Monday, October 29, 2012
Around the NFC West: Rams bottom out?
By Mike Sando
Strong play from the defensive line and secondary helped the St. Louis Rams win three of their first five games this season.
Both areas have fallen into disrepair over the past six quarters in particular. Green Bay and New England have outscored the Rams by a combined 65-21 over that span. The Patriots' 45-7 victory at London's Wembley Stadium in Week 8 marked a low point for the Rams in their first season under coach Jeff Fisher.
What happens next?
A bye week, fortunately. But with five of their final eight games on the road, the 3-5 Rams face an uphill fight to keep pace in the NFC West. They have only one home game remaining in the division, against San Francisco. They finish the season on opposite coasts: at Tampa Bay in Week 16, then at Seattle in Week 17.
In retrospect, the Rams relied too heavily on turnovers to compete early in the season. They picked off eight passes in their first four games. They have zero interceptions in their subsequent four games.
We should expect those numbers to swing back in the Rams' favor to some degree.
They have faced Robert Griffin III, Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in the first half of the season. They face Alex Smith (twice), Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick, John Skelton (or Kevin Kolb), Christian Ponder, Josh Freeman and Russell Wilson the rest of the way.
Losing a few games can make it seem as though a team will never again experience victory. Rams fans know the feeling too well. This team is on pace for five or six victories, however, and that was about what we expected coming off a 15-65 run over five seasons.