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The Octet of Pain Is Coming...

The Rams' next eight games are a brutal stretch against quality opponents. This is where the rubber meets the road.

Cliff McBride

It's here. The Octet of Pain begins on Sunday as the Rams head to Philadelphia. Here's what we're looking at from now until Thanksgiving...

@ Philadelphia EaglesSun., Oct. 5

The bye week has given the injured Rams some time to heal up. It has also given the coaching staff a chance to re-focus the team after a difficult loss against the Cowboys. Last night, we saw Dallas get an impressive win over the New Orleans Saints. That game followed the Eagles-49ers clash in which San Francisco shut out Chip Kelly's offense in the second half for Philly's first loss of the season.

Two statistical notes on Philadelphia going into Sunday:

1.) The Eagles allowed five sacks in their season opener against Jacksonville. They've only allowed one in the three games that followed. Foles has faced pressure often nonetheless, and there's no reason the Rams can't get to him on Sunday. Philadelphia's line just isn't very good (though they do get Lane Johnson back from suspension this week), as they've struggled in pass protection and been abysmal in the running game.

2.) Speaking of, the Eagles' rushing attacks has been completely inept the last few weeks. Everyone knows how talented LeSean McCoy is. Defenses aren't taking him lightly, both during the game and in preparing a gameplan to keep his production limited. So when you see that he's only got 39 yards on 29 attempts over the last two weeks. Throw in QB Nick Foles' performance yesterday, and you have a blueprint on how to beat the Eagles. It's with defense. Get to work, Gregg Williams...

v. San Francisco 49ers - Mon., Oct. 13

The Rams...on Monday Night Football...against the 49ers...suffice to say, this is a big game. For their part, the Niners haven't looked like world-beaters. They've limped into a 2-2 record with a season opening win over Dallas and yesterday's victory. The losses against Chicago and Arizona aren't all that pitiful though. The Rams are going to have to play their best football yet to win this one.

Thankfully, we haven't seen it.

v. Seattle Seahawks - Sun., Oct. 19

The Rams get their home games against Seattle and San Fran out of the way early this year. We'll get a better sense of this one after the Rams' first two games of the OOP.

Seattle's had a fine start to the season. Gotta expect they come out of the bye and whoop Washington, but parity is a thing. If so, the Seahawks-Cowboys game ahead of this one would be huge.

@ Kansas City Chiefs - Sun., Oct. 26

This is probably the most winnable game of the OOP, but I am interested in seeing how the Chiefs deal with the Patriots tonight on MNF. We're getting so far off now that it's hard to keep this game in view. Who knows what injuries will affect these teams at the end of next month or what hot streaks they'll be riding.

@ San Francisco 49ers - Sun., Nov. 2

Niners on the road. Gulp.

@ Arizona Cardinals - Sun., Nov. 9

Cardinals on the road. Gulp.

v. Denver Broncos - Sun., Nov. 16

Peyton in the Ed. Gulp.

@ San Diego Chargers - Sun., Nov. 23

Dear God, just make it stop. Philip Rivers is Van's offensive MVP through four weeks, and that's hard to argue. The Chargers' sole loss is a week one road miss against Arizona...a one-point loss. Since then, they beat Seattle and mopped up Buffalo and Jacksonville. Things will change between now and Thanksgiving timeframe, and the Rams will need such.

The OOP is here, and it's going to require more than the Rams have shown through three games. Here's to optimism.