What are the Rams playing for? Spags’ job, their own pride, or to not embarrass themselves on a national stage. It could be all of the above if you’re into multiple choice questions. With the division already locked up by the 49ers and already being eliminated from any playoff contention it’s all about the moral victories from here on out.
For some players it’s their audition for other teams and for the ones who are sticking around it’s about showing movement in the positive direction. I think the least the Rams fans can do is to help get DE Chris Long to the Pro Bowl this year. That could be the silver lining to an otherwise forgettable 2011 season.
For this week I could pretty much cut and paste the game preview from week 11. After all, it’s only been three weeks since they last played each other.
What the Rams offense needs to do:
At this point we THINK third string QB Tom Brandstater will be at the helm so no one has any real idea what the Rams passing game will look like.
Sam Bradford shared first team snaps with Brandstater but is still listed as questionable.
If they want to play not to lose all Brandstater will do is hand the ball off the whoever’s in the backfield and throw maybe a dink pass to get out of jams.
If the Brandstater experiment goes awry we may even see newly signed (yeah, they’re all newly signed at this point…) QB Kellen Clemens make an appearance. At least Clemens has NFL experience and a deeper grasp of the McDaniels playbook.
I’m sure Steven Jackson will treat this as serious as any other game and hopefully he’ll still get a chance to run the ball. Jackson only saw 10 carries last week against the 49ers.
Give the ball to Steven Jackson and the running game – win the time of possession battle. That’s the least the offense can do after all those games of 3-and-outs. The defense is getting better but they can only hold out for so long.
But with a newly shuffled and repositioned offensive line and with FB Brit Miller not completely healthy even the running game could fall flat again. Hopefully, the Seahawks defense will at least take WR Brandon Lloyd seriously lightening the box a bit for some running room.
Who to watch out for: DE Chris Clemons and CB Brandon Browner.
This could be another long game…
What the Rams defense needs to do:
Not to sound like they’ve already lost the game but the defense needs to pace itself for a long one. I don’t have a lot of confidence in the Rams offense to stay on the field so the defense will dig deep and rely on that cardiovascular endurance we all like to joke about.
One way is to take advantage of the Seahawks’ weaken offensive line. Although, that weak spot on the left didn’t seem to phase RB Marshawn Lynch as he’s been averaging over 141 yards a game since week 9 in Dallas.
I think despite all the problems the Rams are having on both sides of the ball this season DE Chris Long (despite a bum ankle) still has a great shot at the season sack title. He’s only three behind the leader Cowboy’s DeMarcus Ware who has 15. LB James Laurinaitis, the other Rams defensive mainstay is just one tackle shy of reaching 100 for the season. These are small milestones but well worth a mention.
Secondary wise, S Darian Stewart, should be back in the lineup after not playing against the 49ers due to concussion. So that’s some good news.
What the Rams special teams need to do:
Don’t give up the long returns. RB Leon Washington, WR Golden Tate, and WR Doug Baldwin are all quick and dangerous. Special teams need to help out the offense by handing them a shorter field to navigate.
Who will win:
Sadly, I don’t have much faith in the offense to put up more than 6 points off of two Josh Brown field goals – and that’s being generous. Hopefully they can at least break the Seahawks’ 45-yard line – something they couldn’t do last week in SF.
Rams fall to 2-11, losing to the Seahawks 21-6.
With all that being said, what I’d like to see from the Rams: getting their young guys out there to see what they can do. The team needs to start thinking ahead and evaluating players for next year. Basically, I’m asking the Rams to make the four games count. Don’t waste it away without gaining more knowledge about what you have (and don’t have) in that locker room.