This Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Rams will have a chance to start off the second half of the season 2-0. They would be 2-7 with the win over a 49ers team that is in complete shambles right now with an offense that is terrible and a head coach still mourning the death of his beloved father. The Rams have to take advantage of this, if they want to stay in the hunt for anything in the NFC West.
*Offense- Well, the Rams are coming off of their best offensive performance of the season in their only win of the season. Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson were firing on all cylanders last weekend and they need to do that again for this team to have any chance to win. The team dominated offensively throughout most of this game so that when the defense gave up 22 fourth quarter points and we still won the game, it was ok. As long as the offense does what it did last week, there’s no way in hell we lose this football game. No turnovers for Bulger last week, and he has to continue that streak. I know he can because of how accurate a passer he is. Also, Brett Romberg has continued to be limited in practice and I’m not sure of his status but Linehan told the Post-Dispatch that he will back up at guard and center on Sunday if he is healthy. The 49ers, simply put, have one of the worst teams in the NFL right now. Their offense can’t get anything going, and Mike Nolan is going through a tough time right now with the loss of his father. They need the playmakers to shine right now. Frank Gore hasn’t had a good year even though he did run all over the Rams defensive line back in week 2. Their main problem is they have absolutely no wide receivers. Darrell Jackson is way out of his prime and can’t be relied on, Ashley Lelie was never even much of anything when he was younger, and Arnaz Battle just isn’t any good. However, I do like Vernon Davis alot. He’s a young, talented tight end that can make a lot of noise in this division, one with bad tight ends. Alex Smith is still young, but there isn’t enough youth on this offense to win right away. They’re kind of half building from the bottom up, and half relying on free agents to do the job. That’s not the right solution.
*Defense- The Rams defense has gotten considerably worse over the last couple of weeks, though they still remain 15th in the league in pass defense. My theory is that the team’s offense has enough firepower to score 30 points by the end of the third quarter. They won’t do that every week but if they can reach 20 by that time, I beleive the defense will be able to afford to give up points. That’s exactly what happened Sunday, when our best offense was on the field and we had 37 points on the board at then end of the third quarter. The defense let the Saints get close, but we still won the football game. Against a team like the 49ers, it will be an easier task. They don’t have any real big playmakers on the offensive side of the ball that our defense will need to focus on at length. We just need to do what defenses are supposed to do: stop them from scoring. I think we’re capable, with a young defense like this. It really is a young group with some underlying talent that we have seen in flurries this season. Fakhir Brown has done great so far as has Pisa Tinoisamoa at linebacker. I also think O.J. Atogwe is getting a lot better at safety. As for the opposition, Nate Clements hasn’t lived up to his hype as a franchise player but Patrick Willis has done an excellent job in his first year as a pro so watch out for him backing up the line although I’m sure Steven will have no problems if he’s healthy.
Keys to the Game: Rams
1. Stay healthy and make sure the offense scores enough in the first half especially so their defense is worn down in the ladder part of the game.
1. They have to click on offense if they want to have any chance in this game. The defense they’re facing isn’t a great one so they have a better chance than in recent weeks to score some points.
Prediction: Rams 28 49ers 13
Also, this is an open thread for the game on Sunday. I will be here for the entire game answering any of your questions and reacting to comments on the game. Enjoy!