Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Official St. Louis Rams 2011 Season Predictions

The St. Louis Rams will play host to the Philadelphia Eagles at the Edward Jones Dome this Sunday in St. Louis for the 2011 season opener.

The Rams had a dismal 1-15 season in 2009, but they were able to bounce back with a respectable 7-9 record in 2010 despite losing the season finale against the Seattle Seahawks— which kept the Rams out of the playoffs. 

But the Rams will look to redeem themselves in 2011 and own an NFC West title for the first time since 2003.

Though the 2010 team fell short, the coaching staff and the front office made some decent additions in an attempt to prevent a similar outcome, such as Quintin Mikell, Mike Sims-Walker, Cadillac Williams, Lance Kendricks, Justin Bannan and even offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Though the first half of the schedule seems intimidating at first sight, the Rams are a talented team with clear playoff potential.

And with that, here is a prediction for the outcome of the Rams 2011 campaign...

Week 1: Rams vs. Eagles

Game Time: 12:00 PM CDT
Game Date: September 11th, 2011
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis,MO

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 27, Eagles 23)
Record: 1-0

The Philadelphia Eagles have pound-for-pound more overall talent, but the stars seem to be aligning for the Rams when it comes to this particular game.

The Eagles are weak where the Rams are solid, whether it's the Eagles very questionable offensive line taking on a nasty St. Louis front four or Philly's weak and young linebacker corps facing inside receivers like Danny Amendola and Lance Kendricks, who are both capable of causing problems for defenders with short and intermediate routes.

Not to mention, rookie defensive coordinator Juan Castillo's first assignment will be to game plan against a Josh McDaniels' offense, which is a difficult task even for veteran coaches.

Also, if the Rams are going to beat a team that's above their heads at any point in 2011, then it will be at the beginning of the season before the more talented teams have completely gelled.

The Rams are a very disciplined team—even during their 1-15 season in 2009, the effort from the players was clearly visible every week, and that kind of dedication will help them pull off an upset in the opener.

Week 2: Rams @ Giants (Monday Night Football)

Game Time: 7:30 PM CDT

Date: September 19th, 2011

Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford,NJ

Verdict:   LOSS  (Rams 23, Giants 27)
Record: 1-1

After a hard-fought opening game against the Eagles, the Rams will not get much of a break the following week against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football.

The Rams only prime-time game of 2010 was their disappointing finale against the Seahawks in Seattle, so it's possible that the pressure of Sunday or Monday Night Football is a little too much for some of the young players on the team.

The Rams have more veteran leadership this season, which could ultimately help them overcome that pressure, but if the Rams win the opening game against the Eagles, then they might enter MetLife stadium with a little too much confidence.

The Giants front eight is more intimidating than Philadelphia's, so Sam Bradford will make some mistakes under pressure, and New York's defense will also do some damage against the run game.

The Rams will stay toe-to-toe with the Giants for practically the entire game, but one or two major mistakes under the prime-time pressure creates the difference, such as giving up a touchdown on a kickoff or perhaps a long passing touchdown as a result of blown coverage.

The Rams earn respect with their Opening Day victory over the Eagles, but they lose against the Giants the following week for their own good, as the loss will get the team refocused.

Week 3: Rams vs. Ravens

Game Time: 7:30 PM CDT
Game Time: 3:05 PM CDT
Date: September 25th, 2011
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis,MO

Verdict:   LOSS  (Rams 13, Ravens 17)
Record: 1-2

For the last 10 years, it has never been a easy feat to win against the Baltimore Ravens.

Some of their stars are aging, such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, but the defense is still very much a dominate unit and the offense is much better than what we've been used to in the past.

The Rams young offense will struggle against the experienced and highly talented Ravens defense, while the Rams defense plays a solid game, but they allow Baltimore to just barely outscore them.

The Rams lose a difficult game this week, but the experience they gain by playing a premiere defense benefits them for the remainder of the season.

Week 4: Rams vs. Redskins

Game Time: 12:00 PM CDT
Date: October 2nd, 2011
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis,MO

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 30, Redskins 10)
Record: 2-2

After three brutal games to start the season, the Rams finally get a bit of a break during the fourth week against the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins are generating a lot of buzz from their ability to successfully run the ball in the preseason, but the 0-16 Detroit Lions from 2008 went 4-0 in the preseason, so they'll be the first to tell you how meaningless it is.

The truth is that Redskins do not have a top running back capable of carrying the load for four quarters, they have the worst quarterback situation in the NFL and their defense is incapable of uniting despite some of the talented players they possess.

Unfortunately for the Redskins, the Rams will not be taking this game lightly after back-to-back losses.

The Rams use their home-field advantage to trample the rebuilding Redskins in this game, and Sam Bradford throws for three touchdowns and over 300 yards for the first time in 2011.

Week 6: Rams @ Green Bay Packers

Game Time: 12:00 PM CDT
Date: October 16th, 2011
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay,WI

Verdict:   LOSS  (Rams 17, Packers 27)
Record: 2-3

After getting a slight break from the Redskins in their fourth game, as well as their bye week following that game, the Rams get shoved right back into the fire for their fifth game of 2011 at Lambeau Field.

This mid-October matchup with the defending Super Bowl champs is not as intimidating as it would be if it were freezing cold on a December day in Green Bay, but it's still too much for the Rams to handle.

The Rams score a touchdown or two and make some promising stops on defense, so they certainly walk away from this game with a few positives to hang their hats on, but in the end, Green Bay easily overpowers them.

The Rams struggled winning on the road in 2010, so until they master the art of winning away games, they won't be outscoring the Packers at Lambeau anytime soon.

Week 7: Rams @ Cowboys

Game Time: 3:15 PM CDT
Date: October 23rd, 2011
Location: Cowboys Stadium, Dallas,TX

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 27, Cowboys 21)
Record: 3-3

Once again, the Dallas Cowboys are being portrayed as a playoff threat in the NFC, but once again, that hype will prove to be unwarranted.

Cowboys rookie right tackle Tyron Smith will be worn down by the relentless motor of Chris Long, while left-tackle Doug Free will also be outdone by the defensive end combination of James Hall and Robert Quinn on the right side. 

As a result of the pressure, Tony Romo will feel vulnerable for the majority of the game, and it will lead to several sacks and a few turnovers. 

DeMarcus Ware greatly challenges the Rams offensive line, but in the end, the Rams offense is able to get it done when it counts.

Week 8: Rams vs. Saints

Game Time: 12:00 PM CDT
Date: October 30th, 2011
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis,MO

Verdict:   LOSS  (Rams 17, Saints 24)
Record: 3-4

The Rams will enter their October 30th matchup against the New Orleans Saints with some excitement knowing that it's the end of the grueling portion of their 2011 schedule, but that excitement doesn't allow them to overcome this game. 

The Saints had a down year in 2010 after losing the NFC South title to the Atlanta Falcons, but they should produce a strong showing in 2011, which the Rams unfortunately fall victim to in this game. 

Just like the Green Bay game, the Rams will score a few points and make some defensive plays against the Saints, which will allow them to exit the game knowing that they did some good things.

However, the New Orleans offense is too powerful, and the Rams young offense is not developed enough to get into a shootout with one of the best in the business. 

Week 9: Rams @ Cardinals

Game Time: 3:15 PM CDT
Date: November 6th, 2011
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale,AZ

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 34, Cardinals 14)
Record: 4-4

The Rams enter this game determined to even their record at 4-4, and they leave the game with their first division win, which makes a statement to the rest of the NFC West that the Rams plan to own the 2011 season.

The Cardinals weak offensive line will allow the Rams to create consistent pressure all night, and at this point in the season, rookie defensive end Robert Quinn will be settled in and making plays, which makes the Rams pass rush even more dangerous.

Arizona's soft front eight on defense gives up big chunks of yardage on the ground, which sets up the play-action pass and results in several long gains through the air by the Rams offense.

This game will be the Rams best defensive showing throughout of the first half of 2011, and it's also the first game that the offense feels truly synchronized under their new Josh McDaniels' offense.

Week 10: Rams @ Browns

Game Time: 12:00 PM CDT
Date: November 13th, 2011
Location: Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland,OH

Verdict:   LOSS  (Rams 16, Browns 17)
Record: 4-5

The Cleveland Browns were only 5-12 in 2010, but they are not a team to take likely. They are on the rise and have stepped up against some pretty powerful teams when they have the home-field advantage.

They beat the New England Patriots by the score of 34-14 during ninth week of 2010, and the very next game, they took the New York Jets into overtime, but they eventually lost to the Jets 26-20. 

Clearly, the Browns are a better team than most give them credit for, and they are certainly a tough team to play in their home stadium.

The Rams and the Browns will get into a defensive brawl this game, but the Browns will narrowly squeeze away with a one-point victory.

Week 11: Rams vs. Seahawks

Game Time: 3:05 PM CDT
Date: November 20th, 2011
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis,MO

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 26, Seahawks 13)
Record: 5-5

The Rams have been aching for another shot at the Seattle Seahawks ever since their devastating 2010 finale that resulted in the Rams missing out on postseason play.

That is why the Rams will enter this game with some intensity.

The weak Seattle defense will allow the Rams to control the clock with their run game, and the Rams offense will also come up big with a few deep passes.

The Seahawks offensive line is not capable of containing the Rams front four, so Tarvaris Jackson will be scrambling around for the entire game, which will result in a few interceptions. 

The Rams defense makes their presence known, and St. Louis evens out their record once again.

Week 12: Rams vs. Cardinals

Game Time: 12:00 PM CDT

Date: November 27th, 2011
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis,MO

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 28, Cardinals 13)
Record: 6-5

The Cardinals are thought by some to be the most threatening team in the NFC West outside of the Rams, but St. Louis steps up and serves Arizona a second helping of defeat.

With the Cardinals offensive line showing no major improvements between this game and their previous matchup, the Rams defensive ends have another field day at Kevin Kolb's expense. 

Larry Fitzgerald will step up and make a few plays, including the Cardinals only touchdown of the game, but he will eventually find himself incapable on single-handedly compensating for a lack of offensive production.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson will be getting into a groove at this point in the season, so he will have a solid showing against the Rams receivers, but the Arizona linebackers will not be able to prevent Danny Amendola and Lance Kendricks from making big plays from the slot. 

Steven Jackson will score once or twice inside the red zone, which, combined with a superb defensive showing by the Rams, results in the Rams reclaiming a winning record.

Week 13: Rams @ 49ers

Game Time: 3:15 PM CDT
Date: December 4th, 2011
Location: Candlestick Park, San Francisco,CA

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 26, 49ers 16)
Record: 7-5

The Rams were not so lucky during their 23-20 overtime loss at Candlestick Park in 2010, but they have improved overall as a team, while the 49ers are still stuck in the Alex Smith era. 

Of course, it's possible that the 49ers could be over their 2011 season at this point in the year, and they could instead be more focused on 2012, which means rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick could be starting this game.

Either way, San Francisco's quarterback deficiency will be too great for them to overcome this game.

Week 14: Rams @ Seahawks (Monday Night Football)

Game Time: 7:30 PM CDT
Date: December 12th, 2011
Location: CenturyLink Field, Seattle,WA

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 16, Seahawks 10)
Record: 8-5

The Rams beat the Seahawks with ease during their first encounter of 2011, but at this point, they'll be looking to climb a new mountain—defeating the Seahawks on their own turf. 

The Rams were able the beat Seattle at the Edward Jones Dome in 2010, and they should do it again in 2011, but it's winning against the grueling 12th man that poses a problem.

However, the Rams will get it done.

The potency of the St. Louis offense will suffer, but the defense will be able to stay focused and get the job done against whichever second-tier quarterback the Seahawks are starting at this point.

It will be a bit more narrow that their first matchup of 2011, but the Rams still pull off a win in the end.

Week 15: Rams vs. Bengals

Game Time: 12:00 PM CDT
Date: December 18th, 2011
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 23, Bengals 6)
Record: 9-5

The Rams will be elated after their Monday Night Football victory over the Seahawks, not to mention their four-game winning streak, so they will enter this game against the Cincinnati Bengals with a lot of momentum.

The Bengals have a solid defense, which will somewhat contain the Rams offense for the first half of the game.
However, the St. Louis defense will force multiple three-and-outs against the stale Cincinnati offense, which will eventually result in a winded Bengals defense, and that's when the Rams will strike the scoreboard.

The Rams offense will score two touchdowns in the second half, but their defense will get it done all four quarters. 

Week 16: Rams @ Steelers

Game Time: 12:00 PM CDT
Date: December 24th, 2011
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh,PA

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 13, Steelers 23)
Record: 9-6

After the Rams cruise through a five-game winning streak, they get another taste of what it's like to play a dominate football team, just like what they experienced during the first half of the 2011 season. 

The Rams will enter this game with a winning record and several consecutive wins, so after being overconfident and outgunned, the Pittsburgh Steelers will walk away with a victory. 

It's possible that the Steelers will have everything clinched at this point in the season, so if that's the case then the Rams have a shot, but there are a lot of good AFC teams, so it's not likely. 

Assuming the Pttsburgh starters are playing, the Rams offense will be relatively shutdown outside of maybe a single touchdown, while the Rams pass rush will struggle to sack Ben Roethlisberger, resulting in some big plays for the Steelers offense.

Week 17: Rams vs. 49ers

Game Time: 12:00 PM CDT
Date: January 1st, 2011
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis,MO

Verdict:   WIN  (Rams 25, 49ers 10)
Record: 10-6

It's possible that the Rams will have nothing to gain from winning this game, which could result in the starter being benched.

But chances are there will be something to play for.

Unfortunately for the 49ers, their quarterback situation will not improve at any point in 2011—they will either settle for Alex Smith, or they'll be watching Colin Kaepernick go through his rookie growing pains.

The Rams defense will play hard this game in order to make their final statement of the 2011 season, at least the regular season.

The 49ers, especially if they have the rookie Kaepernick in the the game, will cough up a few turnovers and take a several sacks.

Meanwhile, the Rams offense will in sync by the final game of the season, so they'll be able to put some points on the board.

The Rams will win this game and enter the postseason on a high note.

1 comment:

  1. i think the rams have a very legitimate chance of contending for a spot in the playoffs and even winning there division in the west. they have a hard schedule in the beginning but will make it out of it splitting the wins vs. the losses. very good outcome