The St. Louis Rams are starting the 2015 NFL season with a 2-2 record...at least according to your votes. Not stellar. But certainly not terrible. Truth be told, the Rams have only started the season with that record four times out of the past ten seasons.
But these don’t appear to be the "same ‘ol Rams." Or do they?
Regardless, the vast majority voted for a 2-2 record, which seems fair, and certainly not overly optimistic. So what about the next batch of opponents [Q2]:
Week 5: at Green Bay Packers
Week 6: Bye
Week 7: vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 8: vs. San Francisco 49ers
Week 9: at Minnesota Vikings
For starters, Q1 wasn’t an easy slate. Coming out of matchups against the Seahawks, Cardinals, Steelers, and road game vs. the Redskins with a 2-2 record is respectable. But things only get harder with the onset of Q2, when the Rams have a road test against an NFC opponent who, had they not imploded, probably would've been playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl last year.
I don’t see the Rams stealing a win in Green Bay [12-4], and I’m guessing that most won’t. Statistics and history vs. opponent shouldn’t sway an opinion on this game one way or the other. The Packers are definitely one of the best teams in the NFL; and they’re lead by, arguably, the best QB in the league. It’s not an impossible feat, however. Mike Ditka will probably pick the Rams to win though...and he may just look like he knows what the hell he’s doing [again].
Many Rams’ fans were interested in Brett Hundley as a QB prospect. And they met with Aaron Ripkowski at the East-West Shrine game. The Packers drafted both of them.
Hosting the Browns [7-9] could get the Rams back to .500 though. And despite the outcome of the Week 5 matchup, a bye the following week gives the Rams more time to prepare for their next opponent, whose starting QB is Josh McCown...or maybe Johnny Manziel. Either way, it’s a winnable game.
There’s some history between the two teams, but not much that’s relevant. The Rams have won six out of the last ten against the Browns...but that dates back to 1978. Six out of those ten were also played by...wait for it...the Los Angeles Rams.
The Browns had 12 picks in this most recent draft. Here’s a quick recap via Dawgs By Nature.
The Rams will head out west to take on division rival 49ers [8-8] in Week 8. Many are of the mindset, given the drastic changes to their personnel, that San Francisco is going to take a huge step back in 2015. And that’s fair.
In the last ten games, the 49ers hold the series lead 6-3-1. But talk about playing a team close. The tie [thank you, Brandon Gibson] is courtesy of a silly penalty that negated an 80-yard reception to Danny Amendola in overtime in November 2012. The Rams were also flagged for a delay of game, in overtime, as a 52-yd field goal from Greg Zuerlein sailed through the uprights. Multiple opportunities squandered.
They also lost a close one - another overtime thriller - in December of 2010. Rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins went off on December 2, 2012. That helped the Rams snag an overtime win of their own.
The 49ers drafted a bunch of players too. They are either a) names that are misspelled, or b) people you’ve never heard of.
And the last game of Q2, the Rams head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings [7-9]. If you’ll remember [and I cannot forget because I flew to St. Louis to watch the home opener in 2014] the Vikings embarrassed the Rams last season. Wide receiver turned running back, Cordarrelle Patterson became a Week 1 Fantasy Football star, rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown in a stunning 34-6 loss to start the season.
Key additions to their team, via draft, are Trae Waynes [CB] and Eric Kendricks [LB]. It’s clear the Vikings wanted to bolster the defensive side of the football in 2015. Given those particular picks, it’s fair to say they’ve done a pretty solid job.
The Rams’ Q1 opponents [Seahawks, Redskins, Steelers, Cardinals] finished the 2014 season with a 38-26 record. Their Q2 opponents [Packers, Browns, 49ers, Vikings] finished with a 34-30 record. Will the Rams still be at .500 at the midway point of the season?