Otto Greule Jr
Heading into week 6, the Jets were done. The media had all but checked the pulse and called the coroner. Mark Sanchez had led his team to two consecutive beat-downs. The 49ers had embarrassed gang green on their own turf, and the Texans followed suit in week 5. Then something unexpected happened. The Jets beat the dog snot out of the playoff-contending Colts.
The Jets are not a good football team, but don't confuse that with the Jets being a bad football team. The media in New York is a fickle mistress. The media there would have you believe that the Jets players are simply going to show up in St. Louis on Sunday and all have simultaneous heart attacks. This will likely not be the case. The Jets have their back up against the wall, and you have to expect that they will be giving their best effort of the season. Rams fans should know this better than anyone, as we have been one of those "bad" teams that in recent years has leveled a heavily favored team once in a blue moon (see New Orleans vs. St. Louis, 2011).
There are several key components that the Rams will have to be aware of in order to avoid an embarrassing upset this week.
- Stop the run: The Jets were slaughtered against the 49ers and Houston- mainly due to their lack of running game. At Houston, Shonn Greene led the team in rushing with eight attempts for 26 yards. Against the 49ers the entire team only rushed for 46 yards on 17 attempts. Then, just when you think the Jets are dead in the water, they rush for 252 yards on 44 attempts against the Colts. It's pretty clear that if you stop the run against New York, they can't trust Sanchez to lead them to victory.
- Run the ball: In contrast, the Rams key to victory on offense will be their run-game. This would seemingly not be a problem given the nature of last week's game, but with the Rams we are far past being able to just assume anything is a given until it becomes more consistent. The Texans and 49ers averaged 40 rushing attempts against the Jets, while the Colts mustered only 17. This differential is key when game-planning the offense this week. The Rams did a great job sticking with the run last week. Let's hope that this progress continue this week.
- Create Turnovers: Mark Sanchez is a turnover machine. He doesn't just throw interceptions. He coughs up a lot of fumbles when he is sacked or pressured too. Robert Quinn has a tough match-up this week, but he and Chris Long will have to work diligently to pressure Sanchez into heave-hoeing the ball in our direction. This means our secondary and other defense players must be prepared to make plays when they present themselves. This includes catching interceptions, and falling on loose balls. Sure the ball didn't bounce our way in San Fransisco, but if you play like the ball is coming out on every play this will change. So far the Rams have struggled in this area the past 5 weeks. Here's hoping it changes this week.
The good news is that methods for beating the Jets are right in Jeff Fisher's wheel house. Stop the run, punch them in the mouth, run the ball down their throat, and take the ball back. Pretty simple. However, if the Rams let the Jets get cute and make this into a close game, don't say I didn't warn you. Here come the Jets. Hopefully, they look like the video below a lot on Sunday.