NFL Gridiron Gab Week Six Preview: San Diego at St. Louis

“Sometimes you need a butt-whippin’ to let you know where you really are.”

—Rams standout running back Steven Jackson after last Sunday’s 44-6 humiliation in Detroit

The Rams will head home to the friendly confines of the Dome with their tail between their legs after a beatdown in Detroit and they will have to face the best team they have played so far in the San Diego Chargers.

TV

The Rams are on CBS for the first time this year and if you are in St. Louis, Oklahoma City, San Diego or Arizona you will be getting the game.  Because of KC’s success and the Rams being on CBS, the Sam Bradford corridor is broken up this week.  Check out the map.

What to Watch For:

  • Special Teams – The Chargers have had historically bad special teams so far in 2010 and the Rams need to take advantage because the Chargers have top 10 offense and defense.  I’m not suggesting any onside kicks without film to back up the idea.  But, the Rams need to get their own struggling special teams on track against the Chargers if they expect to be in this game.
  • Rams Defense – The Rams defense was much-heralded coming into the Detroit game and was promptly ripped to shreds by the best offense they have seen to that point.  The bad news is that San Diego’s offense is better.  The good news is that the Rams get them at home at least.  The Rams will have to pay special attention to Antonio Gates because they have had trouble covering TEs in the recent past.  Spy or double-team Gates at all times.
  • Rams Receivers – With the season ending knee injury to Mark Clayton, the Rams have four active and healthy WRs on the roster (not counting Danario Alexander) – Danny Amendola, Mardy Gilyard, Laurent Robinson and Brandon Gibson.  The Rams need at least one of the last three to step up and be a reliable target for Sam Bradford downfield.  We already know what we are going to get from Amendola in the Rams offense.
  • Danario Alexander – The Rams promoted the former Missouri hero from the practice squad and gave him a 7th round bonus and a multi-year deal.  He has not taken a hit in practice, but he has the potential to be a big time receiver in the NFL if he can stay healthy.  He will likely be inactive for the game.
  • Phillip Rivers – Rivers has shown he has been able to be frustrated by good defensive lines that put pressure on him and his offensive line.  This is where the Rams fans come into the game.  They need to be loud to spur on the Rams 4 man rush to get pressure.  If the Rams front 4 can frustrate Rivers, that will leave enough players to cover Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd and the rest of the Charger receivers.
  • Marcus McNeill – The Chargers get their left tackle back after a long holdout and this will be his first time back in game action.  Can the Rams catch him as rusty?  Will crowd noise get to him?  Can the Rams defensive line wear him out?  Can the Rams blitz and force assignment mistakes because of the lack of playing time?  He is a talented player, but the Rams need to be able to take advantage of his rustiness to get pressure on Rivers.

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