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St. Louis Rams' playoff picture dim, but beating the Buffalo Bills could make it brighter

The St. Louis Rams' winning is making their losing retroactively less bearable.


The St. Louis Rams' recent winning ways have pushed them into the playoff race, and that is weird. I don't want to devalue that very important point. Say what you will about Jeff Fisher, about the young defense, about Winning Being Contagious, but it still surprises me. They go into Sunday's matchup with the Buffalo Bills with the chance to improve to the statistically improbable record of 6-6-1.

But the weirdest thing the Rams' wins (and the tie) have done—stranger even than putting them into the playoff race—is make all their near-miss losses (and the tie) feel like lost opportunities, instead of learning experiences. It was much easier to stomach their failure to put away the Detroit Lions in Week 1, for instance, before that became the one thing keeping them from a .500 record; it was simpler to chalk their failure to put away the San Francisco 49ers up to inexperience before they beat the San Francisco 49ers a few weeks later.

None of those games have changed, but the context certainly has-this is somehow, for all its failings, a team that could contend for an NFC Wild Card spot. That's really good news for next year, aside from the devaluation of their draft picks, but every win forces our eyes off next year's promise and on to their inconsistent, infuriating-in-hindsight 2012 season. We'll see what happens after Sunday's assignment on the road and in the cold against the Buffalo Bills.