Jan 5, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; The NFC Wild Card logo is painted on the field prior to the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field. San Francisco won 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Projections: Can The Rams Make The Playoffs?

Over the past week I have gone over the 2014 season projection of every offensive position, major Rams offensive player, and the defense . Now that we have all the stats done, we will see if those stats will be enough to get the Rams into the playoffs.

After two seven win seasons, many are hoping, and expecting, the Rams to take the next step. Although there isn’t a stat that you can look at and say, “All playoff teams have that in common”, I am going to take a look at all playoff teams over the past three seasons and see if the Rams numbers compare.

 

Quarterback

Sam Bradford: 3,356 yards, 24 TDs, 14 INTs

2013 Playoff quarterback average: 4,135 yards,  30 TDs, 11 INTs

2012 Playoff quarterback average: 4,401 yards, 31 TDs, 13 INTs

2011 Playoff quarterback average: 4,042 yards, 28 TDs, 11 INTs

 

They say that the numbers never lie, but some of these stats may be a little misleading. However, there have been a total of six quarterbacks in the last that threw for more than 5,000 yards, and then five quarterbacks who threw for more than 40 touchdowns which can have a strong influence on the stats.

Taking a look at quarterbacks who play in a similar run-first scheme like the 49ers, Seahawks, Texans, and Bengals. Bradford is right there. The one number that would be nice if it went down is Bradford’s interception number. If the Rams quarterback threw between 8-12, the Rams would be in pretty good shape to make a playoff run.

However, seven of the leagues’s top 10 passing teams made the playoffs last season and that trend is consistent over the past three years with 20 of the 30 quarterbacks who were in the top ten, making the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Rams, 3,300 yards wouldn’t be enough to get Bradford in the top 10.

 

Running Backs

Rams Projected Total Rushing Yards: 2,054 yards, 15 TDs

2013 Playoff Team Average: 2,003 Yards, 15 TDs

2012 Playoff Team Average: 1,922 Yards, 16 TDs

2011 Playoff Team Average: 1,920 Yards, 14 TDs

 

One of the biggest myths in the NFL is that to win you need to be able to run the football, that is unless you have Aaron Rogers as your quarterback. The Rams don’t have Rogers as their quarterback, therefore, being able to run the football is going to be key.

Taking a look at the stats, the Rams’ projected rushing yards and touchdowns are right there with the playoff team average. However, unlike with the passing game how being in the top ten was a good indication of getting you in the playoffs, only 40% of running backs in the top ended up making the post season over the past three years.

This is a good indication as to the mindset now with NFL coaches and throwing the ball a lot more than they used to. The NFL is a passing league, and that is evident with these stats.

 

Wide Receivers:

Rams Leading Receiver(Kenny Britt): 703 yards, 5 TDs

 

2013 Average: 1,094 yards, 7 TDs

2012 Average: 1,123 yards,  7 TDs

2011 Average: 1,135 yards,  8 TDs

 

As you can see the Rams fall below the playoff average over the past three years when it comes to their leading receiver, but that doesn’t mean that the Rams still can’t make the playoffs. A 1,000 yard receiver is helpful, but it isn’t necessary.

Last season the Seahawks won the Super Bowl without a 1,000 yard receiver, and only half of the teams with a wide receiver in the top ten in receiver yards made the playoffs. In fact only once in the last five years has the team with the league’s leading receiver, made the post season. Sure, having a 1,000 yard receiver would help, but it isn’t necessary.

 

Tight Ends

Jared Cook: 539 Yards, 5 TDs

2013 Average: 642 Yards, 7 TDs

2012 Average: 612 Yards,  5 TDs

2011 Average: 761 Yards, 6 TDs

 

Once again, the Rams fall below the line, however, having a pass catching tight end isn’t necessary for a playoff run. Only eight teams in the past two years have made the playoffs after having a tight end in the top ten, and last season’s Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks’ leading tight end only had 387 total yards receiving.

Jared Cook has the size and physicality to be a top ten tight end, and we saw what he can do against the Arizona Cardinals last season, but the Rams simply don’t use their tight ends like the Saints and Patriots.

 

Defense

Rams: 334 yards/game, 362 points, 16 INTs, 11 Fumble Recoveries, 56 sacks

2013 Playoff Average: 341 yards/game, 324 points, 17 INTs, 10 Fumble Recoveries, 44 Sacks

2012 Playoff Average: 339 yards/game, 362 points, 16 INTs, 11 Fumble Recoveries, 40 Sacks

2011 Playoff Average: 341 yards/game, 324 points,  17 INTs,  10 Fumble Recoveries, 40 Sacks

 

Unsurprisingly, by the looks of how the Rams’ defense’s projected stats compare to the playoff teams of the past three years, they have a playoff caliber defense. The scary thing is, they could be even better, especially in the sacks and points department.

Over the last three seasons, 50% of teams with defenses that ranked in the top 10 in total yards made the playoffs

Due to the fact that the Rams’ projected offensive stats didn’t really line up with the playoff average, the Rams are going to rely heavily on their defense to come through. Hopefully Gregg Williams has what it takes to get this defense to their full potential, because if he can do that, things are going to get scary.

 

Can The Rams Make The Playoffs?

It takes more than stats to make the playoffs, the Rams are still going to have to put wins together, and in a tough division that won’t be easy. Looking at the stats the Rams look to be right on the edge of getting into the postseason. Looks like we’re just going to have to wait it out and see if St. Louis can get to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

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