2nd Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: St. Louis Rams

We finish our previews of all 32 NFL teams with St. Louis Rams, who finished in last place in the NFC West last season.

Last year’s 6-10 season was the eighth straight season that the Rams finished with a sub-.500 record. In the offseason, the team tried to find a couple of its major problems from last season — the quarterback and running back positions. To fix the former, the Rams sent oft-injured QB Sam Bradford — who wasn’t able to play at all last season — to the Eagles in exchange for QB Nick Foles. To help out the running game, the Rams selected RB Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick in this draft.

With Bradford out last year, the quarterback position was manned by QBs Austin Davis and Shaun Hill, who each started eight games. Davis had the better performance of the two, throwing for 2,001 yards and 12 touchdowns with nine interceptions; Hill threw for 1,657 yards and eight touchdowns with seven interceptions. Like with the quarterback position, multiple running backs were starters at various points of the season. RB Todd Gurley led the running game with 765 rushing yards and four touchdowns in nine starts during his rookie season. TE Jared Cook led the team in receptions, with 52 for 634 yards and three touchdowns. WR Kenny Britt led the team with 748 receiving yards, with three touchdowns, on 48 receptions. The Rams were middle-of-the-pack defensively, ranking 16th in the league.

Foles should be an improvement at the quarterback position this season, and she should get help in the passing game from WR Brian Quick, who played in just seven games last season but is expected to have a much bigger role this season alongside Britt and WR Tavon Austin. The running game should still be muddled early in the season, with Gurley not expected to be ready to play in the first few games while still nursing an injury. By the second half of the season, though, I wouldn’t expect him to work his way toward the top of the depth chart.

Right off the bat, the schedule starts off with a tough matchup for the Rams, hosting the two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks. It gets easier in Week 2, when they travel to the nation’s capital to take on the Redskins, who could end up being the worst team in the league this year. The Rams then face three teams that made the playoffs last year in Weeks 3-5. The first of three games is a home game with the Steelers, then they hit the road to visit the Cardinals and Packers. The schedule then eases up a bit. The Rams end their season with a road game at the Seahawks in Week 16 followed by a visit to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. With the tough schedule they face, I think the Rams will win about five games this year, maybe six.

And with that, we wrap up our previews of all 32 NFL teams. Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview of the Steelers-Patriots season opener, then this weekend it’ll be our season preview and playoff predictions.

Source: http://www.stlouisrams.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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