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2015 St. Louis Rams: Looking At The Schedule After Week 9 Of The NFL Season

Every week, we will take a look at the results of the NFL week that was, and see how it may impact the rest of the Rams' 2015 schedule.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams squandered a golden opportunity to improve their record on the road in Week 9. Strangely enough, it seems I have written similar sentences to that one already this season. The Rams offense continued to consist virtually entirely of Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin. While that dynamic duo is certainly one of the most dangerous 1-2 punches in the league, they can't do it all on their own especially against potential playoff teams. Only the Rams and San Francisco 49ers were active in Week 8 and the NFC West ended up with a 1-1 record.

Perhaps the biggest story from the game against the Minnesota Vikings was the injuries. The Rams didn't sustain any additional injuries, but the ones they entered the game with proved to be more than the Rams could manage. The absence of Robert Quinn was huge, as the Rams mustered just one sack all game. Maurice Alexander filled in for TJ McDonald about as well as could be expected, but without star defensive players like McDonald, Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree the Rams defense struggled to make an impact play of their own. Even with all the injuries to the defense, the Rams D did plenty to secure a victory against a quality opponent on the road.

The Rams offense was another story entirely. Yes Todd Gurley managed to churn out some tough yards against loaded fronts, and was a shoestring away on a few plays, but the offense in general can't be JUST TODD GURLEY. The Rams third down woes continued against the Vikings, and on the season the team is converting less than 25% of their third down opportunities. I am not an expert or anything, but that does not seem to be good enough to beat quality opponents. The injury to Rob Havenstein proved to be huge, as it forced the move of Garrett Reynolds to right tackle, and negatively impacted the performance of two spots on the offensive line. Gurley was met in the backfield time and again as the Vikings exploited the offensive line shuffle.

Let's take a look at the Rams 2015 schedule.

NFL Week

Rams Opponent

Opponent Record


Seattle Seahawks



@ Washington



Pittsburgh Steelers



@ Arizona Cardinals



@ Green Bay Packers






Cleveland Browns



San Francisco 49ers



@ Minnesota Vikings



Chicago Bears



@ Baltimore Ravens



@ Cincinnati Bengals



Arizona Cardinals



Detroit Lions



Tampa Bay Buccaneers



@ Seattle Seahawks



@ San Francisco 49ers


The Rams sit at 4-4 following their loss in Week 9, but still in position to collect some more wins and contend for a playoff spot. The loss to the Vikings hurts, as they are also a potential NFC wild card team who now owns a head to head tiebreaker against the Rams. Of course winning the NFC West isn't entirely out of the question, as the Rams are still 3-0 within the division and get the division leading Arizona Cardinals at home in Week 13. Still the wild card seems to be the most likely path for the Rams to break their long playoff drought. Let's take a closer look at the next two weeks.

The Rams will return home to take on another NFC North opponent in Week 10 as the Chicago Bears come to town. The Bears have had a disappointing season to be sure, and will likely be without top offensive threat Matt Forte for the game. Even so they did pull off a thrilling victory on Monday Night Football over the San Diego Chargers. Jay Cutler is playing some quality football but the team has plenty of problems, especially when it comes to the defense. The Bears are allowing a whopping 27+ points per game with problems stopping offenses across the board. The Bears allow 4.6 yards per carry while the passing defense has opposing quarterbacks averaging a 101.1 QB Rating. Perhaps an area that presents the biggest opportunity for the Rams is third down conversions, where the Bears are allowing conversions on 46.2% of attempts. If Rob Havenstein returns this could be a good game for Gurley to get back on track, and perhaps for Nick Foles to finally carry some of the weight.

In Week 11 the Rams will hit the road again to take on the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have also struggled this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Ravens defense is quite a bit more stout against the run than the Bears defense, giving up just 3.8 yards per attempt on the ground. The passing defense is the weak link for the Ravens, as they are allowing opposing QBs an average rating of 106.9 through Week 9. Not only are opposing QBs posting a high QB rating, but they are getting yards in chunks as the Ravens allow 8.4 yards per pass attempt. The defense is also struggling to slow teams on third down, allowing 47.9% of attempts to be converted into first downs. Even with the defensive struggles the offense has done enough to keep them in most games, as they are averaging nearly 24 points per game. Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, and Justin Forsett are all capable of making big plays if given the opportunity.

The Rams road to the playoffs is still visible, but a loss in either of their next two games would certainly start to close the door on their playoff hopes. The Rams overall remaining schedule is not nearly as tough as some of the other potential wild card teams, but the Rams are still learning how to win those "should win" games on a regular basis. If the team can pull together and win the remaining games against teams who currently have a losing record they would end the season at 9-7. That likely will not be enough to get into the wild card within the NFC this year, so they need to pull off at least one "upset" over the Bengals, Cardinals, or Seahawks. The Rams defense has proven to be up to the challenge of top flight competition, and with Gurley toting the rock the offense has some hope. The remainder of the Rams season seems to depend on Nick Foles and the passing game's ability to resemble an NFL offense.

Thank you for reading and as always, Go Rams!!!!