There is no denying that the St. Louis Rams have taken some serious strides toward improvement during this offseason. Couple those upgrades with the team’s best season in more than half of a decade from 2012 and you would think that the Rams are primed for a run at the NFC West title. Just a few short years ago when the division failed to have one team reach the .500 mark that would have been a given, but now that the competition has been ratcheted up a few hundred notches, the Rams may just be breaking even.
Clearly the San Francisco 49ers are still the favorites in the division with their near miss in Super Bowl XLVII of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Their young core group is all intact with several key additions that may further strengthen their status at the top. Trading for veteran receiver Anquan Boldin, signing Nnamdi Asomugha, and some savvy picks in the NFL Draft will give this team a great chance at repeating in both the division and the conference.
The Seattle Seahawks are no slouches either with a roster that is just as young and just as talented as the Niners. Seattle hasn’t been biding their time this offseason with their blockbuster trade to acquire Percy Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings along with signing Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to upgrade their pass rush. Antoine Winfield signing with the Seahawks makes their secondary one of the league’s scariest as well.
So where does this leave the Rams? Unfortunately third place in the NFC West seems like their ceiling unless they really surprise in the upcoming season. Despite adding Jake Long, Jared Cook, and some stellar pieces in the draft like Tavon Austin and Alec Ogletree, this team has an uphill climb to the promised land. Quarterback Sam Bradford should see some serious growth in his fourth year in the league now that he will finally have a formidable offensive line to protect him, but that depth of talent in San Fran and Seattle will likely hold the Rams down.
Even after saying that, the team did go a combined 4-1-1 in the division a year ago so anything is possible. Head Coach Jeff Fisher will have his squad motivated and hungry to prove that their 2012 campaign was no fluke. It wouldn’t be a total shock to see the Rams in the running for the NFC West crown in the waning weekends of the 2013 season.