The Long Road
With the lockout still looming large in the minds of football fans everywhere, the NFL announced the schedule for the 2011 season this afternoon.
The St Louis Rams, fresh off an impressive 2010 season that saw them go from the laughingstock of the NFL to within a single victory of making the playoffs, will head into the season as serious contenders to win the NFC West.
That being said, its going to be much easier said than done. On paper, the Rams have the most difficult schedule in the entire NFL. They'll face not just one, but both of the Super Bowl participants in 2011, both matches being away games in Green Bay and Pittsburgh.
They'll be forced to maneuver through all four NFC East teams and a very loaded AFC North division.
This season is going to be a challenge for St. Louis, to say the least.
The following week, the Rams will play their first Monday Night Football game in a few years when they travel to New York to take on the Giants. That game will take place at 8:30(ET) on ESPN.
Week 4 will see the Rams hosting the Redskins in OJ Atogwe's return to St. Louis. Last year, the Rams defeated the Redskins, 30-16.
Week 5 will be a bye week for the Rams.
Coming out of the bye in Week 6, the Rams will travel to Wisconsin to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in a game that will truly test how close the Rams are to being a legitimate contender.
In Week 7, the Rams remain on the road and head to Texas to take on the Dallas Cowboys.
The following week, the Rams will return home to face the Saints in a chance to get revenge for the blowout the Saints handed St Louis last season.
Week 9 marks the Rams' first game against a division opponent as they'll travel to Phoenix to take on the Arizona Cardinals.
The following week, the Rams will go back to interconference play when they take on Peyton Hillis and the Cleveland Browns.
In Weeks 11 through 14, the Rams will play four consecutive division games: at home against the Seahawks, at home against the Cardinals, on the road against the 49ers and then to Seattle for their second and final Monday Night Football game of the season against the Seahawks.
In Week 15, they'll move back to interconference for a home game against the Bengals.
In Week 16, they'll play a Saturday game against the Defending AFC champ Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh.
The Rams will then close the season out at home against the Jim Harbaugh-led San Francisco 49ers.
Sunday, Sept. 11 - vs. Philadelphia - 1 p.m. - FOX
*MNF* Monday, Sept. 19 - at New York Giants - 8:30 p.m. - ESPN
Sunday, Sept. 25 - vs. Baltimore - 4:05 p.m. - CBS
Sunday, Oct. 2 - vs. Washington - 1 p.m. - FOX
Sunday, Oct. 9 - BYE
Sunday, Oct. 16 - at Green Bay - 1 p.m. - FOX
Sunday, Oct. 23 - at Dallas - 4:15 p.m. - FOX
Which game are you most excited about this season?
Sunday, Oct. 30 - vs. New Orleans - 1 p.m. - FOX
Sunday, Nov. 6 - at Arizona - 4:15 p.m. - FOX
Sunday, Nov. 13 - at Cleveland - 1 p.m. - FOX
Sunday, Nov. 20 - vs. Seattle - 4:05 p.m. - FOX
Sunday, Nov. 27 - vs. Arizona - 1 p.m. - FOX
Sunday, Dec. 4 - at San Francisco - 4:15 p.m. - FOX
*MNF* Monday, Dec. 12 - at Seattle - 8:30 p.m. - ESPN
Sunday, Dec. 18 - vs. Cincinnati - 1 p.m. - CBS
Saturday, Dec. 24 - at Pittsburgh - Noon - FOX
Sunday, Jan. 1 - vs. San Francisco - Noon - FOX
A more detailed follow up breaking down each matchup will be posted shortly. Be patient and go Rams!