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2013 St Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams have not made the playoffs since 2004 but appear to at least be pointed in the right direction now that head coach Jeff Fisher has taken over. Fisher helped the Rams finish strong in his first year in St. Louis after they got off to a rough 3-6-1 start where they were still a respectable 6-4 against the spread. The team went 4-2 in its final six games of the season (5-1 ATS) to finish 7-8-1 overall and actually had the best divisional record in the NFC West at 4-1-1.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has yet to live up to the expectations of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Injuries and inconsistent play have kept Bradford from taking that next big step forward as a solid NFL QB, but he was able to stay healthy and start all 16 games for the Rams last year, throwing for a career high in passing yards (3,702) and touchdowns (21). Wide receivers Brandon Gibson (51 receptions for 691 yards and five TDs) and Danny Amendola (63 for 666 and three scores) were Bradford's top targets even though the latter appeared in just 11 games due to injuries. Veteran Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson rushed for 1,000+ yards for the eight straight year and finished with 1,363 total yards and four TDs.
The biggest challenge for St. Louis this season will be trying to overcome the loss of several key free agents, including Jackson, Amendola, Gibson and safety Quintin Mikell. However, the Rams were also very active participants in free agency, inking another former No. 1 overall pick to a long-term deal in offensive tackle Jake Long and also brought in tight end Jared Cook to give Bradford a weapon in the passing game. In addition, the team appeared to draft very well, using some of the picks they acquired the previous year in the trade with the Washington Redskins that landed them QB Robert Griffin III. St. Louis selected a pair of speedy, athletic WRs from West Virginia in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey as well as talented Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree, who looks like the complete package and should end up starting. The Rams also snagged Vanderbilt RB Zac Stacy in the fifth round, and he should help fill the void left by Jackson along with a pair of 2011 draft picks in Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes have the Rams at O/U 7.5 wins for the upcoming season. The future looks bright in St. Louis under the guidance and leadership of Fisher, who is more of a defensive coach and also has a difficult job of further developing Bradford. The problem is, the NFC West is stacked at the top, so it will be hard for the Rams to win more than seven games this year.
Recommended Play: UNDER 7.5
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