Saturday, November 27, 2010

St. Louis Rams vs. Denver Broncos Game Preview



Rams vs. Broncos Game Preview

Well here we go again but you have to start with the fact that the St. Louis Rams are 1-16 in their last 17 road games. The Rams are coming off tough back to back losses in which they were winning in the second half. The Rams have to learn to play tough mentally for 60 minutes of football. I believe the Rams main issues are still the fact that they can not run the ball inside the red zone at all and they do not have a big play receiver to make a play when they need one. Also over the last two weeks their pass defense has been torched by Troy Smith and Matt Ryan. Smith and Ryan combined for over 600 yards passing while throwing 5 touchdown passes, no interceptions and QB ratings over 100. You have to wonder if the Rams are simply starting to wear down due to their lack of depth.

The Rams must find a way to score more than 17 points per game. Denver is 30th in points allowed, and 31st against the rush. The Broncos play a 3-4 base so everything is set up for Steven Jackson to be a huge factor in this one. The only problem with Jackson is he only has 3 touchdowns while having over 1000 total yards of offense. His yards are made meaningless if he can not get into the end zone. The Broncos who are dead last in rushing have 7 rushing touchdowns and Moreno in limited play already has twice as many total touchdowns (6) as Steven Jackson. Of the Rams starting wide receivers only Brandon Gibson is averaging over 10 yards per catch (11.0). On the flip side the top four wide receivers on the Broncos are all averaging over 10 yards per catch.

The best way to attack the St. Louis Rams is through the air where they rank 19th against the pass. Last week Rams cornerbacks Justin King, Bradley Fletcher and Ron Bartell all left in the second half with apparent cramping issues. This week with the game at Invesco Field's mile high altitude you have to worry about their conditioning fair or not. The Broncos are 4th in passing and are the first team the Rams have faced that primarily use their wide receivers. The Broncos top three receivers Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, and Eddie Royal have combined for 150 catches for 2130 yards and 9 TDs. With Kyle Orton on pace for 4800 plus passing yards and 27 touchdowns I am very worried about the Rams secondary heading into this game.

On the ground the Broncos struggle. The Broncos are dead last in the NFL in rushing with only 75 yards per game. That plays into the strength who are 10th in the NFL against the rush. Second year running back Knowshon Moreno has looked very good over the last two weeks averaging 4.7 yards per carry, catching 10 passes and scoring two touchdowns. The Rams will need to keep Moreno from getting outside and let James Laurinaitis their leading tackler with 70 clean him up.

With a win and a Seattle loss the Rams could be in a tie for first in the NFC West after this game. However I once again can not pick the Rams to win a road game, why would I? I hope I am wrong but with three straight road games the Rams are starring at a 4-9 record if they can not change things. I think Moreno has looked great the last two weeks and will cause problems out of the backfield for the Rams. The Broncos receiving core is good and deep and they will exploit the Rams lack of secondary play. If the Rams can not get to Orton at least 5 times in this game the Broncos will put up 30+ points. The Rams should be able to move the ball but they seem to be a team that gets about 280 yards every week and 17 points no matter who they play. The Rams may play tough once again but they can not match scores with the Broncos. Even though the Broncos have lost 15 of their last 20 games I still have to pick them.

Prediction Denver Broncos 30 - St. Louis Rams 20

By Stlvinnie - http://www.stlouisramfan.com

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