The St. Louis Rams remain a positive story as the 2012 NFC West season heads into Week 7.
They've got a 3-3 record, up from 2-14 last season, and they recently outgained the Miami Dolphins by a 462-192 margin in net yards.
But as former NFL coach Rick Venturi explained during his defensive film review for 101ESPN St. Louis, lapses by cornerback Janoris Jenkins and the Rams' special teams gift-wrapped 10 points for Miami in a game the Dolphins would win, 17-14. Venturi's analyses are always a great listen.
A little later Tuesday, I joined Brian Stull and Danny Cox in discussing not only the Rams but every NFC West team during our weekly conversation on 101ESPN.
The baseball playoffs have pulled regular host Bernie Miklasz onto the road over the past couple weeks. As a result, we haven't connected for our usual Tuesday conversations recently.
The show went on Tuesday with Stull, who has covered the Rams and knows the team well, and Cox, a former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher.
They asked if recent events would force a reevaluation of the NFC West race. I didn't think so. Preseason expectations took a hit early in the season, but injuries and other factors are making them line up with what we're seeing now. My full answer:
"We thought the 49ers would probably be the best team in the division. I still think that over the course of the season, they're going to be the team to beat. They had a horrible game the other day, but it had a lot to do with the Giants.
"I think Seattle has made a stride and a move, and is better than Arizona. And that is something we forecast before the season.
"We knew St. Louis would be better. I thought they would be better just by default because they were so hurt last year. But I think St. Louis has probably even better than I expected. I thought especially after losing Amendola that there's now way they're going to go out at Miami, which has played pretty good defense, and have 462 yards. The Rams have outshot their expectations more than I would have imagined. That is a credit to Fisher and the players."
The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks in Week 1, of course. Meanwhile, the Seahawks seem to be gaining momentum at quarterback. They're also much healthier than the Cardinals at this point. Both teams are 4-2, but with Arizona's two consecutive defeats and a tough stretch ahead, the Cardinals' outlook has changed. They might wind up fulfilling earlier expectations for reasons beyond the ones we thought might come into play (offensive line and quarterbacks, primarily).