The St. Louis Rams are among fairly high number of teams in the league entering 2013 with pieces everywhere for a playoff push and one giant question mark at the quarterback spot; throwing all other key aspects into a whirlwind of uncertainty. Where the benefits of unique weapons like Tavon Austin and Jared Cook land and how they hit opposing defenses all depends on whether Sam Bradford can finally deliver on his first-overall draft investment.
One source of great stability in the NFL over the past three decades is Coach Jeff Fisher, who enters his second year along with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, giving Bradford continuity that has been lacking from this organization. Chris Givens also returns as a familiar electric weapon, and fellow second-year man Daryl Richardson succeeds Steven Jackson in the backfield.
Fisher hasn’t reached the Super Bowl since the turn of the century yet is typically a good bet to get the best out of his roster and keep his squad in playoff contention. His teams have lost more than eight games just once since 2005; the year he was fired from Tennessee.
While additions like left tackle Jake Long provide high-upside components on offense, the Rams have piled up early-round picks from the RG3 trade and turned some of that into young defensive help. How quickly outside linebacker Alec Ogletree, defensive tackle Michael Brockers and cornerback Janoris Jenkins develop could make the difference for St. Louis against an ostensibly difficult 2013 schedule.
The pass rush is seemingly in place with Chris Long and perhaps more consistency from Robert Quinn, now it’s all about igniting the pass game with their handsomely paid quarterback. Though, all of this could happen and St. Louis still lands around .500 if last season’s 2-1-1 record against the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers turns into 0-4 in 2013.
Predicted Regular Season Record: 8-8 (3rd in NFC West)
Predicted Finish: Miss postseason
You can find Rams tickets for the entire 2013 season here, including opening week against the Cardinals. Tickets begin for as low as $12.