The St. Louis Rams (2-11) have not had the year for which they were hoping. With an injured reserve list of 14 players -- including three receivers (Mark Clayton, Greg Salas and Danny Amendola), two starting linemen (Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold) and a whopping five defensive backs -- the Rams have had neither the luck nor execution they expected in the 2011 NFL season.
However, with three games remaining on the docket and the 2012 NFL Draft looming, the Rams will try to play spoiler, but have the added bonus of better draft picks even if they fail. In the AFC, only one team has clinched a playoff birth, the Houston Texans (10-3), while the rest fight for postseason play.
At least one Wild Card team looks likely to come from the AFC North where the Baltimore Ravens (10-3) hold a tiebreaker advantage over the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3). The Rams will have a chance to consternate the Steelers when they meet at noon on the day before Christmas.
December 12th, the Rams will take on another playoff hopeful from the AFC South, the Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) who are chasing the New York Jets (8-5) for their chance at the second Wild Card slot. The Bengals are one of three 7-6 teams in the AFC, so any losses could effectively end their season.
On New Years Day, the Rams invite the San Francisco 49ers (10-3) to bring in the new year with a loss. The 49ers have already sewn up the NFC West division, but the Rams do have an outside chance to keep them from home field advantage and a bye, depending on how the Green Bay Packers (13-0) and New Orleans Saints (10-3) are fairing at that time.