I’m not prepared to get crazy and start calling this Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins a “must-win” for the Rams, but after the way the team has looked during its 0-3 start, I think this is about as important a game as you can have in Week 4 of the NFL. Let’s be honest … in this NFC West, you are never out of contention until you get mathematically eliminated. With that being said, I believe if the Rams are going to compete for a division crown in 2011, it starts Sunday against the Skins. Washington is on a short week after playing Monday in Dallas, and they are coming off their first loss of the season in a game that was, by most accounts, one of the ugliest performances by two teams in 2011. We are at home for the second consecutive week, and maybe most importantly, it looks like running back Steven Jackson is going to be a big part of the offense again.
According to reports from the team, Jackson is expected to take on a bigger workload this week after missing time since Week 1 with his quad injury. Jackson has worked in limited fashion this week at practice, but it sounds like he should be ready to carry much of the load this weekend. I think one of the main reasons this offense has struggled so badly is the lack of Jackson’s presence, so we should see what kind of impact he has on Sunday. Maybe I’m being delusional, but I expect the Rams to go out and beat the Skins on Sunday. I look at the matchup, and as bad as the Rams were last week, I still think we have the advantage on paper. The games aren’t played on paper, however, and I think we will have a better idea of how good (or bad) this team is after this week.