St. Louis Rams 2013 Schedule Analysis

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Athlon breaks down each and every team's schedule for the 2013 NFL season

The St. Louis Rams will feature plenty of new faces on offense this season. Can Sam Bradford and company come close to matching the success of "The Greatest Show on Turf?" Here's our look at the Rams' 2013 NFL schedule.

St. Louis Rams 2013 Schedule:

Week 1: Arizona
Week 2: at Atlanta
Week 3: at Dallas
Week 4: San Francisco (Thurs.)
Week 5: Jacksonville
Week 6: at Houston
Week 7: at Carolina
Week 8: Seattle (Mon.)
Week 9: Tennessee
Week 10: at Indianapolis
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: Chicago
Week 13: at San Francisco
Week 14: at Arizona
Week 15: New Orleans
Week 16: Tampa Bay
Week 17: at Seattle

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Out of the Gate: St. Louis gets to open the season at home against Arizona. Even though this is a divisional game, it's by far the easiest matchup the Rams have in September. After playing the Cardinals, the Rams have to go to Atlanta and Dallas before returning home to face San Francisco for the Thursday night game in Week 4. That's two defending divisional champions (Falcons and 49ers) and a road game against "America's Team" jammed into the first four weeks.

Toughest Stretch: If the Rams can survive the first six weeks, they should have a decent chance of finishing the season at .500 or better. Before the middle of October comes around, St. Louis will have played Atlanta, Dallas and Houston on the road and San Francisco at home. None of these four teams had a losing record last season and the Falcons, Texans and 49ers all won their respective divisions and at least one playoff game. The other two games in this six-week stretch are both at home against Arizona and Jacksonville. A break-even mark entering Week 7 has to be the Rams' goal, because anything worse does not bode well for the rest of the season.

Swing Games:at DAL (Week 3), CHI (Week 12)
Crossover Divisions:NFC South, AFC South
Bye Week:Week 11
Opp. 2012 W/L %:.539 (T-2nd)
Athlon's SOS Rank:3rd

Easiest Stretch: With seven games against teams that made the playoffs last season, there are few breaks to be found on St. Louis' 2013 slate. In fact, the only time the Rams plays teams that posted losing records in 2012 in consecutive weeks is in December. And even that stretch (at ARI, NO, TB) includes two teams, the Buccaneers and Saints, that just missed the .500 mark (both went 7-9 in 2012). This St. Louis team will certainly have plenty of opportunities to show just how "Ram tough" it is in 2013.

Circle The Calendar: The Rams will play their first Monday night home game since 2006 when they host NFC West rival Seattle in Week 8. St. Louis' other prime time game also is a home divisional contest, as it will kickoff Week 4 action by playing San Francisco on Thursday night. The Week 9 matchup with Tennessee is significant in that it will be the first time Jeff Fisher goes up against the team he coached for 17 seasons. Tight end Jared Cook is probably looking forward to facing his former teammates too.

Divisional Notes: Though it mattered nothing in the end, St. Louis actually posted the best record in the NFC West last season, going 4-1-1 against Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle. The Rams open (ARI) and finish (at SEA) the season with divisional matchups, with the ones at home scattered among their first eight games. The script flips after that, however, as all three NFC West road contests fall in December. This means these three games are crammed into a five-week span at the end of the season. The schedule alone makes a repeat of last season's 4-1-1 divisional mark seem unlikely.

Playoff Push: Since the Rams are in the same division as the 49ers and Seahawks, securing a playoff berth is a lofty goal in and of itself. When you couple that fact with a final month slate that includes road games against all three divisional foes and home dates with New Orleans and Tampa Bay (both went 7-9 last season), St. Louis' path to the postseason looks to be a difficult one. The Rams went 7-8-1 in 2012 and appear to be an even better team entering this season. Still with the degree of difficulty that is evident when analyzing St. Louis' schedule, the improvement this team is able to make this fall may not be accurately represented in the win column.

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Fantasy Playoff Run (Weeks 14-16): Sam Bradford got some new weapons, namely Tavon Austin and Jared Cook, but few breaks when it comes to his fantasy playoff schedule. On one hand there’s the Saints, who gave up the most fantasy points to QBs last season. On the other there’s a top-four fantasy defense in Arizona and a game against a Tampa Bay secondary that now includes Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson.


2013 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis:

AFC EastAFC NorthAFC SouthAFC West
BuffaloBaltimoreHouston Denver
MiamiCincinnatiIndianapolisKansas City
New EnglandClevelandJacksonvilleOakland (6/28)
NY JetsPittsburgh (7/1)Tennessee (7/3)San Diego (7/2)
    
NFC EastNFC NorthNFC SouthNFC West
DallasChicagoAtlantaArizona
NY GiantsDetroitCarolinaSt. Louis
PhiladelphiaGreen BayNew OrleansSan Francisco (6/28)
Washington (7/3)MinnesotaTampa Bay (7/2)Seattle (7/1)

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