clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ESPN channels spirit of Billy Mays for 2014 Rams predictions

Putting ESPN on Blast

Joe Robbins

ESPN predicted a last place finish for the Rams in their NFL Season Preview. On its own, that's not too harsh of a statement as the Rams play in the toughest division in football. However, looking a little deeper into their predictions, it's astonishing just how bad they think the Rams are going to be.

These predictions may seem a bit more accurate post-Sam Bradford ACL 2.0, but keep in mind the predictions were made in the September issue of ESPN the Magazine ... which was released and in my living room BEFORE Bradford re-injured his ACL which adds insult to injury. Before I get too far into the analysis, take a look at the scores that were predicted.

Week Opponent Result
1 MIN W, 27-9
2 @TB L, 23-19
3 DAL L, 33-27
4 BYE -----
5 @PHI L, 40-16
6 SF L, 27-13
7 SEA W, 17-14
8 @KC W, 24-13
9 @SF L, 31-20
10 @ARI L, 24-9
11 DEN L, 31-6
12 @SD L, 29-16
13 OAK L, 14-6
14 @WAS L, 28-17
15 ARI W, 22-17
16 NY W, 18-13
17 @SEA L, 24-10

For those of you keeping track at home, that's good for a 5-win season. Unfortunately, that's about as good as it gets for Rams fans. This whole thing reads like an old Billy Mays infomercial....(cue flashback footage)


ESPN here, and boy do I have news for you! We're going to do our best to sugar-coat it, but the Rams don't stand a chance this year! Not only will they only win 5 games, but their ceiling is 6 wins! Good thing you need a QB, because you're going to be picking in the top 5 next year!

Want more? You got it! the Rams Offense is going to score 5 Points Per Game less than they did last year! According to 2013 NFL statistics, that would be good for 31st!

Still not good enough? You know that Defense that everyone is raving about??? They're not going to be any better than they were last year!

BUT WAIT!!! THERE'S MORE!!! In a repeat of last year, the Rams are gong to be dominated at home on MNF. If that's not enough to break your spirit, maybe 24/7 coverage of how cutting Michael Sam was a mistake will be!


As Rams fans, negativity towards our favorite team is nothing new, but this is downright astonishing. As a HUGE Bradford supporter, it was a tough pill to swallow, but reading this article from the Washington Post changed my perspective. Yes, Hill had Calvin Johnson to throw to in Detroit, which undoubtedly made his life easier. But, you could argue that his stats were better when he was playing in San Francisco. Take a look at those rosters (here, here, and here) and you'll see that he had next to no one to throw to then. Google did the math for me, and his overall QB Rating (not QBR) was 87.3 in his tenure in San Francisco compared to 81.3 in the only year he got significant playing time in Detroit. I don't agree Hill as an upgrade over Bradford, as the article suggests, because he lacks the upside Sam had. Losing Bradford certainly hurts...a lot...but it's by no means the season killer ESPN makes it out to be.

Which brings me back to the ESPN predictions. For starters, how does our defense regress? The team drafted the best defensive player in the NCAA via the #13 overall pick, brought in one of the best Defensive minds in the NFL, and retained all of the key pieces from last years Defense (unless you count Courtland Finnegan). I'm not sure how Advanced Football Analytics came up with these scores but they just don't seem to compute. Particularly when you consider that the Rams Defense is almost universally agreed to be on the rise.

With the aforementioned Bradford injury, offensive production can be expected to dip slightly...if for no other reason than for team chemistry. But a full 5 point drop to 16.7 PPG? The Rams scored 21.8 PPG last season! With Kellen Clemens at the helm, it was 21.3 PPG as compared to 22.3 with Bradford. You'd be hard pressed to find someone credible that thins Hill isn't better than Clemens... So again, how do we arrive at 16.7 PPG?

The whole process is somewhat of a head scratcher for me. They have us losing to Oakland at home, but beating the defending Super Bowl Champions, yet losing to San Diego by nearly 2 touchdowns. This looks more like a Skip Bayless prediction than a well reasoned calculation.

On the right hand side of the article, ESPN lists the over/under that Vegas put out for the Rams (6.5 wins). ESPN is obviously taking the under on that bet. Call me a homer, but I see at least 6 games that the Rams are capable of winning (MIN, @TB, DAL, OAK, @WAS, and NY)...and that's just outside of the NFC West. Toss in a couple of wins in the division and the Rams can feasibly finish at 8-8 or better.

I know one thing... the Rams are a lot better than ESPN gives them credit for. They've essentially been written off for the season, and I fully expect the Rams experienced staff to use that underdog mentality to their advantage.