It's been a tumultuous offseason for the St. Louis Rams, who hired a new head coach in Jeff Fisher, saw new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams suspended indefinitely by the NFL for his incredibly distasteful role in the New Orleans Saints' "player bounty" scandal and made a blockbuster trade by sending the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft to the Washington Redskins.
The two extra first-round picks the Rams received from Washington will certainly help the team build for the future, but the process of getting better in the present will begin for quarterback Sam Bradford and the Rams on September 9th with a tough tilt against the Detroit Lions. The Rams probably aren't headed for playoff contention in 2012, but fans of the club are hungry for improvement after last year's 2-14 debacle.
Week 1 9/9: St. Louis Rams vs. Detroit Lions 1:00 EST, FOX
Week 2 9/16: Washington Redskins vs. St. Louis Rams 4:05 EST, FOX
Week 3 9/23: St. Louis Rams vs. Chicago Bears 1:00 EST, FOX
Week 4 9/30: Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams 1:00 EST, FOX
Week 5 10/4: Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams 8:20 EST, NFL Network
Week 6 10/14: St. Louis Rams vs. Miami Dolphins 1:00 EST, FOX
Week 7 10/21: Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams 1:00 EST, FOX
Week 8 10/28: New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams 1:00 EST, CBS
Week 9 BYE
Week 10 11/11: St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers 4:15 EST, FOX
Week 11 11/18: New York Jets vs. St. Louis Rams 1:00 EST, CBS
Week 12 11/25 St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals 4:15 EST, FOX
Week 13 12/2: St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers 1:00 EST, FOX
Week 14 12/9: St. Louis Rams vs. Buffalo Bills 1:00 EST, FOX
Week 15 12/16: Minnesota Vikings vs. St. Louis Rams 1:00 EST, FOX
Week 16 12/23: St. Louis Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 EST, FOX
Week 17 12/30: St. Louis Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks 4:15 EST, FOX
It isn't going to be easy for the Rams to improve markedly on last season's dismal record, as their 2012 opponents had an aggregate winning percentage of .523 last year, making their schedule the fourth most difficult in the NFL.
Nothing personifies this rather daunting slate more than the three games wrapped around the Rams' Week 9 bye, as the team hosts the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots before traveling to meet the 49ers after a week off.
MOST PIVOTAL MATCHUP
There may well be no game that sets the tone more for the St. Louis Rams than their very first contest of the season. If Jeff Fisher's new-look Rams can roll into the Motor City and pull off an upset or give the Lions all they can handle, that could do wonders for both the confidence of the players and the optimism of Rams fans across the land.