Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/15/12
The St. Louis Rams could be your 2012 NFC West Division Champions.

No, this isn't a misprint. They could be, but a case can be made for any of the teams, in what many consider to be the weakest division in the NFL, to host a playoff game at the end of this year's campaign.

Coming off of a miserable 2-14 season, the Rams needed to fill several holes to get back to a level of respectability. 

Luck is on their side, however, as other teams in the NFL have gone "worst-to-first" before. Actually, there has been at least one team every year since 2003 to do just that.

What has to happen in order for St. Louis to win the division – their first division crown since 2003 and the Greatest Show on Turf days?

At the helm: First, they got their man in Jeff Fisher. 

With 147 career victories as head coach, Fisher knows how to win in this league.  He knows the mantra, "defense wins championships", and he has had some monster defenses in Tennessee anchored by a stout defensive-line. 

In St. Louis, Fisher has the building blocks of a top-10 defense, ironically, anchored by a stout defensive-line.  

Defensive-minded: They drafted DT Michael Brockers out of LSU as their first-round selection this year. At 6-foot-6, 322 pounds, he's a beast, and was a serious run-stopper in college, and no doubt a serious all-you-can-eat buffet stopper as well. 

If Brockers can play up to his billing in the NFL, they will wreak havoc on opposing offenses by shutting down the run with Brockers, and pressuring the QB in DE Chris Long. 

Coming off of his best season, Long was fourth in the NFL in sacks last year with 13. James Laurinaitis led the team in tackles, but who else really was tackling for a 2-14 team? 

Get offensive: QB Sam Bradford has to return to form and play like he did during his rookie season when the team went a surprising 7-9. 

He needs somebody to throw to, though, and by not bringing back WR Brandon Lloyd, they are hoping for rookie Brian Quick and free agent acquisition Steve Smith to help out a beleaguered WR corps that hasn't had a clear No. 1 since Torry Holt. 

With seven straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons under his belt, RB Stephen Jackson will continue his onslaught on the opposition, along with helping out many fantasy owners this year. 

Crowded at the top: In order for the Rams to grab the top spot this year, they will need a lot of help from their NFC West rivals – all of whom have improved this offseason. 

With 11 returning starters from last year's NFC Championship loser, San Francisco is the odds-on favorite to repeat as division champions along with being Super Bowl contenders. Adding enigmatic WR Randy Moss to their talented roster doesn't hurt them either.

Seattle took advantage of the Peyton Manning sweepstakes and stole coveted free agent QB Matt Flynn from an expected reunion in Miami with his former OC, and new Dolphins head coach, Joe Philbin.  Another Manning suitor, the Arizona Cardinals, lost out on the future Hall of Famer and was forced to patch things up with their incumbent QB Kevin Kolb.

The Rams will need 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to suffer a sophomore slump and Randy Moss to be, well, Randy Moss and split the locker room; in Seattle, Flynn needs to be the second-coming of QB Charlie Whitehurst; while in Arizona, a brewing QB controversy needs to cause too much distraction. 

Add those up, along with Fisher and the Rams' other new additions and the 2012 St. Louis Rams could see a return to glory and be crowned your NFC West Division Champions.

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