2015 St. Louis Rams game-by-game predictions

Back in April, I predicted that the St. Louis Rams would finish with an 8-8 record before seeing what they did in the draft and how they finished the offseason. After seeing them in camp and the preseason, I'm sticking with that choice. While they have talent, the offense will take too long to rev up and the defense won't be able to carry them to enough wins for a breakthrough.

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, vs. Seattle, 1 p.m. ET

The Rams have been a tough out for the Seahawks at home in recent years, including a trickery-induced victory in 2014. In a game that will feature two offensive lines trying to find themselves and two defenses primed for big things, expect another NFC West slugfest with little scoring. The Rams find a way to steal one late. Rams 13, Seahawks 10. Record: 1-0

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20, at Washington, 1 p.m. ET

The Redskins will be in search of revenge for the Rams' shutout victory a season ago when coach Jeff Fisher sent out the players acquired with the draft picks from the 2012 trade as team captains. Washington coach Jay Gruden might bring something extra to the table in search of a victory this time, but the Rams defense should be able to overwhelm a team still in search of answers on the offensive line and quarterback. Rams 24, Redskins 14. Record: 2-0

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. ET

Expect plenty of Steelers faithful in the stands for this one as Pittsburgh brings its high-powered offense to town. The bad news for the Rams is that Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell will be making his debut here after having his suspension reduced to two games. The worse news is that Antonio Brown is exactly the type of receiver who can give the Rams' secondary fits. Steelers 30, Rams 20. Record: 2-1

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4, at Arizona, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Rams and Cardinals had a pair of close matchups in 2014, and Arizona emerged with both victories. The Cardinals will again be a tough out and with Carson Palmer under center they should find a way to yet another victory here. Cardinals 20, Rams 16. Record 2-2

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, at Green Bay, 1 p.m. ET

A brutal three-game stretch comes to an end against one of the league's most dynamic offenses in one of the toughest road environments in the NFL. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is able to avoid the pass rush and take advantage of a secondary that allowed the highest completion percentage in the league last year as the Packers roll. Packers 34, Rams 17. Record: 2-3

Week 6: Bye

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, vs. Cleveland, 1 p.m. ET

Coming off a much-needed bye, the Rams get to host the Browns in what should be a winnable game. Cleveland has some good pieces on defense but not enough to overcome a barrage from the Rams defense. Cleveland stays close before the Rams pull away late. Rams 24, Browns 9. Record: 3-3

Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1, vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m. ET

The Rams get their first-look at the revamped Niners and like what they see as they are able to get after Colin Kaepernick and find more success running the ball on offense than they've had in recent meetings with San Francisco. Rams 20, 49ers 14. Record: 4-3

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, at Minnesota, 1 p.m. ET

The Vikings throttled the Rams in the 2014 season opener and while the Rams hope things have changed for the better, the Vikings look like the team on the rise that many have believed the Rams to be in recent years. The Rams have had a knack for pulling off surprising wins and having disappointing losses under Fisher's guidance. This has the makings of the latter. Vikings 31, Rams 13. Record: 4-4

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 15, vs. Chicago, 1 p.m. ET

The storylines here will likely involve the Long brothers playing against each other and what figures to be a crowd heavy on Bears fans. But this should also be a game the Rams need to win. They will. Rams 31, Bears 21. Record: 5-4

Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22, at Baltimore, 1 p.m. ET

The Rams defense allowed too many big plays in the passing game last year, a trend they hope to reverse in 2015. But Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco offers some not-so-heartwarming flashbacks as he connects with Steve Smith and rookie Breshad Perriman for enough big plays to prevent the Rams from going two games over .500. Ravens 26, Rams 19. Record: 5-5

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. ET

The Rams' habit of pulling off a surprising or mildly surprising victory or two every year comes to the forefront here as they go to Cincinnati and handle the Bengals with relative ease. Think of the Indianapolis game in 2013. Rams 27, Bengals 13. Record: 6-5

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 6, vs. Arizona, 1 p.m. ET

Expect a near replay of last year's meeting in St. Louis, when points were hard to come by and the Cardinals found a way to get the win late. Only difference is this time the Rams finally overcome the Cardinals and make the play that gets them a victory. Rams 13, Cardinals 6. Record: 7-5

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, vs. Detroit, 1 p.m. ET

The Rams have a bad habit of losing a home game or two they're expected to win every season. In 2013 it was the Titans. Last year it was the Giants. Let's go with Calvin Johnson and the Lions this year as the Rams' playoff hopes take a hit. Lions 26, Rams 20. Record: 7-6

Week 15: Thursday, Dec. 17, vs. Tampa Bay, 8:25 p.m. ET

This could be the Rams' final home game in St. Louis and in prime time to boot. But if it is, at least they go out on a high note as they give Jameis Winston fits with their pass rush and put themselves back in the mix for a wild card. Rams 22, Buccaneers 10. Record: 8-6

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, at Seattle, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Rams begin a two-game West Coast swing with a trip to face the Seahawks. Playing in Seattle has been difficult for everyone, especially the Rams, and those struggles continue here as Seattle puts the NFC West away and all but eliminates the Rams from the playoff picture. Seahawks 20, Rams 9. Record: 8-7

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m. ET

Officially out of the playoff picture, the Rams don't come away with the performance many would expect against a Niners team that is also already out of the race. Whether the Rams stay on the West Coast in the week leading up to the game or travel back and forth, they look fatigued and come up short of their first winning record since 2003. 49ers 16, Rams 13. Record: 8-8