Now, this list will not be necessarily for those fans that are on the fringe of fandom in rooting for the Rams, or for those who “follow” multiple teams in the NFL. This grouping of teams is for the diehards, the true lovers of the St. Louis Rams franchise, and who they should be cheering on for, at least, the remainder of this weekends games. Sports are always more enjoyable, and more heartbreaking, when there is some significant investment in one particular team finishing on top. Here is Ramblin’ Fan’s guide to who you should put your full fledged support behind this weekend, besides the Rams, of course.
1. Whoever is playing the Washington Redskins, in this case, the Philadelphia Eagles
Now, I know the losing the opener to the “Dream Team” last season is still a painful memory for some, but you will have to bottle that pride and pull out anything you have that is green or has an American eagle on it, at least for a little bit. Regardless of your feeling about Robert Griffin III, no true Rams fan should want the Washington Redskins to succeed this season, or next. Assuming that St. Louis continues to progress this season and wins more games, we are going to need the ‘Skins pick to be fairly high in the draft if we want to fill one of the major holes on the team, likely the saftety spot or a weakside linebacker. If the season were to end today, Washington would hand the Rams the 6th overall pick in the draft, which might not be high enough to grab a player like Manti Te’o. More losses equals a higher pick, enough said…
2. Whoever is playing the Seattle Seahawks
No one who supports the Blue and Gold wants to see the Seattle Seahawks win…. ever. They are the closest thing to a rival that the St. Louis Rams have in this new age of sports, and they did rain on Bradford’s rookie campaign by edging the team out of the playoffs in 2010. Sadly, the ‘Hawks are on a bye this week, so Rams Nation can focus their energy elsewhere.
3. Cleveland Browns
Despite the fact that my alma mater is in the beautiful city of Cleveland, that is not the reason that Rams fans should be pulling for the team to win to Sunday. For starters, they are playing the Dallas Cowboys, who hog more media coverage from progression teams than almost any team in the NFL, outside of, maybe, the New York Jets. Who doesn’t enjoy hearing Tony Romo and Dez Bryant get bashed, and hearing about how horrible of an owner Jerry Jones is after ever single loss. I digress… The real reason you want to the Browns to win is because of their current ranking in the league, which would equate to, roughly, the 4th overall pick in the draft. With Colt McCoy and 2012 first rounder, Brandon Weeden, on the team, the Browns will likely not be looking at a quarterback with their top selection. Their draft board could potential overlap with the Rams’ board, especially at wide receiver or on the offensive line. However, the more realistic possibility is that they may use the spot as trade bait, which could totally throw a wrench into St. Louis’ plan in April. The more wins the Browns have, the closer they are to drafting after the Redskins spot (i.e. not messing with the Rams on draft day).
4. Carolina Panthers
It is tough to cheer for Cam Netwon, espeically considering his rookie season completed erased the specular performance from Bradford, which happened just one season before. However, the Panthers are the only team currently in the lower tier fo the the league, besides the Cleveland Browns, that will likely not be in the market for a quarterback come draft day. After using their 2012 first rounder on Kuechly, the Rams won’t have to worry about them taking a linebacker off of the board that early, but the Panthers do have a pressing need for interior linemen and/or a dynamic wide receiver, prefereably one that is over 5’11 inches tall. The came concept from before applies: More win for the Panther, mean less teams that the Rams have to worry about in April, assuming the Redskins continue their decline.
5. Chicago Bears
Again St. Louis fans, you will need to have a short term memory to cheer for the Bears, but it is possible. The Bears take on the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football, and every team in the NFC West would like to see the almight ‘9ers fall at the hands of Jason Campbell, in what might be termed the “Back-Up Bowl.” since Jay Cutler and Alex Smith both may miss the game after sustaining concussions last week. Alex is expected to start, but it would be amazing to see the team lose on Monday, especially after the dreaded tie game last Sunday. The 49ers losing may also be the only chance that the St. Louis Rams can make the playoffs this season, although that chance is still extremely small. With the NFC North likely to land at least one of the Wild Card slots, either to Green Bay or Minnesota, the Rams will need to win the division to come get into the Super Bowl hunt. Assuming St. Louis goes unfeated for the remainder of the season, we would need San Francisco to lose at least three more games to take over the top spot in the West. Realistically, that means that the 49ers would just need to lose two addition games (assuming the loss to the Rams in Week 13), which is a solid possibility considering they still have to play the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and the newly revived New Orleans Saints. Hypotheticals aside, no one wants to see any other team in the NFC West win, except the Cardinals sometimes… you have to feel somewhat bad for them, right?