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St. Louis Rams schedule analysis

4/19/2011

Breakdown: The Rams open with three of their first four games at home, giving them a better chance against some tough teams. One of those games is against the Washington Redskins, who face the Rams for a fourth consecutive season and the second year in a row at the Edward Jones Dome. Since 2008, the Rams are 2-1 against the Redskins and 8-37 against everyone else. It's clear in looking at the schedule that the Rams have earned some respect. They are back on "Monday Night Football" for the first time since the 2006 season -- not just once, but twice. The team faces the New York Giants on the road in a Week 2 Monday night game pitting coach Steve Spagnuolo against his former team. Experience and inside knowledge should arm him with an excellent plan for Eli Manning. In Week 14, the Rams return to Qwest Field, the scene of their painful Week 17 defeat last season, for their second appearance on Monday night.

Complaint department: The Rams play back-to-back divisional road games on the West Coast when they visit San Francisco and Seattle in December. That is rough, but other teams in the division had more to complain about. The Rams face both Super Bowl participants on the road, but we knew that well before Tuesday. Spagnuolo will probably welcome the tough schedule. He's been eager for the Rams to step up in class. And he does get a bye week before heading onto the road against Green Bay and Dallas. Facing Baltimore on a short week following the Monday night matchup against the Giants isn't easy, but at least the game is in St. Louis.

The Bradford effect: The Rams had yet to select quarterback Sam Bradford in the 2010 draft when the NFL released its schedule for last season. Bradford's performance as a rookie has raised hopes in St. Louis and made the Rams more marketable nationally. The team was probably going to play the Hall of Fame game anyway given than ex-Rams Marshall Faulk and Les Richter will be enshrined this year, but Bradford's presence muted the groan factor. Throw in those two Monday night games and it's clear perceptions about the Rams are changing.

Rams Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 11, Philadelphia, 1:00 PM

Week 2: Monday, Sep. 19, at NY Giants, 8:30 PM

Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 25, Baltimore, 4:05 PM

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 2, Washington, 1:00 PM

Week 5: BYE

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 16, at Green Bay, 1:00 PM

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 23, at Dallas, 4:15 PM

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 30, New Orleans, 1:00 PM

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 6, at Arizona, 4:15 PM

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 13, at Cleveland, 1:00 PM

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 20, Seattle, 4:05 PM

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 27, Arizona, 1:00 PM

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 4, at San Francisco, 4:15 PM

Week 14: Monday, Dec. 12, at Seattle, 8:30 PM

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 18, Cincinnati, 1:00 PM

Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 24, at Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 1, San Francisco, 1:00 PM