There are guarantees and there are guarantees. Randy McMichael guarantees a Rams win this weekend against the Browns.
When you buy something with a guarantee, you can at least take it back to the store you bought it from and get your money back. Guaranteeing a win in an NFL game doesn't quite carry the same weight, at least not for Rams fans anymore. What are you going to do? Head down to Rams park, demand to speak with Shaw or Linehan or the guarantee-maker themselves and insist on some kind of compensation for the excitement you felt anticipating a win which made the loss that much harder to stomach?
"Um, Randy, can you come to my house and cut the grass or something while I drink four beers in peace? That would come close to making up for the three hours I spent watching the Rams put on an interception clinic this Sunday. You did guarantee a win, you know."
[punches fan in the gut]
Stop me if you've heard this before, but McMichael has some ground to stand on with his prediction this week. The Browns defense ranks among the league's worst. According to Football Outsider's the Browns defense ranks 30th overall with a 15.8% DVOA. Just in case you're still haunted by similar sentiments expressed about the Seahawks defense, they rank 15th overall with a -5.3% DVOA, which was of course helped by the Rams, but they still have a solidly mediocre defense. There's not a pass/rush defense split here either; they both stink. The Browns rank 29th in pass defense and 27th in rushing defense. McMichael may well have been thinking of contributing to this guarantee himself, as the Browns have a 29.7% DVOA and rank 23rd in defending tight ends.
Of course, he'll need Bulger to throw him the ball, which has been a bigger problem for the Rams than opposing defenses. Again, the Cleveland defense offers Bulger's ribs a reprieve. They have just 6 total sacks on the season, with a 3.9% adjusted sack rate, 30th in the league. The Browns' weak rush defense should also help the Rams and a returning Steven Jackson get the rushing game going again, which could help the passing game.
Besides needing to get the win (it is guaranteed after all) I would hope this could be a game where Bulger gets over his gun shyness or whatever it is that's leading to some mighty poor execution. The offenSIEVE line doesn't get all the blame after watching so many poorly executed plays week after week that weren't the result of oncoming defenders.
Matt Pitzer think the Rams can do it in his fantasy column at ProFootballTalk.com this week:
With Terrell gone, the line goes further into limbo. A report at the ProFootballTalk.com rumor mill says that Brown will start at left guard and Brandon Gorin will start at right guard. The Belleville News Democrat says that Gorin moves to right tackle, replacing Brown there as he moves to left guard.
Who knows. One disturbing thing that they pointed out at ProFootballTalk, was that the Rams now have just one backup offensive lineman on the roster. The possibility of a street free agent signing looms, and the news that Steussie is expected to be resigned after the bye week is certainly welcome.
Stay tuned. Things should continue to get interesting, I guarantee it.