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NFL power rankings, Week 16: Nearing the end

The Rams have earned some respect this year.

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The losses have been hard to take. Go back to the start of the season, in Detroit, a game the Rams should have won. Go down the list from there: Chicago, the Jets, Week 10 at San Francisco, the Vikings and Miami ... all games the Rams should have won.

But the wins have been impressive too, and that's earned the Rams some respect, some. You see that reflected in the power rankings these days too. The latest from SB Nation has the Rams at No. 20, down one spot and sandwiched between the Dolphins (I disagree there) and the Panthers.

20. St. Louis Rams (LW: 19, 6-7-1): A seven or eight win season would raise expectations in St. Louis for next season.

Oh, expectations are already raised. The Rams wrap up the season with road games in Tampa Bay and Seattle. Neither one should be taken lightly for a team with just two road wins and a tie this season.

Keep a close eye on what happens down the stretch. If the Rams can shake off last week's turd against the Vikings and put together competent performances to finish the season, it could portend a big leap next year, a sign that things are coming together for a young team.