After starting the first quarter of the season 1-3, the St. Louis Rams have managed to win their last two games with an average winning margin of 19.5 points. This win could set the Rams as a serious playoff contender, but the hot and cold Carolina Panthers are coming off a great win over Minnesota Vikings (35-10) and are looking to carry their momentum into week 7 against the Rams.
- Run the football. Well how bout that? When the Rams find their running game, it just so happens to be quarterback Sam Bradford’s best performance in quite sometime…. If not ever. Leading into week 6 against the Houston Texans, the Rams were throwing the ball 67 percent of the time. Against the Texans, they threw only 39 percent of the time and won 38-13. Carolina Panthers defense is ranked second in points allowed and third in yards allowed. Some would argue (rightly so) that they have the best front seven in the NFL. Rams must find their run game early, otherwise things could get ugly.
- Turnovers. Many don’t know how to feel about the Rams defense this year (me included). They are ranked in the bottom 10 in points allowed, rushing yards, passing yards and total yards. However, they are ranked sixth in turnovers, third in turnover difference and third in defensive touchdowns. If the Rams are going to give up 400+ yards, they had better be praying for turnovers.
- Contain Cam Newton. Newton is a very hot and cold player. He plays at his best when he feels he can get away by improvising with the run. The NFL world knows he’s a playmaker, but they also know he isn’t the best pure passer. When Newton has a rushing touchdown, his quarterback rating is 123.9 and when he doesn’t it’s only 74.9. Contain Newton, Rams win.
- Don’t give up stupid penalties. It’s only natural for Ram fans to expect a flag when Tavon Austin breaks out for a long punt return and it’s also natural to know it will be the Rams who will be penalized on almost every flag thrown during a game. Leading into week 7, the Rams have given up 418 yards from penalties on defense (third most in the NFL). Last week was the first time the Rams were out penalized, they won 38-13. No coincidence.