Saturday, January 11, 2014
Rams-related playoff notes: Divisional round
By Nick Wagoner
ST. LOUIS -- Last week, we took a look at how the Rams were connected to some teams and players in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs. The connections run even deeper this week as the Rams have played a total of seven games against five of the eight teams left standing.
There aren't a ton of former Rams players floating around on rosters of the teams left, but a few could play key roles this weekend. Before the games begin today, let's take a look at some teams and faces Rams fans might recognize in the next two days.
- The Rams played seven games total against Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, Carolina and Indianapolis. They went 2-5 in those contests with convincing wins against the Colts and Saints. St. Louis held its own in the home meeting with the Seahawks but was blown out in Seattle, both times by San Francisco and the Panthers.
- In those seven games, the Rams were outscored 153-122 but the turnover margin broke exactly even. In the five losses, they were outscored 129-57 and were minus-seven in turnover margin. In the two wins, the Rams outscored the Saints and Colts by a total of 41 points and were plus-seven in turnover margin.
- The Rams are one of five teams to play seven regular-season games against remaining playoff teams. Arizona, Atlanta, Houston and Tampa Bay did the same. That should be no surprise, then, that the Rams finished with the fourth-toughest schedule in the league in terms of opponents' winning percentage (.551).
- It should also be noted the Rams played just most of two games with starting quarterback Sam Bradford in the lineup. He was at the control in the first loss to San Francisco and played most of the game at Carolina before he suffered his season-ending ACL injury.
- The Rams also played Denver in the preseason, facing the Broncos starters for the first half in a game the Rams actually led heading into the locker room after the first 30 minutes (and would eventually win).
- Wild-card weekend was a good one for many former Rams in terms of individual performances but not necessarily for their teams. Green Bay's Ryan Pickett, Philadelphia's Bradley Fletcher and Kansas City's Donnie Avery all contributed in their games but lost and ended their seasons. Indianapolis cornerback Josh Gordy, whom the Rams receive a seventh-round draft choice for this year from a 2012 trade, made a big play to keep the Colts alive and will play the Patriots tonight.
- As for other former Rams still standing, here's a breakdown of who plays where:San Francisco - Safety Craig Dahl
Carolina - Safety Quintin Mikell
New England - Receiver Danny Amendola, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, tight end Matthew Mulligan
Indianapolis - Gordy
Denver - Linebacker Paris Lenon
- San Diego also has receiver Danario Alexander, but he's on injured reserve with a knee injury so we don't count him as players who will be in action this weekend.
- Having seen many of these teams live, I think this weekend's games should provide some good entertainment though it'll be hard to top the wild-card weekend. Here are some picks you didn't ask for based on what I've seen this year: Seattle over New Orleans, San Francisco over Carolina, New England over Indianapolis and Denver over San Diego. Tastes like chalk in here which means some (or most) of those predictions are sure to be wrong. Here's hoping for another weekend of entertaining football. Enjoy, everybody.