The “bold predictions” were a staple on this website back at the beginning of the season, got dropped after the pummeling by the Green Bay Packers. The thought was that maybe the predictions were a bad omen to the team, in some way effecting their play on the field. However, since the last “bold prediction” was made, the St. Louis Rams have not won a single game. Coincidence? Maybe. Will Ramblin’ Fan do anything that might help the Rams win a game? Yes. If memory serves me well, there is a saying, “It is only crazy if it doesn’t work.” And thus, here are our five bold predictions for the game…
1. Bradford will not have as bad of a game as Matt Ryan last week
Not necessarily a “bold” prediction, considering Ryan threw 5 interceptions in that game. However, despite the inefficiency in the turnover game, the offense was still quite impressive through the air. Ryan converted on 7 of 16 3rd down attempts, including 15 passing first downs, and completed 8 passes to Roddy White for 123 yards. No one should expect any receiver on the Rams to put up those numbers, especially with Amendola likely out. However, Bradford should play a much better game in terms of a Touchdown-to-Interception ratio, having thrown 2 touchdowns against Arizona when the teams met back in Week 5.
2. The Rams defensive line will tally at least 5 sacks against the Cardinals
The last time the St. Louis defensive front matched up against the Cardinals, the team pulled down then-starting quarterback Kevin Kolb 9 times. They also recorded 7 tackles for a loss and hit Kolb 11 times, not counting the sacks. The Cardinals offensive line has seemingly improved since that time, allowing only 9 total sacks in the last three games. However, that may be more a result of the teams they were playing than the performance of the offensive line. Atlanta is in the bottom half of the league in sacks, which was exacerbated by the dropping of Ray Edwards from the defensive line rotation the week before playing the Cards. The Green Bay Packers played without Clay Matthews or B.J. Raji in their game against Arizona, and the San Francisco 49ers have not been able to get the opposing quarterback all season, aside from the monster performance by Aldon Smith against the second-string lineup that the Bear threw onto the field in Monday Night Football. The Cardinals and Lindley should be in for a treat, especially with a “fully” healthy Michael Brockers in the lineup.
3. The St. Louis Rams secondary will break their interception drought
Ryan Lindley has never thrown an interception in his entire NFL career… However, the career consists of 20 passing attempts, in a single game where only 9 were completions for 64 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. The Cardinals will have to throw more against the Rams, or expect that the defense will cause 5+ turnover and Stephens-Howling will rush for 125+ yards again. It won’t. And when Lindley is faced with real pressure from a dominate defensive line, he will start making some bad decisions. This is a perfect game for the Rams to get out of their slump, and a shocking indicator of the defense if they do not.
4. Jackson will gain 70+ yards on the ground
70 rushing yards may seem like an arbitrary number, but it isn’t. The Rams stud, workhorse needs to average a little more than 69 yards per game for the remainder of the season to hit the 1,000 mark. In Week 5, Jackson took 18 carries for 76 yards against the Cardinals defense, and that was without Scott Wells or Rodger Saffold on the offensive line. He should be able to crack the 70 yard barrier again, especially if they Cardinals continue to limit Adrian Wilson’s role in the defense…
5. Greg Zuerlein will not make more than one field goal against the Cardinals
Zuerlein has attempted only 2 field goals in the last three games for the St. Louis Rams, including the 58 yarder in overtime against the San Francisco 49ers. The most prominent cause for this lack of attempts has been Coach Fisher’s infatuation with going for it on 4th down once inside the opposing 25 yard line. There have also been an abundance of penalties on the offensive line between the opposing 40-20 yard line, which have pushed the Rams out of field goal range on a number of occasions. Those trends will likely not subside, especially on the road in a semi-dome environment…