These last couple of weeks have been brutal for the St. Louis Rams organization and their fan base, which has stuck with the team through some extreme lows over the past decade. Luckily, the “Scheduling Gods” have treated the Rams with a 10-day preparation week, leading up to their first game against a non-playoff-caliber opponent; the Jacksonville Jaguars. Some “time” is exactly what a franchise needs to get themselves back on track. Time to heal, time to prepare, and time to rinse off the negativity and come out motivated to play this season. The start the week, the St. Louis Rams were favored by 12-points, an extraordinarily wide spread for a 1-3 team that is coming off three straight losses. So, do the “experts” view this game similarly?
Defensively, the Jaguars have a hard time stopping teams from crossing the goal line. They allow the third-most points per game in the league as well as boasting the worst run defense in football. Look for Richardson to finally break out. The Rams have the third-worst run defense in the league, also boding well for Jones-Drew.
PREDICTION: Jaguars 14, Rams 28
The Rams opened the week as 12 point favorites, and considering how poor the Rams have looked over the last two weeks that speaks pretty loudly about the Jaguars. The Jaguars will be welcoming back Justin Blackmon in this game, so they will have a little more firepower for the Rams to contend with. However, they also just traded away their best offensive lineman which could make life even more difficult than usual for Blaine Gabbert. Can the Rams finally get something that resembles a running game going? Can Tavon Austin finally get some touches in space to utilize his incredible athleticism? If either of those two things happen regularly on Sunday the Rams will be in great shape. Rams win 31 – 16.
Blaine Gabbert returns to Missouri, where he starred collegiately for the Tigers. But the Jaguars beleaguered quarterback will not have a happy homecoming. If he does, it’s going to be an ugly Monday of aftermath for Jeff Fisher and his underachieving Rams. You can bet the Gateway Arch on that one. Rams 31, Jaguars 16
Some sites prefer to merely throw out their picks, instead of outlining boldly predicted scores. In the Week 5 “expert picks” for ESPN, every singular analyst picked the St. Louis Rams to take home the win, which is the first time the Rams have been unanimously picked by this group. In CBS Sports’ “Against the Spread” predictions, five out of eight went with the “favorite,” with the Rams line moved down to +11.5 points. However, in their “Straight Up” picks, the St. Louis Rams were, again, choose unanimously to win on Sunday.
For the first time this season, the St. Louis Rams appear to be the overwhelming favorite leading up to Sunday. However, that is more of a referendum on Jacksonville than a vote of confidence in the Rams. At the end of day, regardless of the opponent or the massive spread, St. Louis will undoubtedly be pleased as long as their is a “W” next to Week 5.