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2013 St. Louis Rams Predictions

2013 St. Louis Rams Predictions
The St. Louis Rams are a team to watch this year in the NFL. Unfortunately, they play in a division where two teams in San Francisco and Seattle could make the Super Bowl. Here is a preview of the St. Louis Rams from the NFC West.

The offense ranked just 23rd last year averaging 329 yards per game. That was with Steven Jackson, who is now gone to the Atlanta Falcons. Bradford set career highs in yards (3,702) and touchdowns (21) with limited weapons. Danny Amendola was never able to stay healthy and he moved on to New England. Austin has a chance to be one of the most explosive receivers in the game with his blazing speed. Givens averaged 16.6 yards per catch and had 698 receiving yards. He was the first rookie in league history to record a reception of 50 yards or longer in five straight games. Bailey was a teammate of Austin at West Virginia and provides another exciting weapon. At running back, they need to replace Jackson and it looks like Darryl Richardson is the guy. Isaiah Pead and rookie Zac Stacy from Vanderbilt are also in the mix. At tight end, free agent Jared Cook has tremendous speed for his size (4.49 in 40). The offensive line adds Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long. This was a huge addition for a team looking for a quality left tackle since Orlando Pace retired. Long isn’t quite as dominant as injuries have taken their toll. Rodger Safford was the left tackle and shifts to right tackle. At center, Scott Wells missed the first nine games due to a foot injury and is back. At guard, Harvey Dahl is back on the right side and is a mauler. At left guard, Rokevious Watkins will compete with Shelley Smith and Chris Williams for the starting spot.

The Rams allowed 342.6 yards per game (14th) and were in the middle of the pack against the run and pass. The Rams led the league with 52 sacks last year and in negative yardage. Yet they only recovered four of their opponent’s 17 fumbles. DEs Chris Long and Robert Quinn combined for 22 sacks last year. At tackle, Michael Brockers has a great wingspan and provides a nice push. Kendal Langford is solid at the point but doesn’t get to the quarterback. At linebacker, the Rams drafted Alec Ogletree from Georgia to provide some help on the weak side. He’s a big-time talent with some off-the-field issues. James Laurinaitis led the team with 174 tackles last year and did not miss a snap last year despite being hampered by a back injury. Jo-Lonn Dunbar can play the weak side but could also be moved to the strong side if Ogletree is ready. He was second on the team with 157 tackles. The Rams brought in Cortland Finnegan last year and he immediately bolstered the secondary. He had three interceptions early on and then none the rest of the season. Janoris Jenkins had three interceptions for touchdowns last year and has excellent ball skills. He also gambles at times and can be beaten. The biggest concern is at strong safety where Darian Stewart is competing with Matt Daniels. At free safety, third-round pick T.J. McDonald will compete with Rondey McLeod for the starting job. McDonald has great genes as his father was Pro Bowler Tim McDonald.

Special Teams:
The Rams struggled last year with young kickers. Greg “the leg” Zuerlein make his first 15 attempts and then struggled down the stretch. Johnny Hekker was 3-of-3 passing on trick plays but as a punter, he had some bad ones. Austin comes in and should be a tremendous return man, who had five touchdowns in college. Austin Pettis, Givens, Jenkins and Pead can all return kicks.

This has a chance to be a 10-win team if they are healthy and keep improving on both sides of the ball. The running game could an issue without Jackson but expect the Rams to pass early and often.

2013 Regular Season Schedule:
Date vs. Last Meeting ATS
09/08/13 ARI W 31-17 11/25/12 L/O
09/15/13 @ATL L 17-34 11/21/10 L/O
09/22/13 @DAL L 7-34 10/23/11 W/U
09/26/13 SF W 16-13 x 12/02/12 W/U
10/06/13 JAC L 20-23 x 10/18/09 L/O
10/13/13 @HOU L 13-16 12/20/09 W/U
10/20/13 @CAR W 20-10 10/31/10 W/U
10/28/13 SEA L 13-20 12/30/12 L/U
11/03/13 TEN L 7-47 12/13/09 W/O
11/10/13 @IND L 6-42 10/25/09 L/O
11/24/13 CHI L 6-23 09/23/12 W/U
12/01/13 @SF W 16-13 x 12/02/12 W/U
12/08/13 @ARI W 31-17 11/25/12 L/O
12/15/13 NO W 31-21 10/30/11 W/O
12/22/13 TB W 28-13 12/23/12 L/U
12/29/13 @SEA L 13-20 12/30/12 L/U


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