As it stands, the majority of your votes had the St. Louis Rams sitting at 2-2 through the first quarter of the 2015 season. Not a bad start against opponents such as the Seahawks, Steelers, [at] Cardinals, and [at] Redskins.
But the Rams were just warming up. Roughly 70% of all fans that voted felt the Rams would win three out of four against the [at] Packers, Browns, 49ers, and [at] Vikings in the second quarter of 2015.
That puts the Rams at 5-3 at the midpoint of the season. The last time a Rams team went 5-3 to start the season? 2003.
Can the Rams keep the momentum going into the third quarter of 2015?
Week 10: Chicago Bears
Week 11: at Baltimore Ravens
Week 12: at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 13: Arizona Cardinals
In Q1, the Rams’ opponents boasted a very healthy .594 win percentage; which was drastically lowered by the Redskins’ 4-12 record. In Q2, a .531 win percentage. Their Q3 opponents had a combined record of 36-27-1 [.570], and three out of the four were playoff teams in 2014.
Cardinals aside, unfamiliarity with their opponent[s] will play a large factor in their Q3 matchups. In the past five years, the Rams have played the Bears, Ravens, and Bengals a combined four times. They’ve played the Ravens only five times in 19 years.
In Week 10, the Rams host the Bears. In their last ten matchups - which date back to 1997 - the series is tied 5-5. The last game played, Nov. 24, 2013, the Kellen Clemens-lead Rams throttled the Bears 42-21 in St. Louis. In that game Benny Cunningham, Zac Stacy, and Tavon Austin all had rushing touchdowns. Robert Quinn did Robert Quinn things...
2014 was definitely a down year for the Bears, who many thought would perform far better than their 5-11 record, given the offensive weapons; namely Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffery. Jay Cutler, though, threw 18 interceptions last season, good for the league lead. Marshall now plays for the Jets, but the Bears did well to find a suitable replacement in WVU’s Kevin White. You’ll remember White’s name from the millions of mock drafts which featured him as a possible Round 1 selection for St. Louis.
As aforementioned, there’s not a whole lot of history with the Ravens, the Rams Week 11 opponent, but what you do remember is something you’d probably like to forget. The last time these two teams faced off, the Ravens' offense amassed 544 yards of total offense [now a team high]. Joe Flacco threw for 389 yards [a personal best] and three touchdowns...all of which went to Torrey Smith; who caught five passes for 152 yards. Ray Rice ran the ball nine times...at 9.0 yards per carry. It was 21-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Ravens won the game 37-7. I apologize for the brief trip down memory lane. A glutton for punishment? You can watch the recap here.
With the exception of 2013, when the Ravens went 8-8, they’ve made it to the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons. They won the Super Bowl in 2012. Simply put, they’re living a completely different NFL lifestyle than the Rams.
The Rams have back-to-back road tests against AFC North opponents, as they take on the Bengals in Week 12. The Rams have won three out of the last five against the Bengals, which dates back to 1997. The Bengals, however, have won the last two matchups [2011 and 2007]. Again, not much for familiarity here.
The Bengals offense is loaded with talent. A.J. Green has had 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first four seasons in the league. They also have a two-headed rushing attack in Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, who combined for the sixth most rushing yards of any team in the NFL last season. The Bengals, like the Rams, invested in their offensive line early in the draft, taking Texas A&M tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and Oregon’s Jake Fisher in the first two rounds.
The Bengals will obviously provide another very tough matchup for the Rams. They’ve had double-digit wins in four of their past six seasons, and have gone to the playoffs for the last four years.
This game [at home vs. the Cardinals] not only concludes the third quarter of the Rams’ 2015 season, but it serves as the end of the divisional series against Arizona. The Cardinals really need no [re]introduction. They’re a very familiar opponent, and one that many view as the team to overtake the Seahawks atop the NFC West. All games are important, but the Rams can’t afford to lose home games to divisional rivals, especially this late in the season.