We first covered the Rams schedule in the preseason here and tried to predict which games the Rams would win and looking at the Rams difficult first half of their schedule. The Rams are through the hardest part of their schedule and almost half way through, so let’s take a look at the schedule again. Here are the first seven games: @PHI, NYG, @SEA, BUF, bye, @WAS, DAL, @NE. Buffalo and Washington are up from where they were at the start of the year, and Seattle is down.
So, looking at that schedule from what we know of the Rams now and what we know of the rest of the teams as of now, I would put the Rams at 1-6. In the first 7 games, the Rams played the best two teams in the AFC East, all the teams in the fearsome NFC East, both teams from last year’s Super Bowl and the defending NFC West Champs.
In the linked article above, I had the Rams at 3-4 after 7 games, but I had wins at Philly (whoops!), at home against Buffalo (they are much improved over last year) and at Washington (I surprised even myself there). I was being very optimistic and no one could have considered how slowly the Rams came out of the gate.
But, let’s look ahead to the last nine games the Rams have ahead of them: ARI, @NYJ, @SF, CHI, MIA, @ARI, SEA, SF, @ATL. First, the current NFC West leaders, Arizona, they have an improved offense with Kurt Warner at the helm and a wealth of wide receivers, but a struggling defense. (Sounds familiar to Rams fans.)
Let’s call the Rams splitting the season series with Arizona. San Francisco is struggling mightily under their interim head coach, so let’s call both games wins for the Rams. The Jets are hit or miss with Brett Favre, and just struggled to beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Let’s put that one in the win column as well as the Giants Stadium faithful turn on Favre.
The remaining games to pick are: CHI, MIA, SEA, @ATL. In order, the Bears are improved and found a quarterback in Kyle Orton of all people and are still playing good defense. The Bears should be able to shut down the Rams offense and wear down the Rams defense in the way New England did. Mark that one down as a loss for the Rams. The Rams are playing at home against an improving Miami team in November and it should be a close game and because I’m a Rams optimist, I’ll mark that down as a win for the Rams. The Rams should be able to beat Seattle at home – even if they have Matt Hasselback back in the lineup by then. And the Rams head to Atlanta for the last game of the season. Atlanta plays well against bad teams, and struggles against good teams. The Rams defense may struggle against Matt Ryan and Michael Turner, but I like the Rams in this one.
If you made it this far, I have the Rams at 9-7. Even though the Rams opponents go up and down, I still have the Rams at 9-7. That would require the Rams to go 7-2 over the last 9 games. Quite an amazing run for the Rams, but looking at the schedule, it is possible.