might be just as big a feather in Spagnuolo's cap as the division crown, though it looks like a package deal from here. Injuries could have a lot to say about this game for both teams. 
Van's difficultly meter: four stars

Winning feeds itself, so if the Rams can head into their week 9 bye coming off two victories against Tampa and Carolina, it could snowball. It's not easy, but 8 wins is not improbable for the Rams if they continue to get a little better, play a little tighter as the season goes on AND avoid injuries.