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Are St. Louis Rams poised for a playoff berth?

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In this week's edition of Sports Illustrated, their staff unveiled their annual NFL preview. In it, senior writer Greg Bedard released his playoff and Super Bowl selections.

For what it's worth, Bedard chose the Ravens to defeat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. But for fans of the St. Louis Rams seeking optimism that this is finally the season they break out, well, Bedard is your guy.

Included in his predictions, Bedard has the Rams going 11-5, coming up a game behind Seattle in the NFC West division but earning an NFC wild card in the process. It would be the first winning record for the Rams since 2003 and their first playoff berth since 2004. The fun stops there, though, as he has the Rams falling in the first round of the playoffs.

So is it that far-fetched? Well, it depends on who you ask. I have written and will have more later this week with a season prediction that the Rams offense (or lack thereof) will prevent them from taking the next step out of the mediocrity they've been stuck in the past three years.

But if the Rams can somehow manage to get through the first five games with a 3-2 or better record, they could certainly be in play late in the season when it's time to make a playoff push. The defense will have to carry the day in the first five weeks -- but if it does, and the offense limits mistakes, the Rams will be better positioned to deliver for those who deem them a team ready to breakthrough.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of the weekend's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... On Friday, we opened with a look at Dave Peacock and the stadium task force's latest efforts to keep the Rams in St. Louis. ... In the Ram-blings, we opened the day with a look at where Aaron Donald stands on the list of the 25 best players under 25. ... I then offered my final roster projections before the cuts to 53. ... Chiefs coach Andy Reid and receiver Jeremy Maclin offered praise for Rams quarterback Nick Foles. ... And we then looked at how the Rams were thinking as it pertains to center and how it could shape the roster. ... Rams coach Jeff Fisher confirmed that running back Todd Gurley won't play against the Seahawks this week. ... Some thoughts on the Rams' roster moves. ... War hero Daniel Rodriguez said an inspirational goodbye after his release. ... I then attempted to project the practice squad. ... The Rams then announced their practice squad.

Elsewhere:

The Broncos released running back and native St. Louisan Montee Ball on Sunday.

Will the Rams see Seattle safety Kam Chancellor in week 1?

Matthew Berry makes his bold fantasy football predictions for 2015.

At 101sports.com, Bernie Miklasz writes that Rams fans shouldn't be blamed for the current situation.

At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas offers some analysis on the team's cuts to 53 players.