Match-Up: Baltimore Ravens (1-1) @ St. Louis Rams (0-2)
Arena: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri
Sunday September 25, 4:05 pm EDT
The St. Louis Rams have in place a solid team. Their 0-2 start may be a little deceiving as they fell to Philadelphia and then on the road on Monday night to the NY Giants. The team has had a string of injuries in the secondary, as well as to their key receiver Danny Amendola and leading running back Steven Jackson, which has made for a tough start.
QB Sam Bradford has taken the lead and proved in his rookie year (2010) he can take control of the offense. RB Steven Jackson is a powerful runner with speed, he can muscle through the line of scrimmage and has break away speed. The team also brought in Carnel Williams and Jerious Norwood add depth to the rushing attack. The young receivers Danny Amendola, Danario Alexander, Brandon Gibson, coupled with veteran Mike Sims-Walker are an effective unit.
Defensively the playmakers are DE Chris Long, MLB James Laurinatis, LB Ben Leber and LB Josh Hull. Notable veterans: LB Brady Poppinga, DT Justin Bannan, CB Al Harris, SS Craig Dahl. This unit is aggressive and fast. As the former Giants defensive coordinator, head coach Steve Spagnuolo instilled the same philosophy to the Rams defense; front four pressure with a dose of heavy blitz packages. In 2010, the Rams ranked second in percentage of plays in which they brought six or more pass rushers, and they ranked third in the league in zone blitzes.
- The Rams had much success going ‘no huddle’ in Monday night’s match-up versus the NY Giants.
- QB Sam Bradford has been sacked 6 times and has a fumble in each game this season.
- Defensive End Chris Long has recorded 2 sacks in two games. In 2010, Long finished with 8.5 sacks.
RB Ray Rice vs. MLB James Laurinatis: The Rams middle linebacker is savoy and has been a key leader in the defense. Part of his goal will be to limit Flacco’s safety valve in Ray Rice. The Rams run defense has struggled early this season.
FS Ed Reed vs. QB Sam Bradford: Did you catch the game Monday night? QB Sam Bradford looked confident in the pocket, he reads blitzes and coverages well. Bradford threw was 22/46 for 321 yards and 1 TD vs. the Giants. With injuries in the Ravens secondary Ed Reed will need to direct coverage and keep QB Bradford from repeating what the Titans did to the Ravens last week.
RT Michael Oher vs. DE Chris Long: The Rams defensive end is a force rushing the passer and defending the run. Last week the Ravens offensive line struggled in run blocking and pass protection.
OLB Jarret Johnson vs. RT Jason Smith/Adam Goldberg: Jarret Johnson, is a full strength this year, look for him to be a huge factor opposite Terrell Suggs.
WHO MAKES THE HIGHLIGHT FILM
Matt Jergensen: Ed Dickson
The Ravens have had difficulty in establishing a third receiver so far. Dickson is a match-up nightmare if used properly. He has size, solid hands and deceptive speed. With Lee Evans’ status in doubt, Dickson could be a go-to target.
(Last week’s pick: RB Ray Rice)
Jonathan Scruggs: Joe Flacco
“After laying an egg last week on the road against Tennessee, Flacco must come out blazing and prove that he can win on the road and put up respectable numbers. The Rams are beat up and facing the prospect of 0-3. Joe has to put them away and focus on the Jets.”
(Last week’s pick: OLB Terrell Suggs)
Gene Winner: Ray Lewis
“Lewis will spark the defense with a key play or two.”
(Last week’s pick: TE Ed Dickson)