The St. Louis Rams will look to bounce back from last weeks heartbreaking loss to the Arizona Cardinals against the Cleveland Browns (3-5). The Browns have lost two in a row and four of their last five games. Much like the St. Louis Rams the Browns have also struggled on offense scoring only 28 points over the last three weeks.
The only thing separating the Browns from the Rams is the Rams were unable to win games against Washington and Arizona that they should have won. These teams are very similar, both have young quarterbacks, both have to change a losing culture and both are in the bottom third of almost every offensive and defensive category. In addition both teams have unproven head coaches and have suffered heavy injuries to their squads.
The Rams must get a better effort today from Sam Bradford who did practice more this week. People don't want to hear it but Bradford is not having a good year and has even been outplayed by Colt McCoy who has ten TD passes compared to Bradfords three. A lot of the problems with Bradford is turnover in the receiving core and that will continue today. The Rams lost their leading receiver Greg Salas last week to a broken leg, and this week Mark Clayton will make his season debut coming off of the PUP list. With the recent lack of practice for Bradford and the turnover at WR and on the O-line Bradford does have some excuses but he is just going to have to make plays anyway.
The Browns lost their starting guard Eric Steinbach to a season ending injury before the season started and the injuries have not stopped there. The Browns will be without their two top running backs Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty meaning they will be going with former Rams running back Chris Ogbonnaya. Ogbonnaya has struggled this year gaining only 80 yards on 27 carries. With the loss of WR Mohamed Massaquoi to injury the Browns will need to rely mainly on Josh Cribbs to move the ball against the Rams. If there is a team in the NFL with less talent on the field than the Rams it is the Browns.
Like last week this is another good matchup for the Rams. They again will need to use their winning formula of running the rock, playing it safe and winning the turnover battle. The Browns are 30th against the rush and Steven Jackson has looked great with a 5.1 yards per carry average. The Browns lead the league in pass defense so Sam Bradford needs to be sure of his throws and needs to get the ball to Brandon Lloyd and Mark Clayton for some big plays.
The Rams only have nine touchdowns through eight games this season so I still do not expect much from the Rams offense but they should have enough to beat the Cleveland Browns. The Rams should eaisly be able to shut down Ogbonnaya and come after Colt McCoy all day. The Rams will run the rock with Jackson and will need to find their way into the endzone at least once. If they can contain Josh Cribbs they should be able to put a W in the win column. As you all know the Rams have made stars of players like Ogbonnaya in the past, lets hope today is not one of those days.
Prediction St. Louis Rams 16 - Cleveland Browns 13
By Stlvinnie - http://www.stlouisramfan.com