With the playoffs in full force entering championship weekend you can’t help but wonder if the Rams have what it takes to compete at that next level with the teams that are currently playing.
The Rams are one of the younger teams in the NFL with the most potential and a team that is predicted to make the leap next season. Les Snead and Jeff Fisher both predicted big things for this team in 2014, and with the pieces they have in place, that could definitely be true.
This season it was the Carolina Panthers made that huge step and made the leap, surely you have to hope that the St. Louis Rams will be next.
After two consecutive 7-9 seasons, there is a lot of hope surround this team as well as a lot of excitement. By having two first round picks in the upcoming draft, the Rams certainly have a few things going for them.
Unlike many teams trying to make that jump to the next level, the Rams have their franchise quarterback in place with Sam Bradford who was on pace for a career year before tearing his ACL.
Snead and Fisher have stayed loyal to Bradford through thick and thin, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change anytime soon.
The Rams also have a variety of offensive weapons that can do all sorts of different things. They have a couple of speedy guys combined with a couple of big physical guys that can win the jump ball if needed. Combine that with a power run game, as well as a solid defense, and you have a recipe for success.
If it’s one thing we learned in 2013 however, is that you can have all of those things and still not make the playoffs. Being in the tough NFC West you need to be nearly flawless to get out and make the postseason.
The Arizona Cardinals went 10-6 in 2013 and managed to miss the playoffs which is absurd. The NFC West sure is tough, but the Rams have proved that they can do well in their division.
2013 doesn’t really back up that statement much, as the Rams went 1-5 in the West, but that was with backup quarterback Kellen Clemens. In 2012 with Bradford, the Rams went 4-1-1 in the division.
Posting a 4-1-1 record in the division more than likely won’t happen again next season, but if the Rams can at least split in the division, and possibly steal a game going 4-2, the Rams would put themselves in pretty good shape needing about six or seven other wins to have a shot at the playoffs.
Those games outside the division are going to be very important, but the Rams can do it. Against playoff teams outside of the division the Rams went 2-1, with the only loss coming to the Panthers.
The Rams have what it takes to compete with the best outside of the division, they just need to do it on a more consistent basis which will come with experience to the young players.
All together, he Rams went 6-4 outside of the division this season. If the Rams can split in the division and put up a 6-4 or 7-3 record once again, the Rams will certainly give themselves a shot at making the leap in 2014.
The Rams play the AFC West and NFC East in 2014, both divisions provide winnable games. The Rams also play the Buccaneers who they have beaten the past two seasons as well as the Minnesota Vikings who have questions all over the field except for the running back position.
Looking at those the Rams have some very winnable games, enough to where if they play well a 3-3 division record could be enough to get them in the dance.
The Rams have gone 7-9 the past two seasons. A lot is going to change between now and next season, but it’s time for the Rams to stop being mediocre and get back to being elite. The Rams have finally gotten themselves off the bottom of NFL, now its time to work their way back to the top.
Getting Sam Bradford back in 2014 along with two first round draft picks, could be what it takes to get this team over the hump and make the leap next season.