2012 Rams Road Trips
A manageable start would help. In 2009, the Rams opened the Steve Spagnuolo era with three of their first four games on the road. Their first five home games welcomed Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Kurt Warner to the Edward Jones Dome. Tough game are unavoidable. Opponents were set long ago. But there's no sense in dooming a rebuilding team with an unusually tough early schedule.
Trips to Buffalo and Chicago early in the season could help the Rams avoid playing in frigid conditions for their two outdoor games in cold-weather cities (weather in Seattle can be rough, too, but generally not sub-freezing). Playing the Bears early could carry additional appeal if the NFL suspends receiver Brandon Marshall.
Trips to Miami and Tampa Bay early in the season can be tough from a weather standpoint, but the Rams should welcome such an arrangement. They train in the sweltering heat of St. Louis, after all, so the conditions would not shock their system. Also, the Dolphins and Buccaneers are breaking in new head coaches, as are the Rams. Perhaps there would be value in facing those teams early.
The Rams played back-to-back division games on the West Coast last season, first at San Francisco and then at Seattle. The second game was on a Monday night, giving the Rams additional time. The NFL will certainly work with the Rams this season as the team plays one of its home games in London. This will presumably include playing at home the week prior, then having a bye to decompress following the trip overseas. The Rams travel 4,190 miles to London, and 7,998 miles to their eight other destinations (one way).
The Rams have faced the Washington Redskins by Week 6 in each of the past four seasons. Another early game against them might beat the alternative this season given that Washington will likely be breaking in a rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
Note: The chart shows one-way travel distances for road opponents, plus the home game against New England, relocated to London. The Rams play in St. Louis against the Cardinals, 49ers, Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Redskins and New York Jets.