The Rams had the NFL’s top-scoring attack last season, which they have upgraded, and also have made moves to try to significantly improve their defense.
They came out of nowhere last season to win the NFC West title — and play in the nation’s second-largest market.
All that is highly attractive to televisions networks, so it’s no surprise that when this year’s NFL schedule was announced Thursday they were given five prime-time national TV appearances. It’s the most in franchise history. They made four in 2002, during their “Greatest Show on Turf” days in St. Louis — three on Monday nights and one on a Sunday night.
This year they’re on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” twice — Sept. 10 at Oakland (their season opener) and Nov. 19 when they face Kansas City in Mexico City.
They have two appearances on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” — Oct. 21 at San Francisco and Dec. 16 at home against Philadelphia. And they’re on Fox’s new Thursday night package on Sept. 27, when they entertain Minnesota in a game that also will be shown on NFL Network.
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Fox has Thursday games in Weeks 4-15, other than on Thanksgiving when NBC has an Atlanta-New Orleans matchup.
Seven Rams games were shown in St. Louis in each of the previous two seasons since they moved back to California. That figures to be exceeded this year, as they have what at this point looks like several attractive Sunday afternoon matchups that could be shown locally. Included are games against the Cardinals, Broncos, Packers, Saints and Bears.
The season begins on Sept. 6, a Thursday night, when NBC shows defending NFL champion Philadelphia entreating Atlanta.
One change of note is that prime-time games will start a few minutes earlier than last year. Thursday and Sunday kickoffs are to be at 7:20 p.m. (St. Louis time) and Mondays at 7:15.
All 32 clubs are scheduled for at least one prime-time game.