You can tell the 2013 NFL season is here. Know how? Because power rankings are back. SB Nation rolled out its weekly rankings Tuesday morning, using votes from the NFL bloggers to decide where teams stand on the eve of the regular season. And where did the St. Louis Rams land in the order?
No. 19 - St. Louis Rams
No more excuses for Sam Bradford. He has a legit offensive line and talented receivers around him. However, the receivers and running backs have fewer than 2,000 career yards from scrimmage between them. Jeff Fisher has built a defense capable of hanging with division rivals San Francisco and Seattle. Can the offense do the same?
I'm not completely surprised by that ranking, though it's too low in my opinion. Blogger votes varied widely. One put the Rams as high as No. 12 on the list, and there were a couple votes for No. 15 and No. 17. Overall, most voters had the Rams in the 20s, with the lowest being a vote for No. 29.
It's not unexpected. The Rams are a bit of a mystery to most people. Is this the team that had the best record in the NFC West or is this the team that lost ugly games to the Vikings, Dolphins and Lions last year? We have a pretty good idea of which version we'll get in 2013. Others need more precedent.
I predicted an 8-8 record for the Rams this year, mostly because the lack of experience and a tough schedule. More than anything, the Rams need to beat teams like the Cardinals or the Panthers or the Titans and so on. Good teams, rising teams reveal themselves by taking home wins against inferior competition, which the Rams didn't do last year. This year's group should do that, but those superior opponents won't be as likely to get caught sleeping against St. Louis this year.