The St. Louis Rams got beat by the Atlanta Falcons in Week 11. But they actually won in the standings. This stuff only happens in the NFC Worst.
Losses don't count in the land of losing. No sir. When you reside in the NFC Worst, an NFL week that means so much to so many can slip past with nary a peep, leading you and the St. Louis Rams to wonder if Week 11 even happened at all.
The Rams, Seahawks, 49ers and Cardinals performed varied acts of ineptitude Sunday afternoon. And when 212 highly paid athletes finally rested their weary heads on their pillows Sunday night—their division hadn't changed a single iota. No easy feat in today's volatile NFL.
You may be displeased with the loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Rams fan. But if everyone else loses too, is it really, truly a loss?
Let's turn to the mirror and ask it if we actually thought the Rams could beat a 7-2 team with 10 days to prepare. I think that guy looking at you would gently nod no. It was a tough task and a valiant-ish effort was made. But when the tombstone was carved for the Rams it read, "Here lies a loss that was inevitable".
And while a loss in Minnesota all but extinguished the Vikings' playoff chances (and Brad Childress's career as a head coach) the same cannot be said in St. Louis. In fact, the clean sweep of Ls most likely put the 49ers in situation where they need to win out to be in the hunt for the NFC West. A task that isn't happening.
So by losing, the Rams eliminated a divisional threat and maintained position.
Not a bad day's work, boys. Maybe not something that's going to rally the fan base to a fever pitch... but productive nonetheless.
A week ago today I was totally wrecked by the loss at San Francisco. Between the bad breaks, bad calls and bad luck, the Rams had destroyed an otherwise enjoyable Sunday with a demoralizing loss. But this week? It's almost as if the Falcons game was something that was required, but really not needed. Like when a professor in college asked you to go see some horrible Shakespeare play for extra credit—at the end of the day, it's not what you were graded on.
Besides, you were way too drunk to go anyway.
This Denver game is a biggun'. The Broncos, like the Rams, are a sub .500 team. Unlike the Rams, they're playing for draft position and not a division title.
The Rams are 4-6 with a pending loss at New Orleans, which takes that record to 4-7. Let's assume that the Rams can exact some retribution against the Cardinals on this three game road swing and that's 5-7. So Denver is the pivot between coming home to a kick-ass game with the Chiefs at 6-7 and a playoff berth still very much alive... or 5-8 and all but done in the NFC Worst.
The Broncs need to be broke.
Problem is, Denver is as unpredictable as a football team can possibly be. They'll lose by 40 or win by 30. Kyle Orton can be twice as good as Elway or five times worse. This one is going to come down to gameplan from Spags and his staff.
Hell, I don't think I'd even be disappointed if they just came out and said they didn't really prepare for the Falcons because they were getting ready for Denver. In fact, I'd salute that kind of forward thinking. Pick your battles, right?
Can they do it? Can the Rams get a win on the road?
That's the million-dollar question. Trends say no. Injuries to a secondary that will need to be about five trillion times better against Kyle Orton say no. The Rams' record on the road since 2007 says no. Las Vegas says no.
Time to put week 11 to bed. Forget about. Lose it in your memory bank. Week 12 is going to be the game that ends the Rams' season once and for all or makes the following five weeks a hell of a ride.