It's been awhile since the Rams were playing a game with implications in the standings. Not since the second half of the 2006 season were the Rams within shooting distance of contention.
And here they are with a new coach and new attitude...and fans in the stands. You can bet under the new regime this is a big game, coming off a tough loss to the Patriots, striking distance for the division, Haslett will have them fired up. And they'll need to be, this promises to be a tough game.
Keys to the game:
- Keep Warner off his game. Warner and the pass attack is the Cardinals greatest strength. If the Rams don't stop that, they can't win the game. That of course will require constant pressure from the d-line. Fortunately, Chris Long's coming into his own and we've got our fingers crossed for Leonard Little to return. Even without Little, the Cardinals have questionable blocking at the tackle positions.
- Behind the line, the corners and safeties need to play flawlessly. Covering guys like Fitzgerald and Boldin is no easy task for any cornerback. But if they can limit the damage, and, more importantly, get some turnovers they can take the wind out of the Cardinals big sail.
- Get our own passing game going. Bulger's been better in recent goings, and he needs to continue on his progress today. The secret's out on Avery, so he'll get much more attention. Fine. That should free up an unhappy Torry Holt who's like more than anything to remind the league of his relevancy. Don't forget about Keenan Burton either.
- For God's sake, cut down on the penalties. Are you listening Barron? Incognito? Please, do nothing block as expected on third down. As a matter of fact, the whole line needs to play air tight, keep Bulger on his feet, give him time to pass, and open those lanes for Steven Jackson, who the Rams will be counting on to keep the blitz off Bulger.
Sounds like a plan, eh? It's always sunny and warm in the Dome.