St. Louis Rams schedule analysis

Breakdown: The St. Louis Rams opened last season with three of their first four games on the road, a tough beginning to the Steve Spagnuolo era. The schedule falls more favorably this time with three of the first four at home. The Rams open with the Cardinals, followed by a trip to the Raiders and home games against the Redskins and Seahawks. Then comes a trip to Detroit, site of the Rams' lone victory last season.

The long losing streak to open last season drained the Rams. The 2010 schedule gives them a better chance to win a game early. They fared pretty well against Matt Leinart after Kurt Warner left the game in St. Louis last season. Getting Leinart in the regular-season opener could work in the Rams' favor because Leinart hasn't started much in recent seasons. The pressure will be on Leinart, not the Rams.

The Rams went without a prime-time game, again, and that was to be expected.

Complaint department: Those early home games came with a price. The Rams face a late-season stretch with consecutive road games against the Broncos, Cardinals and Saints. Good luck winning those. And it's not as though the Rams ease into that stretch. Far from it. They face the 49ers (road) and Falcons (home) before their three-game road trip. That means they'll play four of five on the road beginning Nov. 14, with all five games against teams that could be contending for playoff spots. Tough draw.

Closing push: The NFL mandated every team play a division opponent to close the season. The Rams are doubling up. They face the 49ers (home) and Seahawks (road) to end the regular season. It's unlikely the rebuilding Rams will be challenging for the division lead at that point, but they can play spoiler against teams they know well.

Rams Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 12, Arizona, 4:15 PM

Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 19, at Oakland, 4:05 PM

Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 26, Washington, 4:05 PM

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 3, Seattle, 1:00 PM

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10, at Detroit, 1:00 PM

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 17, San Diego, 1:00 PM

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 24, at Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 31, Carolina, 1:00 PM

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14, at San Francisco, 4:15 PM

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 21, Atlanta, 4:05 PM

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 28, at Denver, 4:15 PM

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 5, at Arizona, 4:15 PM

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12, at New Orleans, 4:05 PM

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 19, Kansas City, 1:00 PM

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 26, San Francisco, 1:00 PM

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2, at Seattle, 4:15 PM