St. Louis Rams Schedule 2014: Win-Loss Predictions for Every Game

Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterApril 23, 2014

St. Louis Rams Schedule 2014: Win-Loss Predictions for Every Game

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    Nam Y. Huh

    The much anticipated 2014 regular-season schedule was just released for the St. Louis Rams and 31 other NFL organizations.

    Even though the Rams' regular-season opponents have been known since January, the dates, times and network coverages were released Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

    Here is a complete look at the 2014 schedule with game-by-game predictions, information and analysis.

Week 1: Rams vs. Minnesota Vikings

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    Seth Perlman

    Sunday,  Sept. 7

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    At this time, we don't know who the Minnesota Vikings' starting quarterback will be in 2014. Will it be Matt Cassel, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles? That's the million-dollar question in Minnesota.

    For that reason alone, the Rams garner the edge in this game at home. They have enough weapons on offense to take the lead early on in the game and never look back. The Vikings deploy a stout defense, but their secondary has been shaky the last couple years.

    In terms of talent, the two teams are evenly matched. But quarterback Sam Bradford offers up consistency at the most important position and will single-handedly will the Rams to a win over the Vikings. 

     

    Prediction: Win 

     

Week 2: Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Sunday, Sept. 14

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    Over the course of the last two years, the Rams have won both of their meetings with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2012, Sam Bradford carved up Greg Schiano's defense. And in 2013, Robert Quinn destroyed quarterback Mike Glennon. 

    So, Rams fans should expect St. Louis to have the upper hand in the game as well, right? Wrong. Tampa Bay completely overhauled its organization. The Buccaneers wiped out their front office, brought in key free agents and hired Lovie Smith to coach the team.

    With the moves they made, the Buccaneers have become immediate favorites to challenge the New Orleans Saints for the NFC South crown. Tampa Bay's moves also mean it has built one of the most intimidating rosters in the NFL. 

    St. Louis will have a hard time answering the pressure of Tampa Bay's front four. 

     

    Prediction: Loss

Week 3: Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Sunday, Sept. 21

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    When these two teams played in 2013, the Dallas Cowboys trounced the Rams. Shoot, the game was over by halftime. Nevertheless, things will be different this time around. St. Louis will deploy a more balanced attack on offense, Dallas' defense took a step back and Tavon Austin will play more of a role than he did last year. 

    There's no magic formula to win in the NFL, but St. Louis will go back to the tape and find one for its game versus Dallas. Another thing the Rams have to do is garner better starting field position. This was something that killed them last year early on in the season. 

    In all, the game will be a dogfight because Dallas has talent on offense, but the Rams will do just enough to steal a game in the NFC in front of their home crowd going into their bye week.

     

    Prediction: Win

Week 5: Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Sunday, Oct. 5

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    In 2013, Chip Kelly worked his magic in Philadelphia. He led the Eagles to the playoffs, transformed Nick Foles into an elite quarterback and revived Riley Cooper's career. That's saying something, because Andy Reid failed to do those three things in 2012. 

    Let's not forget, the Eagles defense started to play better down the stretch as well. By no means are the Eagles the team to beat in the NFC, but they are on the rise thanks in large part to Kelly. 

    As far as their matchup with the Rams goes, the odds will be in Philadelphia's favor. Why? Because the game is in Philadelphia, St. Louis has had trouble stopping LeSean McCoy in the past and Kelly's fast-paced offense will have the Rams on their heels. 

     

    Prediction: Loss

Week 6: Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers

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    Tom Gannam

    Monday, Oct. 13

    Kickoff Time: 8:30 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    Even though the San Francisco 49ers made it to the NFC Championship Game in 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Rams always find a way to keep their games with the 49ers within arm's length. This is definitely a credit to head coach Jeff Fisher. He always has the team rearing to go from start to finish. 

    With Bradford under center, the Rams should have an edge in this game. The 49ers took a step back on the defensive side of the ball, and their talent level on the offensive side of the ball isn't what it used to be. For months, questions have surrounded the wide receiver and running back positions. 

    By no means will this game be a blowout, yet it should resemble the game these two teams played at the Edward Jones Dome in 2012. It may take a late-game kick from Greg Zuerlein like it did in 2012, but that's OK. St. Louis will take a win over San Francisco any way it can get it.  

     

    Prediction: Win 

     

Week 7: Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Sunday, Oct. 19

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    In both meetings last year, the Rams played the Seahawks incredibly tough. They were one-seconded away from winning on Monday Night Football and two or three plays away from winning at CenturyLink Field. 

    Surely, Sam Bradford would have been the difference-maker if he would have played in both games, yet there's no guarantee the Rams offense would have been able to overpower defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's defense. 

    Much like the games have been in year's past, St. Louis will hang tight and put pressure on Russell Wilson, but that simply won't be enough to win. Running back Marshawn Lynch will be the deciding factor late and close the game out for the Seahawks like he has done so many times before. 

     

    Prediction: Loss

Week 8: Rams at Kansas City Chiefs

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Sunday, Oct. 26

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    Under head coach Andy Reid, the Kansas City Chiefs rose from the ashes in 2013. The rise wasn't surprising. They had immense talent on the defensive side of the ball, the quarterback position played better than it had in years and Jamaal Charles finished as one of the best running backs in the league.

    Can they build off of their superior season and win more than 11 games in 2014? No, because Kansas City's schedule will be tougher than it was in 2014. Yet, it will do something it has always done well: Win at home.

    The Chiefs went 5-3 at home in 2013 and will use their advantage at Arrowhead to put the Rams away late in this game. St. Louis will battle all the way until the end, but their lack of talent on the back end will rear its ugly head.

     

    Prediction: Loss

     

Week 9: Rams at San Francisco 49ers

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Sunday, Nov. 2

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    There's no question the Rams play the San Francisco 49ers tough. Every time these two teams play, Jeff Fisher has St. Louis well-prepared on the defensive side of the ball. However, the same can't be said about Brian Schottenheimer's offense. 

    Over the course of the last two years, Schottenheimer's offense has failed to break through and put a ton of points on the board. I realize the 49ers deploy one of the best defenses in the NFL, but at some point the Rams need their offense to take a game over. 

    It might happen when they play the 49ers at home, but there's no way they go into San Francisco and light up the scoreboard. This will end up costing them a divisional game.

    Let's not forget, the 49ers are one of the best home teams in the league.

     

    Prediction: Loss

Week 10: Rams at Arizona Cardinals

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    Ross D. Franklin

    Sunday, Nov. 9

    Kickoff Time: 4:25 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    Despite getting trounced 30-10 in Arizona last year, the Rams know they can go into the desert and clip the Cardinals in 2014. It won't be easy, but what game in the NFC West is easy? For the second time in as many years, St. Louis will have to rely on its pass rush to knock quarterback Carson Palmer off his game. 

    Moreover, Gregg Williams' defense will have to keep Andre Ellington contained in the backfield. With Ellington garnering a bigger role in the Cardinals offense in 2014, the odds of him reeling off long runs increase substantially. This may prove to be bad news for the Rams defense.

    In 2013, they allowed 12 runs of 20 yards or more and one run of 40 yards or more. The only way the Rams win this game is if they shut Ellington down the way they did last year. Fortunately for St. Louis, its defense will look similar to the way it did in 2013.

    This, in turn, means it should have no problem holding Ellington to under 50 yards rushing for the second year in a row.

     

    Prediction: Win

Week 11: Rams vs. Denver Broncos

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    Joe Mahoney

    Sunday, Nov. 16

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: CBS

     

    Even though this game is at the Edward Jones Dome, I have a hard time seeing the Rams competing with the Denver Broncos. Aside from the fact that the Broncos were in the Super Bowl last year, they bolstered their secondary and added Emmanuel Sanders to the mix on offense. 

    Denver is simply too good of a team to lose to St. Louis. That's not a knock on the Rams, because they are slowly getting better. But fans have to realize the Broncos' talent level is head and shoulders above that of the Rams. 

    Peyton Manning will push the ball up and down the field with ease, and the Broncos' secondary will overmatch the Rams' young wide receiving corps.

     

    Prediction: Loss

Week 12: Rams at San Diego Chargers

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Sunday, Nov. 23

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    It has been a while since the Rams traveled to the West Coast to play the San Diego Chargers. In fact, the last time these two teams played in San Diego, O.J. Atogwe was manning the free safety position, Stephen Davis was backing up Steven Jackson and Marc Bulger was playing quarterback. 

    Even though 2006 seems like ages ago, the Rams haven't notched eight wins in a year since that season. Thankfully, this week Rams will be well on their way to eight wins in 2014. And the Chargers will be one of those eight wins, because St. Louis matches up with San Diego quite well. 

    The Rams offense has a run game that will exploit the Chargers' front seven and a defense that will put pressure on San Diego's weak offensive line. You should expect Robert Quinn to have a big game against left tackle King Dunlap. 

     

    Prediction: Win

Week 13: Rams vs. Oakland Raiders

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Sunday, Nov. 30

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: CBS

     

    Without question, the Oakland Raiders made a tremendous effort to get better this offseason. They improved their pass rush with Justin Tuck, shored up the back end of their defense with Carlos Rogers and retooled their offensive line with Austin Howard. 

    Yet, that doesn't mean they will win any more games than they did last year. The Raiders still have a glaring hole at the quarterback position and their wide receiving corps is unproven. Look for the Rams to take advantage of that weak wide receiving corps by sending exotic blitz packages at Matt Schaub.

    Gregg Williams knows how to dial up a defense, which will ultimately spell trouble for the Raiders offense. Sam Bradford will also do his part and attack Oakland up the seams with Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks.

     

    Prediction: Win

Week 14: Rams at Washington Redskins

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    Tom Gannam

    Sunday, Dec. 7

    Kickoff Time: 1 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    For the first time in a long time, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder had a good offseason. He hired Jay Gruden to lead the team, and signed DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts to improve the wide receiving corps. 

    Yet, there is still one major problem. The Redskins defense didn't get any better. And in today's NFL, the Seahawks proved that defenses can still win championships.

    No, the Rams offense won't trample the Redskins defense like so many other teams have before, but Zac Stacy will be the catalyst in this game. St. Louis' run game has gashed Washington in the past (2012), so one should expect an even better rushing performance from the Rams this time around. 

     

    Prediction: Win 

Week 15: Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals

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    Tom Gannam

    Thursday, Dec. 11

    Kickoff Time: 8:25 p.m. Eastern

    Network: NFL Network

     

    The Rams won one game last year in the NFC West, their only win coming against the Arizona Cardinals at home. So, St. Louis is hoping its fortunes in 2014 are similar to those in 2013. The organization knows wins, especially those in the NFC West, are tough to come by. 

    Yet beating the Cardinals for the second time in as many years at home will be a daunting task. Arizona got better as the season pressed on in 2013, and St. Louis took a step back. Obviously, previous years' results don't predict the future, but they might in this case. 

    Why? Because all signs point to the Cardinals picking up where they left off in 2013. As I mentioned, they had a strong finish to the season and added veteran talent on both sides of the ball in free agency. The Rams, on the other hand, remained idle and did nothing to improve a less-than-impressive secondary. 

    It's hard not to like the overall direction of the Rams under Jeff Fisher, but Bruce Arians' club is one of the 10 best teams in the league. For this reason alone, the Cardinals will come away victorious in a hard-fought battle.

     

    Prediction: Loss

Week 16: Rams vs. New York Giants

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    Bill Kostroun

    Sunday, Dec. 21

    Kickoff Time: 4:05 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    Remember the days of Steve Spagnuolo, Billy Devaney and Cadillac Williams? Yes, it's a painful memory, but the Rams are a totally different team now. They are a more sound team defensively, the offensive side of the ball has more playmakers and Coach Fisher is a far better coach than Spagnuolo was. 

    In turn, Fisher's presence alone has made them a more competitive team. St. Louis' competitive nature will come in handy, because the New York Giants made a ton of improvements during the offseason. They now have a stout secondary, the offensive line isn't in shambles and Rashad Jennings brought talent to their ground game. 

    That's all fine and dandy, yet that doesn't change the fact the Giants don't play well on the road. They ended the 2013 season with a 3-5 record away from New York. This will give the Rams a distinct advantage in a game with two otherwise evenly matched teams.

     

    Prediction: Win 

Week 17: Rams at Seattle Seahawks

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Sunday, Dec. 28

    Kickoff Time: 4:25 p.m. Eastern

    Network: Fox

     

    The Rams may have lost their last meeting in Seattle, yet that doesn't mean they didn't compete. The game was much closer than the score (27-9) indicated. The defensive side of the ball held up its end of the deal, but the offense couldn't break through.

    Unfortunately for the Rams, that will be the case again this year. Zac Stacy will get his on the ground, but St. Louis' wide receivers will fail to get separation versus Richard Sherman and Co. This will ultimately doom the Rams in the end.

    Moreover, winning in the Pacific Northwest is almost impossible. The Rams are making strides, but the Seahawks are still the class of the NFC after a Super Bowl win in 2013.  

     

    Prediction: Loss

    Final Record: 8-8