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Previewing the Lions' next opponent: The Rams are falling apart

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The Detroit Lions' Week 14 opponent is in free fall.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions (4-8) and St. Louis Rams (4-8) find themselves with identical records, similar coaching problems and equally futile playoff odds. But their journeys to this current point in time could not be more dissimilar. The Rams, starting the season off with an emotional division win. The Lions, starting the season winless through five weeks. St. Louis blowing a respectable 4-3 record by dropping five straight. Detroit desperately trying to pull themselves out of an 1-7 hole by rallying off three straight wins. But after dropping division games in Week 13, both teams find themselves in the same spot: likely headed for a top 10 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

But there is still more football to be played, so let's take a closer look at the St. Louis Rams.

St. Louis Rams (4-8)

Schedule so far:

Week 1 - vs. Seahawks - won, 34-31 (OT)

Week 2 - at Redskins - lost, 10-24

Week 3 - vs. Steelers - lost, 6-12

Week 4 - at Cardinals - won, 24-22

Week 5 - at Packers - lost, 10-24

Week 7 - vs. Browns - won, 24-6

Week 8 - vs. 49ers - won, 27-6

Week 9 - at Vikings - lost, 18-21 (OT)

Week 10 - vs. Bears - lost, 13-37

Week 11 - at Ravens - lost, 13-16

Week 12 - at Bengals - lost, 7-31

Week 13 - vs. Cardinals - lost, 3-27

Reasons for optimism:

The Rams are on a huge five-game skid. After starting the season with a promising 4-3 record, including wins over the Seahawks and Cardinals, the Rams have completely fallen apart.

Offensively, the Rams haven't scored more than 18 points in five weeks. As a result, the Rams fired their offensive coordinator on Monday and announced Case Keenum will be the starter against the Lions. Keenum is completing just 54.5 percent of his passes in his young career, and has a passer rating of just 76.7.

While the Rams boast a decent defense, they have not played well lately. Over the past four games, Rams opponents are averaging 27.8 points a game.

Reasons for pessimism:

Todd Gurley is the real deal. For all of the offensive struggles (they ranked 32nd in team offense by Football Outsiders' DVOA), Gurley has been a very big bright spot. The rookie out of Georgia ranks fourth in the league in rushing yards per game (83.5) and ninth in yards per carry (4.8).

Additionally, their defense is still pretty good. Through 12 weeks, the Rams defense ranks third in DVOA. The defense is led by Aaron Donald, who leads all defensive tackles with 8.0 sacks on the year. The Lions offense, who struggled with consistency last week, will have their hands full this week.