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Predicting the Rams 2020 wins and losses based on old ESPN power rankings

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A look ahead by looking behind

Arizona Cardinals v St Louis Rams Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

I went through the LA Rams 2020 schedule and then I went to a random date generator and selected 16 random dates between 2002 realignment and the end of last year. Then I went to the corresponding ESPN power rankings article from related to that date and the team that had the higher power ranking between the Rams and their opponent was declared the “winner” of that game.

I also listed what they had to say about the team ranked first as a fun bonus read. If the date was in the offseason, I went with the Week 1 or preseason power ranking. There’s nothing more to it than that really.

Week 1 - Dallas Cowboys

Date: May 5, 2003

Week 1 2003 Power Rankings:

1. Bucs “Most of the key players return and with another year for Gruden to get the offense going, all systems in Tampa appear to be on go for another trip to the Super Bowl.”

5. Rams “An easy schedule and a healthy Kurt Warner means the Rams should be back among the NFC’s elite.”

28. Cowboys “Bill Parcells will make the Cowboys better. It just might not be this season.”

Record: 1-0

Week 2 - Philadelphia Eagles

Date: December 11, 2004

Week 13 2004 Power Rankings:

1. SteelersJerome Bettis. The Bus told anyone who would listen that he had more left in the tank and he was obviously right.”

3. Eagles “Terrell Owens’ play on the field. Some of the other stuff is amusing and some is stupid, but there’s no denying his play on the field has made the Eagles a much better team.”

14. Rams “Marshall Faulk. A consummate professional, Faulk is one of the good guys in the NFL.”

Record: 1-1

Week 3 - Buffalo Bills

Date: Feb. 21, 2005

Week 1 2005 Power Rankings:

1. Patriots “The Patriots are really going to miss Tedy Bruschi. He often is cited as the Pats’ leader on defense, which is true. But what sometimes gets lost in that description is that he’s also one of the best LBs in the NFL.”

12. Rams “Want a fantasy player to watch this year? Try Rams wide receiver Kevin Curtis. He had 25 catches in the second half last season and 11 more in two playoff games.”

14. Bills “J.P. Losman has the talent, but there is going to be a lot of pressure on him to get the Bills off to a good start.”

Record: 2-1

Week 4 - New York Giants

Date: July 24, 2005

Week 1 2005:

25. Giants “In Peyton Manning’s second season, his QB rating jumped from 71.2 to 90.7. Can Eli make a similar improvement for the Giants? If so, they could make a surprise playoff run in the weak NFC.”

Record: 3-1

Week 5 - Washington Unnamed Team

Date: Nov. 13, 2005

Week 10 2005 Power Rankings:

1. Colts

Right: Pretty much everything. Defense (No. 4 in the NFL) has been very good and the offense (No. 4) looks like it’s back up to warp speed.

Wrong: We could make something up, but there really hasn’t been much that’s gone wrong.”

11. null

Right: Mark Brunell has bounced back from an atrocious ‘04 campaign.

Wrong: Keeping LaVar Arrington M.I.A. for much of the first half of the season. He’s too good.”

(The page literally says “null” now instead of the old team name.)

17. Rams

Right: Steven Jackson (659 yards on 138 carries) looks like a stud.

Wrong: The fact that Jackson only carried the ball 97 times in the Rams’ first six games (2-4)”

Record: 3-2

Week 6 - San Francisco 49ers

Date: June 12, 2006

Preseason 2006 Power Rankings:

1. Seahawks “Super Bowl losers have struggled in recent years, but the Hawks appear equipped for another run.”

22. Rams “Offensive guru Scott Linehan has even more talent to work with than he did in Minnesota and Miami.”

32. 49ers “So Norv Turner is supposed to come in and rescue the offense? Good luck!”

Record: 4-2

Week 7 - Chicago Bears

Date: Oct. 4, 2007

Week 5 2007 Power Rankings:

1. Patriots “How consistent has the Patriots’ offense been this season? They’ve scored in every one of their 16 quarters. In fact, the Pats have put up points in their last 36 quarters dating back to last season.”

20. Bears “Perhaps the most stunning development Sunday was the NFL-record 34 points the Bears allowed the Lions in the fourth quarter. We were gonna ask Mike Ditka about it when we saw him in the ESPN parking lot Monday, but he was already in his Ditka-sized SUV.”

32. Rams “It’s almost inconceivable to think the Rams’ offense has gone 31 possessions without scoring a TD. Marc Bulger was pulled in favor of Gus Frerotte in the loss to Dallas, but the troubles go beyond the QB position — like injuries to the O-line.”

Record: 4-3

Week 8 - Miami Dolphins

Date: March 22, 2008

Preseason 2008 Power Rankings:

1. Patriots “The Patriots may have major question marks at CB. But with the NFL’s easiest schedule, that shouldn’t matter. The key is staying healthy. (JC)”

26. Rams “Getting LT Orlando Pace healthy — and keeping him that way — must rank as the Rams’ top priority heading into training camp and the season. (MS)”

31. Dolphins “Bill Parcells has improved the roster with his type of tough, physical players, but the success of the season will depend on what happens at QB. It’s anybody’s guess who will start — John Beck, Chad Henne or Josh McCown. (JC)”

Record: 5-3

Week 9 - Bye

Week 10 - Seattle Seahawks

Date: Dec. 12, 2008

Week 14 2008 Power Rankings:

1. Giants “This team seems to welcome adversity. The Giants set aside the Plaxico controversy and easily defeated the Redskins on the road. (MM)”

29. Seahawks “Week 15 game at Rams could be difference between 2-14 or 3-13. (MS)”

30. Rams “The Rams are giving young players a look after watching veterans flounder long enough. (MS)”

Record: 5-4

Week 11 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Date: May 6, 2009

Preseason 2009 Power Rankings:

1. Steelers “They won the Super Bowl. What else do you need to know? (Chadiha)”

26. Bucs “The Bucs have fallen faster than any team this offseason, but they don’t have to be this bad. Steady play at QB would fix a lot. (Sando)”

31. Rams “The Rams’ projected starting O-linemen earned the highest average Madden 2010 ratings in the division. Hmmm. (Sando)”

Record: 5-5

Week 12 - San Francisco 49ers

Date: April 7, 2011

Preseason 2011 Power Rankings:

1. Packers “While other teams stockpiled free agents, the Packers stood pat. Are the defending champs still preseason favorites? (Walker)”

15. Rams “Sam Bradford, Josh McDaniels a compelling combination for the Rams. (Sando)”

26. 49ers “Widespread changes on defense raise questions about 49ers’ short-term prospects. (Sando)”

Record: 6-5

Week 13 - Arizona Cardinals

Date: April 19, 2015

Preseason 2015 Power Rankings:

1. Seahawks “Are three straight Super Bowls possible while not making a first-round pick in each of those years? We’ll find out with the Seahawks this season.”

8. Cardinals “The Cardinals drafted OT D.J. Humphries 24th overall, the first OT drafted by the Cardinals since 2007. No surprise after losing two quarterbacks to injury last season.”

21. Rams “Only one Week 1 starter from the Rams’ offensive line in 2014 is still with the team. The fix to that problem? Drafting a league-high four offensive linemen.”

Record: 6-6

Week 14 - New England Patriots

Date: Jan. 14, 2017

2016 final regular season power rankings:

1. Patriots “Tom Brady threw 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 2016, which gives him the best TD-INT ratio of any quarterback with 300 attempts in NFL history. Brady has been on point this season, and his efforts helped earn the Patriots a No. 1 seed in the playoffs and the No. 1 spot in the rankings.”

29. Rams “After Jared Goff took over as the starting QB, the Rams went 0-7, averaged an NFL-worst 12.1 points per game and were outscored by 136 points, a point differential 61 points worse than that of any other team in that time. Oh, and the Rams won’t have their first-round pick in 2017, thanks to the trade up to draft Goff.”

Record: 6-7

Week 15 - New York Jets

Date: May 3, 2017

2017 preseason Power Rankings:

1. Patriots “The defending champions may have only gotten better this offseason with the additions of Brandin Cooks, Stephon Gilmore and Kony Ealy. The team is poised to make Tom Brady the second 40-year-old quarterback to start a playoff game, joining Brett Favre in 2009.”

27. Rams “We’ll get a full season of quarterback Jared Goff in 2017. He didn’t impress in 2016, but perhaps more time and practice will give Goff, running back Todd Gurley and the Rams a chance to improve an offense that averaged a league-worst 14.0 points per game last season.”

32. Jets “Does the Jets’ quarterback battle between Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg even matter? ESPN’s FPI gives the Jets a 1.0 percent chance of making the playoffs, worst in the NFL.”

Record: 7-7

Week 16 - Seattle Seahawks

Date: May 14, 2017

2017 preseason Power Rankings:

3. Seahawks “Things are quiet in Seattle right now. Maybe a little too quiet? This could be bad news for the rest of the NFL, as a healthy “Legion of Boom” could stop a trend of three straight seasons for the Seahawks’ defense allowing more points than the year before.”

Record: 7-8

Week 17 - Arizona Cardinals

Date: July 13, 2017

2017 preseason Power Rankings:

10. Cardinals “Fun fact: Carson Palmer, 37, is older than his quarterback coach, Byron Leftwich, by 18 days. Staying healthy will be the most important thing for Palmer and the Cardinals to bounce back from a disappointing 7-8-1 2016 season.”

Final Record: 7-9