St. Louis Rams: 5 Predictions for the Second Half of 2011

Doug ZerjalContributor IINovember 9, 2011

St. Louis Rams: 5 Predictions for the Second Half of 2011

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    The Rams are 1-7. It's been a frustrating, hopeless, then hopeful, then hopeless kind of a year. The inconsistency is what irks many St. Louis football fans. That inconsistency has caused many to question the leadership of Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo and GM Billy Devaney.

    There still is half a season to play though, and it will be very interesting to see what direction the Rams trend in the last eight games.

    Will the Rams finish strong by winning contests over their division rivals and AFC North teams? Or will the Rams continue this rough season by losing games in various frustrating forms? How will Sam Bradford fare the rest of the year? Will any defensive players take the next step and become elite contributors?

    Here are five predictions for the second half of the Rams' 2011 season.

The Rams Will Go .500 Down the Stretch

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    This prediction may sound ordinary, but for Rams fans the reality is far different. The Rams currently sit at 1-7. The schedule is decent from here on out though.

    In their last eight contests the Rams play the Browns, the Seahawks twice, the 49ers twice, the Bengals, the Steelers and the Cardinals again.

    In all reality, it looks like the Rams can expect to lose at Pittsburgh and at Seattle. The Rams don’t have the experience to beat the Steelers at Heinz Field, and the Rams never play well against the Seahawks on the road.

    So realistically to get to a 4-4 record over these last eight games would mean beating the Seahawks and Cardinals at home. That combined with a win over the Browns and an upset win over the 49ers one time or the Bengals gets the team to four wins.

Steve Spagnuolo Will Keep His Job

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    The Rams obviously need to get better. If the Rams finish with four or five wins, the organization will probably give Spags one more year to turn things around.

    Unfortunate injuries have really hurt the Rams this year especially on offense. Greg Salas is just the latest casualty on a long list.

    Expect the Rams to keep Spags for one more season to see if improvement is possible.

Bradford Will Post Impressive Stats

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    Expect Sam Bradford, who is finally getting healthier, to have a huge second half of the season.

    While the Browns, Steelers and Bengals have solid pass defenses, the rest of the teams on the Rams schedule do not.

    Bradford should be able to light up the pass defenses of the Seahawks and the 49ers who are ranked 18th and 22nd in the NFL respectively. Also, does anybody really trust the Bengals (6-2)? The Bengals will take a nosedive the rest of this season as they enter the “teeth” of their schedule. Bradford should be able to have success against them as well by the time the Rams play Cincinnati.

Chris Long Will Make the Pro Bowl

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    Long currently has 7.0 sacks. Expect the solid play from Long to continue in the second half of the season.

    The Seahawks, Cardinals, Steelers, Browns and 49ers all rank in the bottom half of the NFL in sacks allowed. Long should be able to create problems against all these teams left on the Rams schedule.

    If Long could get to 15 sacks, he should make the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

Billy Devaney Will Lose His Job

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    Devaney, GM of the Rams, will lose his job at the end of the 2011 season.

    Even if the Rams end up winning four or five games, Devaney will not survive past this year. The Rams lack playmakers besides Steven Jackson. Even after the acquisition of Brandon Lloyd, more change is needed. The Rams also have not drafted overly well in the mid-rounds for sure.

    The Rams need a fresh start with a different approach to personnel decisions. Devaney cannot be blamed for all of the Rams’ problems but obviously some changes will need to be made to alter the dynamics of the Rams’ roster.