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2011 NFL Schedule Released: St. Louis Rams Face Daunting Slate Of Games To Begin New Season

After a surprisingly impressive turnaround season in 2010, the St. Louis Rams will try to take the next big step forward in '11 under third-year head coach Steve Spagnuolo. One thing is for sure -- it won't be easy. The Rams face a very tough schedule this upcoming season....assuming there is a season, of course. The most challenging part of the schedule is arguably at the very beginning of the new season. Let's take a look.

Week Date Opp. Time
1 Sun., Sep. 11 vs PHI 1:00pm
2 Mon., Sep. 19 @ NYG 8:30pm
3 Sun., Sep. 25 vs BAL 4:05pm
4 Sun., Oct.. 2 vs WAS 1:00pm
5 Bye week
6 Sun., Oct. 16 @ GB 1:00pm
7 Sun., Oct. 23
vs DAL 4:15pm
8 Sun., Oct. 30
vs NO 1:00pm
9 Sun., Nov. 6
@ ARI 4:15pm
10 Sun., Nov. 13
@ CLE 1:00pm
11 Sun., Nov. 20
vs SEA 4:05pm
12 Sun., Nov. 27
vs ARI 1:00pm
13 Sun., Dec. 4
@ SF 4:15pm
14 Mon., Dec. 12
@ SEA 8:30pm
15 Sun., Dec. 18
vs CIN 1:00pm
16 Sat., Dec. 24
@ PIT 1:00pm
17 Sun., Jan. 1
vs SF 1:00pm

That's three playoff caliber teams to open, with Philadelphia and Baltimore being potential Super Bowl contenders. Thankfully, two of the three are at home, with Week 4 also being a home affair against the Washington Redskins. The Rams then get the earliest possible Bye in Week 5. The schedule doesn't really open up much though after the off week. The Rams take on the Super Bowl winners from the past two years in two of the following three weeks.

Finally in Week 9 things begin to look less daunting. There's a million factors that will be in play before mid-November rolls around, but on paper in April at least, it looks like the Rams can either play themselves back into contention, or position themselves nicely for a playoff berth beginning with their road game at Arizona. Between Weeks 9 and 16 before facing the Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis faces no team with a winning schedule. A 7-0 or 6-1 streak could be possible during that stretch. And frankly, given how tough the first half of the season looks, they could very well need that kid of run in order to build on the positive momentum established last season.

For more commentary, analysis and fan discussion about the release of the 2011 NFL schedule, be sure to check out Turf Show Times.