Like it or not, this is a big year for the St. Louis Rams. It’s not necessarily playoffs or bust, but this team hasn’t been to the dance since 2004, and the fan base is anxious to get back to relevancy.
Vegas has the Rams win number at over/under 7.5 wins. To get to the playoffs, the Rams are going to need a lot more than seven, their going to need more like over/under 9.5.
The Rams play in by far, the toughest division in football, and on top of that they have one of the toughest schedules in the league. Making it to the playoffs is going to be hard, but certainly not impossible. Here are three things the Rams have to do to make postseason.
1. Find Their Identity Early
This one shouldn’t be too difficult as they found their identity of being a ground and pound, run the football first team, in the middle of last season. It seemed to work out well for them as they went .500 after starting 1-3. By the time the Rams finally found their identity however, it was too late and they had lost their starting quarterback.
The Rams drafted the best run blocking offensive lineman in the draft and backed that up with a running back that will compliment Zac Stacy well. The Rams need to stick to their game plan, run the football, and play tough defense if they want to make the playoffs.
2. Defense Needs To Live Up To The Hype
Many experts have gone out and said that the Rams have the best defensive line in football after they drafted Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Some have even gone out and said that the Rams could have a top 10 if not a top five defense.
We’ve heard this all before though. People were saying that about this defense last season, that they could be a potential top ten defense, and had one of the best front sevens in football. The Rams ended up finishing 15th in total defense, far below their potential.
The Rams went out and got Gregg Williams who will pay massive dividends in turning this defense around. The Rams have the pieces they just need to put them together. This defense has the potential to win games, we saw it last season against the Seahawks, Bears, Saints, and Colts. The year before we saw it against the 49ers, Bills, and Seahawks.
This defense has the ability to be this teams offense, which in turn takes pressure off of Sam Bradford, and all he has to do is make the necessary plays that can give the defense the lead and let them take over.
The Seahawks and 49ers both have this type of defense and if the Rams want to not only compete in the division, but make a playoff run, living up to this hype is something that they are going to have to do.
Protect The Edward Jones Dome
Winning at home is important, but it is especially important when it comes to wanting to win the division. In 2012, the Rams were undefeated at home against the other teams in the division which in turn gave the Rams the best division record in the NFC West.
If the Rams want to not only attract fans to come to the games, but also make the playoffs, protecting the Edward Jones Dome is key. Winning on the road in San Francisco and Arizona is difficult, and it’s darn near impossible to do in Seattle. The Rams can’t expect to go 1-5 in the division again next year and still come out on top. Winning division games at home is crucial to making the playoffs in 2014.
Although there are other factors that will come into play if the Rams want to make the playoffs, these are the big three. The young players will still have to step up and the Rams will need to take advantage of the easier parts of the schedule, but when it comes to what they have to do, the three listed above are the most significant.
Some may not believe it, but the Rams have a legitimate shot and being a very good football team next season. The pieces are all there, the pieces just need to be put together and the Rams are moving in the right direction to do just that.