Here at Ramblin’ Fan we recently wrote an article on five reasons the Rams would make the playoffs. With fans expecting the Rams to get over the hump and make the playoffs it will be disappointing if the team once again fails to make it, because they have gotten close 2 of the last three years. However, now its time to look at the other side of the fence. Here are five reasons why the Rams will NOT make the playoffs in 2013.
Young Player Mistakes
Last season the Rams were already one of the youngest teams in the NFL and they got even younger this offseason. The young players for the Rams made plenty of mistakes last season i.e. illegal formation and delay of game against the 49ers. The Rams also led the NFL in penalties with 8.1 penalties per game. Scoring has been hard enough for the offense, it doesn’t help when they have to get the same first down more than once. With little NFL experience and little veteran leadership, young players are bound to make mistakes. If the Rams can stay away from stupid mental errors they may be fine, however if they don’t…
Less Dominant In The Division
The Rams surprised everyone last season by going 4-1-1 in the division last season. More than half the Rams wins came from within the division. Its hard to expect that the Rams will do the same this season. If they do, that’s great and they will be in good shape. However, with Kaepernick and Wilson having a year under their belt, and the Cardinals getting better in the offseason, it is likely the Rams could at best split with each team within the division and possible even do worse. The Rams went to overtime twice with the 49ers, tying one and winning the other. Both teams missed out on opportunities in each game. If the 49ers capitalize on their opportunities to win the game, the Rams season could have gone differently. The Rams managed to only score two touchdowns in two games against the Seahawks. Had the Rams not played the Seahawks until later in the season when they were in their groove, the Seahawks could have swept the Rams. The Rams didn’t dominate the Cardinals as much as the scores say they did. The Cardinals failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities in the first meeting and the Rams finally pulled away in the 4th quarter. The Rams also got off to a slow start in the second meeting and finally pulled away in the second half, plus that was with Ryan Lindley and QB. I wouldn’t expect the Rams to do as well as they did in the division last year. However how well the Rams play against teams in their division could be the difference of making or missing the playoffs.
Rams Running Game Fails To Find A Groove
Fans are probably tired of hearing about it now, but in case you didn’t know the Rams did lose Steven Jackson in the offseason. Jackson carried the Rams on his shoulders for the past 8 years where he rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of those season and breaking many team rushing records in the process. The Rams did not go out and get anybody in free agency and did not go after one of the top running backs in the draft. The Rams will rely on Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, and Zac Stacy to get the job done. Richardson showed starting ability last season, and it isn’t really known what the other two are going to be able to do at the NFL level. The Rams play in a division where running the ball is tough and if Bradford is forced to throw the ball 40+ times per game and is forced into many 3rd and longs, the Rams chances are not good. If the Rams cannot find a rhythm in the running game, their chances aren’t good because unfortunately Sam Bradford isn’t Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees at this point in his career.
The Rams lost both of their 2012 starting safeties in the offseason and have replaced them with T.J. McDonald and Darian Stewart, both have little to no NFL experience. With the Rams playing in a division that has quarterbacks who are willing and able to throw the ball deep, stopping the deep ball will be very important this season. The Rams gave up the 9th most big plays last season with 88. With both of the safeties from last year gone, it will be difficult for that stat to improve. However of Darian Stewart steps up and plays like the coaches think he will, the Rams will be just fine. If Fisher didn’t have confidence in Stewart, he could have drafted Vaccaro or Elam in the first round, however he chose not to. Fisher will have a plan, and they should be just fine. But if the safeties do struggle and the Rams cornerbacks get beat, the Rams could be in for a long season.
Rams Falter Late In Season
The Rams bye week comes at a perfect time in week 11 for them to make the perfect playoff run. However, after the bye the Rams play teams that will also be contending for a playoff spot. The Rams play the Bears, 49ers, Cardinals, Saints, Buccaneers, and Seahawks after the bye. If the Rams cant win 4 out of the 5 games it may end up costing them when it comes to playoff seeding with tiebreakers. In do or die “playoff games” the Rams are 0-2 in the Bradford ere losing in 2010 in Seattle and last season against the Vikings. The Rams may have to win all of these games to make the playoffs especially if they struggle early on. After the bye will be a very key part in the Rams season.
Nobody expected the Rams to do what they did last season going 7-8-1 and going 4-1-1 in a tough NFC West. With good performances come high expectations. Fans and experts are expecting the Rams to make another sh0t the playoffs and possibly make it, however if they follow last season like they did following the 2010 season, the Rams will be looked at as a fluke team last year, and will not be seen as being relevant for a while.