With two narrow losses and two blowout wins during the month of November under backup signal caller Kellen Clemens’ direction, the St. Louis Rams have officially clawed their way right back into the NFC playoff conversation. Even with their recent string of good fortune, these Rams will face a stern test over the next two weeks that will go a long way in separating their contender label from pretender in a hurry.
It’s hard to believe that a team with a backup quarterback calling the shots is a legit threat to win games over tough opponents, but one of those narrow defeats that very easily could have been a victory came against the NFL’s top dog in the 10-1 Seattle Seahawks. That in and of itself seems to be proof enough that these Rams aren’t fooling around when it comes to putting together a playoff push.
Knowing what to expect from this team with Clemens at the controls has become increasingly easier to predict as opposed to his predecessor in Sam Bradford. The inconsistent play of the offense with Bradford this season really brings to light a bigger question of whether or not he is the QB of the future that this organization declared till death do us part over just two offseasons ago. Those alarms ring even louder when you consider that Bradford’s cap number of $17.6 million in 2014 is the 10th highest at any position in the entire league.
But those questions about the future can wait for this team currently rolling through opponents with a purpose. It’s no secret that the quarterback has had very little to do with St. Louis’ recent run of success. The guys carrying the football from the recently concussed Zac Stacy to undrafted rookie Benny Cunningham have really been tearing though opposing defenses with ease.
So the two big litmus tests upcoming are divisional battles with the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals on the road in the next two weeks. The Rams defeated the Cards narrowly in the season opening and were thoroughly dominated by the Niners in Week 4 on a Thursday night. It’s hard to know which team will show up for either side, but the Cards have been riding high of late like the Rams with some unexpected dominating performances over what was thought to be superior opposition.
There’s no doubt these two tilts will separate the men from the boys as far as the heated NFC playoff race is concerned. Several teams are still vying for the final spot in the push for the postseason, but the Rams are as hot as anyone right now. And sometimes momentum is the thing that can take a team that extra mile as the cold weather of December rolls in during the last gasp effort in pursuit to play football in January.