Thursday, December 6, 2012
Cards falling right for rebounding Rams?
By Mike Sando
John from Tampa asked during the recent NFC West chat whether issues in Seattle and Minnesota could help the St. Louis Rams make a surprise run toward a wild-card playoff berth.
The Rams have improved to 5-6-1 following victories over Arizona and San Francisco.
A look at what the Rams are up against:
- Week 14: Rams at Buffalo. The Bills have been up and down this season. They allowed 600-plus yards to San Francisco, a team the Rams defeated and tied. Of course, the Rams lost to the Jets, who beat the Bills by 20. The Rams are as inconsistent as just about anyone. Buffalo has gone plus-four in turnover differential while winning two of its last three games. Some of the Bills' other vital signs over that span -- 29.7 percent on third down, for example -- aren't as good.
- Week 15: Rams vs. Minnesota. The Vikings placed top receiver Percy Harvin on injured reserve. Minnesota is a one-dimensional team on offense, but that one dimension is an amazing one. Adrian Peterson has 1,446 yards with four games remaining. He's got a legitimate shot at a 2,000-yard season. The Rams have improved against the run thanks in part to rookie Michael Brockers' strong play. St. Louis has to like its chances at home. Minnesota will take a 1-5 road record to St. Louis.
- Week 16: Rams at Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have lost two in a row, but their opponents had a lot to do with that. Atlanta is 11-1. Denver is 9-3 and has won seven in a row. Tampa Bay should be able to get going against Philadelphia and New Orleans over the next two weeks. The Bucs could appear "hot" heading into their game against the Rams without much changing beyond the strength of their opponents. Josh Freeman has 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Rams are 1-6 outside the NFC West.
- Week 17: Rams at Seattle. The Seahawks will be without the suspended Brandon Browner. Fellow starting corner Richard Sherman could also be suspended by Week 17. Rookie receiver Chris Givens was starting to emerge for the Rams when the teams played in Week 4. He beat Sherman for a 52-yard reception in that game. Seattle does have cornerback Walter Thurmond back from injury. The Seahawks are 5-0 at home. Their quarterback and passing offense are playing at a higher level than they were in Week 4. This will be a tough game for St. Louis with or without Seattle's top cornerbacks.