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NFL St Louis Rams

Keys to the St. Louis Rams Winning the NFC West in 2013

Jeff Fisher - St. Louis Rams

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There is no denying the progress that the St. Louis Rams experienced during the 2012 season in Head Coach Jeff Fisher‘s first year at the helm. The team that had won a combined 15 games in the previous five seasons managed to nearly reach the .500 mark at 7-8-1 and really compete well in the NFC West. With last season now well in the rearview mirror, it’s time to examine just what the Rams can do to improve upon that success in 2013.

DEFENSE WINS

Quite possibly the most amazing stat from the entire season for the Rams comes from the defensive side of the football. The team managed to win only one time when they allowed more than 17 points (week 2 against the Washington Redskins), but won four times when scoring fewer than 20 points. Numbers like that bode well for the future of this team which is the youngest in the NFL, but particularly on defense where the majority of the depth chart is composed of players still south of 30 years old.

DIVISION SUPREMACY

Believe it or not, the Rams actually had the best divisional record in the NFC West last season. Not the Seattle Seahawks at 3-3, not the San Francisco 49ers at 3-2-1, but the Rams at 4-1-1 had the top record against divisional opponents. That type of dominance against teams that will matchup twice a year is very important toward improving moving forward.

SCORE MORE POINTS

“You play to win the game” as Herm Edwards would say and you cannot accomplish that without scoring more than your opponent. The Rams played a number of tight, one possession games last year and while you can survive with that style, more success on offense is a must in 2013. General Manager Les Snead committed several picks to defense in last year’s NFL Draft, but this time around should focus on the offensive side of the ball.

With an emphasis in each of these areas in 2013, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Rams in contention entering the final month of the upcoming season. The team had an outside shot at a wild card spot this past year and could capitalize on the opportunity if it presents itself again this time around. The arrow is definitely pointing up for the Rams as they continue to emerge from the doldrums of the past decade of ineptitude.

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.