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  1. #1
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    Breaking Down the Rams’ 2010 Schedule

    Breaking Down the Rams’ 2010 Schedule
    8/19/10

    Predictions and prognostication seem to be en vogue this time of year, so it’s only fitting that I take a look at what the Rams are up against in the 2010 season and put some guesses down on paper (or rather, down on the internet).

    To give readers an idea of where I’m coming from, I’m generally an optimistic person when it comes to fandom; however the last three seasons have put me in a “Believe it when I see it” mindset. Translation: my predictions might not be as cheerful as some others you’ll find out there, but truthfully, there’s pretty much nowhere to go but up from last year’s one-win season.

    So let’s get this thing started, shall we?


    Week One vs. Arizona – LOSS (0-1)
    Say what you want about Matt Leinart, but he’s surrounded by perhaps the best supporting cast in the NFC West and he’s entering his fourth year under the same head coach. Larry Fitzgerald should be ready to go by Week One, and even if the Rams manage to slow him down, Steve Breaston and Early Doucet can take advantage of the situation. The backfield of Hightower and Wells will be tough to stop, and the Rams haven’t shown enough on offense to make me feel the Cardinals will have problems stopping them. If Bradford starts, he may have some issues with Arizona’s aggressive 3-4 scheme.

    Week Two @ Oakland – WIN (1-1)
    The Raiders are, well, the Raiders. Jason Campbell was efficient but hardly dangerous when the Rams faced him early in the season last year at Washington, and now he’s in arguably a worse situation. Oakland has some talent at running back, but their receiving corps is questionable IMO. The Rams may have some trouble with tight end Zach Miller, but hopefully hitting the Raiders this early in the season will mean the Rams get them before they find a groove. It’s been a while since the Rams traveled to Oakland, but the last time they did, Steven Jackson put on a clinic.

    Week Three vs. Washington – LOSS (1-2)
    Washington is slowly starting to build some hype, and it’s easy to see why. New quarterback, new head coach, new defensive scheme. Mike Shanahan will have Washington ready to go on offense, and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett probably knows a few things about some of the Rams’ offensive personnel, even if he’s a few seasons removed from being on staff in the Dome. Washington isn’t loaded to the brim with weapons, but they have enough to keep the Rams busy.

    Week Four vs. Seattle – WIN (2-2)
    Four weeks into the season, I think Seattle will still be finding their groove. Their running back by committee approach is fine in theory, but may take time before they really figure out the best way to use these guys. Their receivers are solid but not spectacular, and their offensive line is going through some growing pains as they groom a new left tackle but also deal with some injuries. Defensively, their secondary may be vulnerable and it’s likely they’ll be without LeRoy Hill for this game. If the Rams can find a way to contain big plays – I’m looking at you, Golden Tate – and make a few of their own, they could catch Seattle at the right time and come away with a win.

    Week Five @ Detroit – LOSS (2-3)
    St. Louis traveled to Detroit last year and squeaked out a win; I don’t think they’ll be that lucky in 2010. The Lions have done a good job adding talent. Their backfield is more dangerous with Jahvid Best, and they’ve added offensive weapons in Nate Burleson and Tony Scheffler. The offensive line may still be a concern, though the addition of Rob Sims helps. On defense, Detroit added standout prospect Ndamukong Suh along with Kyle Vanden Bosch, who looked stellar under Jim Schwartz in Tennessee. There are some issues in the Lions’ secondary, but I see them putting up more of a fight this time around.

    Week Six vs. San Diego – LOSS (2-4)
    Look, I hate to sound like a downer, but does anyone really see the Rams beating the San Diego Chargers? Philip Rivers is a Top Five or Six quarterback in this league, and though he may not have Vincent Jackson, he has some other targets that he can work with. The Rams have historically had problems against tight ends, and Antonio Gates is still one of the best in the league. San Diego lost Jamal Williams in the middle of their defense, but I still think the Rams will have some issues getting much offensive efficiency facing these guys.

    Week Seven @ Tampa Bay WIN (3-4)
    This is a little optimistic on my part, but I’m not sure how much Josh Freeman is going to bring to the table. I wasn’t a fan while he was in college, though the Bucs were at least competitive with him down the stretch, winning games against New Orleans and Seattle while keeping it close against Atlanta and Carolina. Defensively, though they’ve added some young disruptors at defensive tackle, their talent on the edge is still questionable. I don’t know if they have enough playmakers on offense to pull away from the Rams, and their defense could be susceptible. Like many games in 2010, it’s going to depend on how much the Rams’ offense can accomplish.

    Week Eight vs. Carolina – LOSS (3-5)
    Simply put, I feel the Panthers have too many weapons on offense for the Rams to stop. They have arguably the best 1-2 punch at running back, and it sounds as if they’ve finally found some receivers to start opposite Steve Smith. Dwayne Jarrett is said to be coming along this offseason, and if he doesn’t, Brandon LaFell will push him for time. Matt Moore finished the year strong in 2009 and has spent the entire offseason as the Panthers’ starting quarterback. Defensively, the team lost Julius Peppers but likes what they see in Greg Hardy, who could be in the starting line-up by this point in the season. I wouldn’t count on winning this game.

    Week Ten @ San Francisco – LOSS (3-6)
    This is going to be a rough stretch for the Rams, IMO. In my projection, they lost three of their last four games entering into the bye week, and they’re facing what I think are a few more after the bye. San Francisco is a strong team who should contend for the NFC West title this year. Alex Smith isn’t much to write home about, but the ***** have weapons around him and have made an effort to improve their offensive line. Defensively, they have arguably the best linebacker in the league in Patrick Willis. The ***** have shown some past vulnerability in pass coverage, but overall I think they’re an improving team that the Rams will find difficult to overcome.

    Week Eleven vs. Atlanta – LOSS (3-7)
    Michael Jenkins will be back by this point in the season, which means barring additional injury, the Falcons should be running on all cylinders. It’s hard to find a particularly weak point on their offense. They have a poised young quarterback in Matt Ryan, a capable running game, talent at receiver and tight end, and a fairly good offensive line. Defensively, there’s a lot to like about their front seven, and the free agent acquisition of Dunta Robinson gives them a legitimate #1 cornerback. They still may be weak at safety, but this is a team that will contend for a playoff spot and will likely make easy work of the Rams.

    Week Twelve @ Denver – LOSS (3-8)
    The Elvis Dumervil injury is really going to take its toll on Denver, but by this point in the season, Denver will have settled on how best to configure their line-up in his absence. Say what you want about this team, but I think traveling to Denver and facing a Josh McDaniels offense with more talent in Year Two will be difficult. Kyle Orton is having a great offseason, and Eddie Royal will be tough in the slot. At this point in the year, perhaps Demaryius Thomas will be contributing as well. By my count, this is now the fifth 3-4 defense the Rams will have had to face. Maybe they’ll be more familiar with the scheme in Week Twelve, but I think this will be a tough road game for them to walk away from victorious.

    Week Thirteen @ Arizona – LOSS (3-9)
    I don’t know what else there is to say about this one that wasn’t covered in the first game. Maybe the Rams can catch the Cardinals sleep right out of the gate, but I think they’re too well coached for that. By this point in the year, Arizona will be fighting for a playoff spot and should be very focused. The Rams haven’t beaten the Cardinals in Arizona since 2006, and I don’t see that happening this year just because Matt Leinart is in at quarterback.

    Week Fourteen @ New Orleans – LOSS (3-10)
    The Rams may have played the Saints tough last year, but New Orleans was missing a pretty sizeable chunk of their secondary for that game and then went on to become World Champions. I don’t see them making the same mistake for the second year in a row by overlooking the Rams again. The Saints will be hungry as they try to repeat, and know every win counts. Barring some injury issues like last year’s match-up, this team is far too talented for the Rams to go to their house and come out with a win.

    Week Fifteen vs. Kansas City – WIN (4-10)
    Another 3-4 defense for the Rams to take on, and this one might be the worst of the lot. I don’t have a lot of faith in Todd Haley, Matt Cassel, or the Chiefs’ defensive personnel as a fit for their scheme. I think this is a game where the Rams, if they’re playing well, could sneak out with a win. I believe the Chiefs will be weak along the offensive line, and as long as the Rams can contain Kansas City’s ground game, they’ll be in this one. There is some talent in the Chiefs’ secondary, but I’m not particularly impressed with their front seven.

    Week Sixteen vs. San Francisco – LOSS (4-11)
    At this point in the season, I think San Francisco is competing with Arizona for the division title and a playoff spot. They’ll need every division win they can get their hands on, and they’ll come to play. Thinking about the kind of damage Vernon Davis could do on turf scares me, especially considering how poorly the Rams have played opposing tight ends the last few seasons. Ultimately, while I expect the Rams to be a better team towards the end of the year as they grow and gain familiarity with what they’re doing, I don’t think it will be enough to take down San Francisco.

    Week Seventeen @ Seattle – WIN (5-11)
    Finishing on a high note, I think the Rams could go up to Seattle and come away with a win if they’re playing good ball by the end of the year. Seattle’s 12th Man may be tough to contend with, though perhaps a bit easier with Alex “False Start” Barron off the team. The wild card here may be whether Matt Hasselbeck is still under center, and how many offensive linemen Seattle has shelved due to injury. If they’re still a reasonably healthy team, this will be a fight. But Seattle doesn’t really scare me this season, and I think if St. Louis gradually improves from week to week, they’ll be in a position to hit the Seahawks hard to finish the year.


    So there you have it. My prediction going game-by-game is a five win season, which is a pretty solid step in the right direction following a one-win season. I’ve predicted two key road wins against Oakland and Tampa Bay, a sweep of Seattle within the division, and a win against Kansas City at home late in the year.

    Comments or constructive criticism always welcome!

    ClanRam ModCast: Episode Two
    Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!



  2. #2
    Molotov's Avatar
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    Re: Breaking Down the Rams’ 2010 Schedule

    Fairly reasonable guesstimate.

    Most folks that make these predictions go overboard one way or the other. These guys that emphatically state that the Rams will win one or two games are only revealing how little they know about the NFL.

    If Jackson stays healthy, the Rams win 3 more games then they won last year.

    If the two young tackles play above average, add 2 more wins.

    If Bradford is better than advertised, add 2 more.

    If one or two receivers step it up, add another win.

    Notice I didn't mention the defense? Because our defense will be very good as long as our offense moves the ball a little.

    Could the Rams be a playoff team this year? Absolutely. If you think it is impossible, you just qualified yourself as clueless about the NFL.

  3. #3
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    Re: Breaking Down the Rams’ 2010 Schedule

    Looks like a good assessment of our team. I'd hope we could squeeze 5-6 wins next season but I guess we will have to see how that plays out.

    A Seattle sweep huh? I'd hope it happens although i'm not so sure it does.

  4. #4
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Breaking Down the Rams’ 2010 Schedule

    Nice stab at it Nick! Sweeping Seattle would be awesome "BUT" sorry I just don't feel it.

    GO RAMS!!!!!!!

  5. #5
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    Re: Breaking Down the Rams’ 2010 Schedule

    Nick, we will go 2-14 this year baring injuries. Currently I see us beating Tampa & Kansas City (and this game is a bit iffy), we could easily go 1-15, but I'm giving us 1 game at home.

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    Re: Breaking Down the Rams’ 2010 Schedule

    Notes made where we disagree:

    vs Arizona - Loss
    @ Oakland - Win
    vs Washington - Loss
    vs Seattle - Win
    @ Detroit - Loss
    vs San Diego - Loss

    @ Tampa Bay - Win

    vs Carolina - Win (Moore doesn't impress me. By week 6, S. Smith will be out of the lineup. STL Def is good enough that "IF" SJ is healthy, and the Car Def has to play STL with SJ, we win this game, @ home.)

    @ SF - Loss
    vs Atlanta - Loss

    @ Denver - Win (I give Spag's and a healthy STL team this one. They'll force some Orton turnovers and be experienced facing the 3-4 <note preseason 1st string against the Browns>. I think they squek one out here.)

    @ Arizona - Loss
    vs KC - Win
    vs SF - Loss

    @ Seattle - Loss (I expect an end of a tough year let down here. Won a couple more than previous year, so the lack of urgency could be a factor.........ahhhh offseason.)

    6-10, I'll take it.
    Semper Fi!

  7. #7
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    Re: Breaking Down the Rams’ 2010 Schedule

    I would be extremely happy with a five win season. It would remove the Rams from being the bottom-dwelling franchise that they have pretty much turned into, and move us in the right direction for a playoff return next year!

    Nice post Nick!

  8. #8
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    Re: Breaking Down the Rams’ 2010 Schedule

    Now that week 1 has gone by, I'd be interested in seeing an update considering the outcome of some of these games (particularly with regards to the Seahawks and the Digits).

    Personally, I think you're more likely to sweep the Digits than the Seahawks. But then again, I'm a certified koolaid-drinking Seahawks fan, so I'm biased.

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