The St. Louis Rams head into the NFL season under a bit of a gloomy cloud after losing their quarterback, and former first overall pick Sam Bradford for the entire 2014 campaign. This season was supposed to be one that would be incredibly positive, with St. Louis taking a giant leap forward past its 7-9 2013 record, but now, the season could go in a myriad of different directions — of which none look to be overly positive.
Here’s a look at how I think their schedule will turn out.
St. Louis Rams 2014 Schedule
Week 1 vs. Minnesota — Win
Week 2 @ Tampa Bay — Win
Week 3 vs. Dallas — Win
Week 4 Bye
Week 5 @ Philadelphia — Loss
Week 6 vs. San Francisco — Loss
Week 7 vs. Seattle — Loss
Week 8 @ Kansas City — Loss
Week 9 @ San Francisco — Loss
Week 10 @ Arizona — Win
Week 11 vs. Denver — Loss
Week 12 @ San Diego — Loss
Week 13 vs. Oakland — Win
Week 14 @ Washington — Win
Week 15 vs. Arizona — Win
Week 16 vs New York (N) — Win
Week 17 @ Seattle — Loss
Final Record — 8-8
I had the Rams starting the season 3-0 prior to Bradford’s injury, and still maintain the theory afterwards. The Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all marginal teams at best, and being that two of those three games are in St. Louis, the Rams will take advantage and build up a bit of momentum.
However, Week 5 at the Philadelphia Eagles projects be the first of five straight losses. Although St. Louis’ strength is its defense, the Eagles’ fast tempo offense will be too much for the defensive line to stay aggressive, and the Rams’ secondary is still unproven as a unit which does not bode well for what will be much needed quick play calls against Chip Kelly‘s system.
The Rams then face the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers back to back in St. Louis. Prior to Bradford’s injury I thought they had a chance to win these two games and split the season series’ against the two clubs respectively, but two Super Bowl caliber teams are incredibly difficult to beat in a row, even if it is at home, and the Rams just aren’t built to get it done as constituted.
St. Louis then faces a three-game road trip against the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco again and the Arizona Cardinals, of which only the Cardinals will they have a chance to win against. They finish the trip 1-2 as they head home to play Peyton Manning.
The Denver Broncos have an overwhelmingly talented offense that will look even more impressive inside the Edward Jones Dome on a fast surface. The Rams will get blown out in this game and head to play the San Diego Chargers, who will be in a playoff hunt, and incur another loss. St. Louis will head home to take on the lowly Oakland Raiders at 4-7 and already looking towards 2015.
After beating Oakland, they get the Washington Redskins who look like an 8-8 team at best, and I expect the Rams to take this game despite it being in Washington. Robert Griffin III and the ‘Skins like to give away important games that they should win, especially in their own building.
At 6-7 they handle an inconsistent Cardinals’ team in St. Louis and start to find some hope, as the New York Giants are on their way to town, and the Giants are already in a tailspin at this point. The Rams are 8-7 heading into Week 17.
St. Louis heads to play in Seattle to finish the regular season. The Rams might even have a way into the playoffs mathematically with a win and some help, but in all likelihood, they are not getting it done even if the Seahawks have nothing to play for and have already locked up their playoff seed.
The Rams finish at 8-8, wondering if they could have picked off two games along the way and made a surprise playoff berth in 2014 if Bradford had not gotten hurt.