Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Look: St. Louis Rams

Most people now realize this is not the same St. Louis Rams team that we've seen the last few years. Sam Bradford has quickly become a league darling, and for good reason. It only took one half of pre-season football against the Patriots to convince me he is legit franchise QB. Bradford's poise and presence set him apart more than his physical gifts. That's not to say he is lacking in talent, but you will be impressed by his demeanor when you watch the game this Sunday. Even with all of that goodness, he is still a rookie quarterback with a 68.1 QB rating. He has thrown at least one INT in each of his three games, and has only eclipsed the 60% completion mark once (last week).

In a roundabout way, the Seahawks get to feel some pain from the TJ Houshmandzadeh deal when they face WR Mark Clayton who became expendable for the Ravens after Housh joined up. Clayton has become Bradford's favorite target with 17 receptions for 228 yards and a couple of TDs. WR Danny Amendola has 16 receptions, and then there is a huge dropoff to Daniel Fells with 9, and a few guys with the 3 or 4. It would be interesting to see how Bradford would adjust to life without Clayton and Amendola if the Seahawks can take them away.

Stephen Jackson is a beast as all Seahawks fans know. He is also nursing a sore groin. Even without the groin injury, the Rams have not averaged more than 3.6 YPC in any game. The Seahawks stout run defense needs to keep it that way.

Defensively, the Rams personify bend, don't break. They are 24th in yards allowed, 25th against the run, 24th against the pass, 21st in sacks/att. However, they are 9th in points allowed, 4th in red zone defense and 8th in 3rd down conversions against. Given the Seahawks 16th ranked red zone offense, field goals could end up being critical.

Seahawks fans should breathe a little easier knowing the Rams got their first win out of the way. It reduces their intensity a bit and grabs the Seahawks attention. Winning this game won't impress anyone nationally, but it decides whether the Seahawks are true favorites for the division title.

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