We've almost got the full list of who the Rams will be playing in 2015. Here's how it looks right now:
|Rams 2015 opponents|
|Chicago Bears||@ Green Bay Packers|
|Detroit Lions||@ Minnesota Vikings|
|Cleveland Browns||@ Baltimore Ravens|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||@ Cincinnati Bengals|
|TBD||Same-Seed NFC South||TBD||@ Same-Seed NFC East|
|Arizona Cardinals||@ Arizona Cardinals|
|San Francisco 49ers||@ San Francisco 49ers|
|Seattle Seahawks||@ Seattle Seahawks|
It's an interesting lineup.
The two open slots will be the team from the South and East that ends up in the same spot as the Rams do in the West. Right now, we're in fourth so those teams would be Tampa and Washington. If the Rams end up surpassing the 49ers into third place, then that would end up being the Giants from the East and...any of the three other teams in the South. So really, the Rams might want to hold on to that fourth spot. It's hard to imagine Washington getting back into winning football in just one offseason from where they are now.
There are also a couple of things to think about in terms of strength of schedule. The Rams' 2014 schedule, based on where their opponents finished in 2013, carried a .563 strength of schedule which is whopping. Of course that's largely due to the strength of the NFC West standings last year where the Cardinals, Seahawks and 49ers alone carried a .729 winning percentage...But you also had the Rams picking up the 4th seed from the NFC North and South, Minnesota and Tampa Bay respectively, who went a combined 9-22-1, good for a .281 winning clip. Should the Rams face Tampa and Washington, this year's fourth seed potential opponents, they're sitting at 5-23...which translates to a .179 percentage.
The 2014 NFC North is stronger than the 2013 NFC East which bulks things up a bit. Even if you throw us Tampa and Washington, the Rams would be facing a 2015 schedule that carries a .563 SoS on 2014 records as it stands...exactly what we had going into this year. So for as much as we worried, and rightly so, about the Octet of Pain, the Rams might well be going through a similar stretch next year.
It's just par for the course right now. The Rams are in a tough, perhaps the toughest, division in football and happen to be running across divisions as they're hitting stride.
Life as a Rams fan.
(h/t to Mile High Report for the table assist)