It's been a long road since last season's finale against the Seattle Seahawks. Since then, the Rams have added some good players, and they have released some good players. They even went 4-0 to get to this point. It's week one of the NFL season, a week of great games and high expectations.
The Rams are playing the "Dream Team" this week. Do they have a lot of talent on their roster? Hell yeah, but that's why the games are played on the field and not on pieces of paper. Maybe if this was week 7, you could say the Eagles would blow out the Rams, but you can't really say that going into week 1. Last time I checked, every team starts the season 0-0.
With all that being said, this week will be a difficult one for the Rams. It takes a team to win games, but in this series we will look at four players or matchups that will be key for the Rams to win.
Steven Jackson has been the face of the Rams for years. It shouldn't come as a surprise that he is a player you should watch.
This offseason, many people (including me) were talking about Steven Jackson losing a step. Honestly, he could have. Jackson had moments where he disappeared last season, but he also ran for more than 1,000 yards again last year.
One of the biggest reasons for Jackson's decline was the fact that the teams' run blocking wasn't real good. There were times on 3rd and 1, where the Rams threw it instead of running the ball. The Rams had an all-star running back and had to resort to throwing the ball instead of using Jackson to get the first. That should tell you something.
Well that's okay, because the Rams have an improved offensive line and now a more dynamic playcaller: offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels said that he will use Steven Jackson heavily. What better time to showcase him? The Eagles' linebackers are weak, and their defensive line is more suited to pass rushing. Heavy doses of running and short passes to Jackson will work toward the Rams' advantage.
Involving Steven Jackson a lot this game will open up our offense more this week. Remember those great playaction passes this preseason? That will work better when Steven Jackson flexes his muscle against the Eagles' defense. Jackson doesn't need 100 rushing yards to be successful this week or to help the Rams win. What he has to do however is do enough to command the attention of the Eagles' defense.
If the Rams are to pull off an upset, it won't be without their workhorse.