It's been a long road since last season's finale against the Seattle Seahawks. Since then, the St. Louis 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.
If you watched a couple of the Eagle preseason games, or listened to the "talking heads" in the media, it will be easy to notice the biggest weakness on the Eagles offense. It's their offensive line, and the Rams defensive line looks like it can take advantage of this matchup.
This offseason the Rams did what they could to help improve their league of extraordinary gentlemen, better known as the defensive line. The Rams are bringing back a squad that had a great time rushing the passer. The Rams added first-round pick Robert Quinn in the draft, and brought in Justin Bannan.
Bringing those two players into the fold with players like Fred Robbins, Chris Long, and James Hall, will make the Rams pass rush even more lethal. This game will be a good first test for the returning players and the players they just added over the offseason.
Honestly, if the Rams are going to have a chance in this game, the defensive line will have to harass Michael Vick more than once, if they are going to pull out the upset. Last season, the Rams had three good players on the D-Line to keep pressure on the passer. This season though, they have four good starters and couple of good passrushing backups.
The Eagles aren't dumb though. They know that the Rams know their biggest weakness is up front, so they will try to mask that weakness. Don't be surprised to see a lot of short passes and runs, as they test how effective their line is against the Rams defensive line.
This is how you know the Rams are winning in the trenches. If they are getting a lot of pressure without blitzing an extra man and if the Eagles decide to keep extra players to block for Vick.
Don't be shocked to see Vick scramble a few times. Most of the time, that will be a win for the defense, most of the time that means they are doing their job. The Rams struggled against scrambling QBs in the past, but if the D-line can do their part, the Rams can have more players watching Vick, since they won't be blitzing.
This game will most likely come down to how well the defense rush Vick. We've seen him throw bad passes in pressure before. Getting the Rams D-line to harass Vick has to be the blueprint to winning, and with the state of the Eagles offensive line, it shouldn't be too hard to do.
Hopefully the Rams defensive line can perform like they did week 4 in the preseason.