Do NFC West Injuries Make St. Louis Rams Potential Division Favorites?
After many years of it seeming like the football gods despised the St. Louis Rams, perhaps 2013 is the season where those same hateful gods turn into loving ones.
The NFC West is expected to be one of the most competitive divisions in all of the NFL this season with Super Bowl runner-up San Francisco 49ers and Divisional round loser Seattle Seahawks only getting better during the offseason. Obviously the Rams did fairly well for themselves as well, adding several offensive weapons to a rather baron cupboard for quarterback Sam Bradford. Now with the rash of injuries that has hit their competition, perhaps the Rams are poised to seize control of the division.
Michael Crabtree’s injury has been known about for a while now, but his absence will be tough to overcome for Colin Kaepernick who relied on him last season. The 49ers have other weapons to turn to, but when a young quarterback loses his most reliable target, things can erode in a hurry.
Even though Russell Wilson didn’t get to see much of what Percy Harvin can do yet, the possibilities are endless for the do-it-all player. Or so we thought. Harvin was given the dreaded Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) designation on Thursday due to a hip injury. That injury isn’t just any run-of-the-mill issue, either. Harvin has a slight tear in his labrum according to NFL.com. The Seahawks wanted him to practice, but Harvin will seek a second opinion which reportedly could lead to surgery.
So here we are with training camps just getting underway and the Rams find themselves in the catbird seat. The team already owned the NFC West last season going 4-1-1 in the division including a 2-1-1 mark against San Francisco and Seattle combined. These injury issues could only provide them with a better chance to get victories over their divisional rivals this year.
Not having to cover guys like Crabtree and Harvin will make life much easier on a St. Louis secondary that is in flux this offseason. The starting safeties still are not established with both starters from last season no longer on the team.
Depending on how the situation with Harvin ultimately plays out, the Rams could vault into the mix in the NFC West sooner than many would have thought. Jeff Fisher’s young squad proved feisty last season, and this year they will maintain that fight with a little more confidence to go along with it.
This really could be the season that the football gods finally smile on the Rams after years of torment.