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Rams vs Packers, preseason 2014: What to Watch

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This afternoon the Rams take on the Packers at the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis. Keep your eyes peeled for the following story lines:

Dilip Vishwanat

The 2014 Preseason Debut of the $50 Million Dollar Man, Sam Bradford

Slinging Sam Bradford will hit the field Saturday for his first game speed action. Sam is healthy and fully recovered from his season ending knee injury suffered in week 7 while playing against the Carolina Panthers. Expect Sam to play for at least a quarter. His chemistry has been building with the receiving corps so this should be a fun start to the game.

Running back By Committee

Look for the Rams' stable of running backs to do the heavy lifting on Saturday. Between Zac Stacy, Tre Mason, Benny Cunningham, Isaiah Pead, and Chase Reynolds there will be plenty of carries to go around. Tre Mason is still trying to unseat Benny Cunningham as the number two man, while Reynolds is trying to do enough to finally break the 53 man roster.

Establishing the Run Defense

The run defense last week against the New Orleans Saints was pretty bad even for a preseason game. Pay attention to the running game and the adjustments defensive coordinator Gregg Williams made to the d-line's gap discipline and block shedding. The debut of Aaron Donald looked promising last week, and he is sure to develop more patience and ability to diagnose the run play with this coaching staff. Speaking of diagnosing the run game, the Ram's linebacker corps with have to step their game up. Alec Ogletree is the most athletic linebacker on the roster, and we should see plenty of him shutting down the edge runs.

Securing the Defensive Backfield

Alec Ogletree gets another mention here as a pass defender. He will attempt to hold those quick throw gains to a minimum while running with a receiver occasionally. Brandon McGee and Trumaine Johnson will be challenged by the Packers corps and quarterback Aaron Rodgers' Laser Cannon.

Shutdown Corner

E.J. Gaines will hopefully continue his climb to glory. Last week against N'awlins he was all over the field. Gaines will definitely make this roster and will be excellent insurance in case the injury bug bites.

The End of the Line

Chris Long and Robert Quinn hope to reproduce  and exceed last season's results. First they've got to make it through the preseason. The duo didn't play much last week, but watch for them to try and put Aaron Rodgers on his tukus, something yours truly will be very happy about.

Dome-field Advantage

While the Dome doesn't necessarily rock during the preseason, there is something to be said about playing at home versus on the road. Green Bay fans come out in droves for games at the Dome so the Rams will be challenged by the unique dynamic.

Going Long For Kicks

Kicker Greg Zuerlein didn't have the best aim against the Saints. Kickers can be fickle beasts when it comes to confidence. Watch Greg and see if he shrugs his two misses from last week and wears his Greg the Leg name badge like a boss.

53 Man Roster or Bust

Let us know in the comments what outside chance player you are pulling for to make the roster. Do you hope Chase Reynolds hangs on or maybe you're on the Bayer train and Alex is your guy?

***

Game time: 3:00 p.m. Central

Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Mo.

TV Channel: NFL Network

KTVI Fox 2 (St. Louis)
KRBK-Fox 5 Springfield & Osage Beach
KMIZ-ABC 17/KQFX FOX 22 Columbia/Jefferson City
KFVS CBS 12/WQWQ CW Cape Girardeau, Missouri/Paducah, Kentucky
KFJX-Fox 14 Joplin, Missouri/Pittsburgh, Kansas

Illinois - WBUI CW 23 Springfield

Oklahoma - KWTV-CBS 9 Oklahoma City & KTUL-ABC 8 Tulsa

Tennessee - WLMT-ABC 24 Memphis

Online streaming: NFL Preseason Live

Odds: Rams -3; O/U 41 points

Pick/Prediction: Rams, of course, and we're taking the over.

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