Harvey Dahl & Co. have the hard task of protecting Sam Bradford this week against Julius Peppers and the rest of the Bears.
So the St. Louis Rams are going to Chicago to play the Bears. No dis to the Washington Redskins, but da Bears are a whole 'nother beast. The Bears have gunslingin' QB in Jay Cutler, a big receiver in Brandon Marshall, a speedster in Devin Hester - and last but not least - a strong running game behind Matt Forte and Michael Bush. On the other side of the ball, they are led by future Hall-of-Fame MLB Brian Urlacher and pass rushing beast Julius Peppers.
For the Rams to win, the entire team will have to fire on all cylinders. Lets take a look at a few match ups that can be essential to the outcome of the game:Julius Peppers vs. LT
Peppers missed practices during the week (Wednesday), but the Rams are still expecting the 11-year pro to start. Peppers is a pass rushing beast, everyone knows this. He had two sacks Week Two against the Green Bay Packers. If the Rams do not find a way to slow Julius down, they're going to have a long day. With Wayne Hunter missing time this week because of an ankle injury, the onus might fall into the hands of an inexperienced Ty Nsekhe.
Believe it or not, we might have found an offensive line more porous than the Rams: the Bears'. Cutler has sacked seven times last week – SEVEN TIMES. I know it was against Green Bay and they have Clay Mathews, but the Rams ain't no chopped liver when it comes to getting the quarterback. The Rams still have Chris Long who registered a career high 13 sacks last year (none thus far this season) and Robert Quinn, who as two sacks so far.
Rush vs. Bears Defense
For the first time in the history of Steven Jackson's tenure as the Rams' starting running back, he has a reliable backup in rookie Daryl Richardson. With SJ missing practice all week and being listed as questionable, Richardson might see plenty of game time. The Bears have a stout run D, giving up only 84.5 rushing yards per game thus far – good for 9th in the league.
CBs vs. Bears Wrs
Marshall (6'4, 230) and Alshon Jeffery (6'3, 216). Those are two of the wide-outs the Rams are going up against. Both are BIG targets. The Rams had third corner Bradley Fletcher cover Calvin Johnson a few weeks ago. We will see if the Rams deploy the same strategy against Chicago's receivers.
Lost in all the hype of the big guys are Earl Bennett and the speedy Hester. The task to cover Hester in the slot will fall on the feisty Cortland Finnegan.
Bears Rush vs. Rams Defense
The Bears have a Pro Bowl running back in Forte. They also have a bruising power back in Bush. Forte is out for game with the ankle injury he sustained versus the Packers, so that leaves Bush to carry the load. The Rams boast (not really) a 21st ranked run defense, allowing 129.5 yards per game. It's far to say that the blue and gold horned players will have their hands full with the Bears' runners.