Much of the recent talk around the NFL has centered on the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft that is now less than one week away. That didn’t stop the league from shifting the conversation a bit with their release of the 2013 schedule on Thursday night. Although the opponents were already known for the upcoming year, the arrangement of the schedule configuration had yet to be revealed and sometimes that can make all of the difference. For the St. Louis Rams, their slate of games for the coming season is going to be challenging to say the least.
When you play in a division like the NFC West, teams are assured of at least a half dozen tough matchups a year. Clearly those won’t be the only testers on the upcoming schedule, so without further ado, here is the list of games in its entirety.
Rams Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 8, Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 15, at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 22, at Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m.
Week 4: Thursday, Sept. 26, San Francisco 49ers, 8:25 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 6, Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 13, at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 20, at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Week 8: Monday, Oct. 28, Seattle Seahawks, 8:30 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 3, Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 10, at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 24, Chicago Bears, 1:00 p.m.
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 1, at 49ers, 4:05 p.m.
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 8, at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 15, New Orleans Saints, 1:00 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 22, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 29, at Seahawks, 4:25 p.m.
What immediately jumps out is the early season reunion with running back Steven Jackson and his new team in Atlanta. The Falcons are expected to be one of the upper echelon teams in the NFC again this season, and that is why S-Jax joined up with fellow future Hall of Famer in tight end Tony Gonzalez in pursuit of a ring. This game will be in the Georgia Dome, but aside from the familiar look of the turf, expect a hostile environment and a tough game for the Rams.
Obviously the big four tilts will be the two games with the Niners and the two matchups with Seattle. Those two figure to be the big players in the NFC West this season, and given the Rams’ success against them in 2012 going 2-1-1 combined, expect some tight contests when they get together. The Monday night game in week 8 will be a particularly intriguing showdown with MNF coming to the Edward Jones Dome for what is sure to be a highly competitive game.
The bye week arriving in week 11 will obviously be much appreciated by any team, it doesn’t matter how old they are. Certainly the youth on this roster will aid the Rams through their opening stretch of 10 games without a week off, but if they can remain competitive around the .500 mark (which is totally feasible) by that point, that week off will allow them to recharge their collective batteries before a final push for the playoffs.
Expectations will be higher for a young and improving Rams squad in 2013 and justifiably so. This club figures to add even more talent in the draft next week, and hopefully the games look even more exciting after those additions take place.