NFL: St. Louis Rams will be in the playoffs in 2014 if…

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Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The “Greatest Show on Turf” has become nothing but a distant memory in the Gateway City.

Remember when the St. Louis Rams were busy lighting up the scoreboard on a weekly basis and were busy making two Super Bowl appearances in three seasons? The franchise won an NFL title in 1999 and fell short of another after that 20-17 loss to the New England Patriots at the Superdome.

Since then, the team has made a couple of postseason appearances, winning the NFC West in 2003 and grabbing a wild card berth in ’04 with an 8-8 record. The Rams even won a playoff game that latter season, besting the Seattle Seahawks before bowing to the Atlanta Falcons one week later.

And that’s all she wrote.

Over the last nine seasons, the Rams own a dismal 43-100-1 mark and posted seven straight losing campaigns. When current head coach Jeff Fisher took over in 2012, he was the sixth man to hold that position with the franchise since ’05.

This is certainly a team with plenty of promise. There has been a lot of young talent added to the club via the draft in recent seasons, most notably in the first round. But that hasn’t added up to success just yet.

Of course, playing in the NFC West these days doesn’t exactly help. As recently as 2010, the division was won by a losing team, the Seattle Seahawks edging the Rams on tiebreakers and went to the playoffs with a 7-9 record. This past season, Fisher’s team finished 7-9 which was good enough to finish three games out of third place in the NFC West behind the Arizona Cardinals.

Now the division houses the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks as well as the powerful San Francisco 49ers, who have reached two NFC title games and a Super Bowl over the last three years. Getting past that duo alone is a tall task indeed.

This is the 13th part of a 32-team series in which we’ll look at the “if, and & but’s” of each team’s chances to make the postseason.

But hope springs eternal. And St. Louis will reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004…

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