The Denver Broncos head to St. Louis in Week 11, to take on the St. Louis Rams [for the 13th time in history]. For the Broncos, a 7-2 record places them atop the AFC [tie w/ Patriots], and is the second best record in football, behind only the Arizona Cardinals, who...well, I won’t put you through that again.
This game, for most, has "blowout" written all over it. The always fickle Rams have a way of keeping games against superior opponents close though. We’ll see if the Rams’ defense is up to the task on Sunday.
"Usually the team with the most points wins the game!" - John Madden
The tough eight game stretch of the Rams' schedule continues, as well as having to face yet another highly ranked defensive team. The Broncos rank #5 overall, and #1 against the rush. But it doesn't stop there for St. Louis, because Denver also boasts the #2 offense, and future Hall of Quarterback Peyton Manning... Eeeeek!
Manning is the toughest quarterback challenge to date for the Rams' defense. Their penchant for giving up big plays doesn't really bode well, with Manning throwing the ball to arguable one of the top two or three receiver corps in the NFL So you're thinking the Rams formidable front four on defense will sack Manning into submission? Could happen, but it isn't likely. Manning has only been sacked 9 times all season, leading the NFL in the least molested quarterbacks category... Heavy sigh... Maybe a groan or two?
Yet, if I were the Broncos' head coach John Fox, I'd be a more than a little worried about his team's trip to St. Louis. The Rams have talent, but it's young, rough, and ill-defined. They've shown they can play at least a few quarters of football with any team in the NFL before sliding into oblivion. Call this a trap game, or merely another moment for the St. Louis Rams to shock a highly ranked team. Either way, if Manning doesn't take command early, and pour it on continuously throughout the game, the contest at the Edward Jones Dome could turn into something special for frustrated Rams fans. If St. Louis breaks out on top, and Gregg Williams unleashes his defensive line, John Fox will be sweating bullets at the prospect of Manning falling like Carson Palmer did in the Arizona game.
To win, Robert Quinn and Co. will need to hit Manning hard. The defensive secondary will need a big day. Interceptions will be key for the Rams on both sides of the ball. Final score? Honestly, I think this game is either a blowout win by the Broncos, or turns into a squeaker because Manning chooses St. Louis as a place to have a bad day. This is the toughest opponent the Rams have faced all year...
Prediction: Broncos win 55 - 13
Peyton will carve up awful secondary and blitz is useless against him. Front four continues to have issues getting to Qb without the blitz. Tre Mason will be the only bright spot in the Rams’ offense. Fisher then continues to regurgitate the same week in and week out bullshit before and after the game.
Prediction: Broncos win, 45 - 13
Peyton will be ballin to start the game - until he gets sacked hard about 3 times before the half at which point Osweiler makes it into the game, as the Broncos can't afford to lose Manning to injury. Rams have a knack for injuring QBs - probably because they haven't had a healthy one themselves in years. Rams will still not find an answer for the Broncos WRs and TEs.
Oh and there's gonna be fake punt or fake some kind of bullshit by Fisher and Co.
Prediction: Broncos win, 35 - 19
The Rams are coming off a heartbreaking loss. In a game they had every right to win, a couple big plays and mistakes at the end sealed their fate against a very tough Arizona team. The Broncos are coming off a complete shellacking of a hurting raiders team.
Even though the Rams lost this battle, I did see major improvements, particularly in coaching. On defense, the quick screens and draw plays are constantly being shut down now, and the Rams are FINALLY living up to their billing as "Sack City" by getting pressure on the QB.
Offensively, if not for a questionable illegal block in the back call on Kendricks on the big pass play to Cook, the Rams could have added 3-7 more points to the board instead of walking away with 0. That could have completely changed the outcome of this game, in terms of momentum swing. The Rams offense, while not the GSOT, proved they can move the ball if they protect QB Shaun Hill...
Still even with all that said, one can't ignore that Peyton is entering the dome with his chariots filled with weapons.
However, call me crazy but if there ever was a trap game, this would be the one. Denver is coming off a massive win, and the Rams are coming off a tough loss (yet one that may have build some confidence), coupled with the Broncos going on the road in a game which they may overlook due to some tougher opponents coming up (@KC for one).
Prediction: TRAP! Rams win, 27 - 26
Frank "Dubs" Dobozy [@bozy1313]
The Broncos were my favorite to win the Super Bowl before the season started. They've done nothing through 10 weeks to make me think differently. John Elway went all-in during the offseason to improve their defense, acquiring DeMarcus Ware (8 sacks), Aqib Talib, and T.J. Ward. Von Miller is back with a vengeance, recording 9 sacks to-date.
For the Rams to have a chance in this game, the key is the number zero. No sacks allowed. No turnovers. Zero big plays allowed. Zero key penalties. A pretty tall order to fill.
Prediction: Broncos win, 34 - 17
Peyton Manning-Demaryius Thomas-Emmanuel Sanders-Wes Welker-Julian Thomas are gonna go off.
Prediction: Broncos win, 44-17
The Rams will finally return home to the Edward Jones Dome where they will be rewarded with a visit from the Denver Broncos. The Rams have certainly shown the ability to compete with any team in the NFL, for about 3 or 3 1/2 quarters. They will have to put in a full 4 quarters of mistake free football to spring an upset against Peyton Manning and Co. After 9 games there is no reason to believe this team is capable of it. I would like to see this game be competitive, with some more player development along the way. This team is pretty much playing for next season, whether these players will be on the Rams next season or somewhere else they are pretty much all playing for 2015 at this point. Can Shaun Hill manage to stay upright long enough against the Broncos improved pass rush? Can the Rams apply pressure to Peyton on a regular basis? Will Tre Mason continue to stake his claim to the starting gig on a more permanent basis? Lots of young players for the Rams getting quality snaps for the rest of the season, which ones learn from their mistakes and progress? I think this game will be closer than some people might expect, but it would be foolish to think the Rams can stop Peyton and all his weapons for 4 quarters.
Prediction: Broncos win, 37 - 24
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are coming to town Sunday, and it's going to hurt. Hurt in a way that makes you want to throw your hot wings at the screen and smash your beer can on your buddy's forehead. Nothing short of a complete team effort will enable the Rams to remain competitive in this homecoming for the Rams. The defense we say against the 49ers
and the Cardinals must show up. Shaun Hill and his young receivers will have to execute to perfection. The Ram's stable of able running backs must gain 4 yards per carry. Special teams must hold the line, make field goals, and have a few 20+ yard returns. More importantly the coaching staff must make adjustments on the fly, adjustments that actually counter what Denver is doing, instead of falling back on what is "comfortable" for the team. Yes, there has to be some risk involved in pushing the envelope. The Rams cannot afford to simply play the game, they have put the foot on the pedal for 4 quarters. If the defense can get to Manning, the Rams could win this game. Will they? I guess it depends on who shows up to play on Sunday.
Prediction: Broncos win, 48 - 28
Peyton Manning and his boy come to the EJD...hmm
The NFLs most formidable offense vs. a defense on the rise. Lately the Rams defense has been looking like what they were advertized to be pre-season. I do think they can limit the Broncos to less than 30 point. So, the question is, can the Rams offense under new leadership, in the form of Shaun Hill, score more than 30?
Probably not, but I am picking them anyway.
Prediction: Rams win, 37 - 28
Yes. I yelled and I yelled and I yelled until it was hard to breathe. And I yelled because I wanted to. And I yelled because I was it was all I knew. And I yelled and I yelled and I yelled because if nobody was listening, I still could.
Prediction: Broncos win, 31 - 10
One simple fact determines this game. The Broncos have a QB. He happens to also be the best to ever play the game. The Rams don't. Barring a miracle, this game will be over by halftime.
Prediction: Broncos win, 34 - 16
I’m picking the Rams to win because Mike Ditka is picking the Rams to win. And that’s all I’ve got to say about it.
Prediction: Rams win, 27-26
And there you have it. Of the twelve staff members making predictions, nine are taking the Broncos. Three TSTers, and daaaa Ditka’s, like the Rams to pull the upset.
As always, here’s to an enjoyable, hopefully competitive for 60-minutes game, where both sides leave unscathed. Go Rams!