St. Louis Rams' fans will learn a lot about their favorite team this Sunday when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars. No, this game isn't some sort of playoff litmus test. Rather, this game will let fans know whether the Rams are a work in progress hitting some bumps along the road or a bottom-dwelling pretender in the NFL, destined for mediocrity in the near term.
The Jags' futility has earned them a top 10 pick in the NFL draft each of the past six seasons. And while teams like Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Detroit have visited the top 10, they made the most of their picks and eventually made themselves into playoff teams. The Jags are still mired in that muck, looking at a seventh top 10 draft pick this off season after starting this year 0-4.
For the Rams, even as bad as they've looked the past two weeks, the test this week is a simple one: Can they beat the Jaguars on their home turf? What's more, can they beat them convincingly and show themselves at least a cut above the lowly Jags?
If so, then Rams fans have some reason to justify hope in this current group. In truth, only the most optimistic fans thought this would be a playoff season for St. Louis. The 2013 season was meant to be a stepping stone. Taking care of a team like Jacksonville in convincing fashion would at least provide some glimmer that the Rams are headed in the right direction.
If the Rams struggle with the Jags on Sunday or (gasp!) lose, then all bets are off. The signal to Rams fans would be clear. St. Louis's own decade-long struggle to regain prominence would clearly be off the tracks. There would be calls to blow the whole thing up and start all over again, and those calls would have justification.
So, what'll it be Rams? Let us know this Sunday whether we need to continue investing subsequent Sunday's monitoring your progress.
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