Unlike last week, the Rams are taking on a team in the midst of their own playoff birth pursuit. The Rams have to play a complete game to get through this week unscathed, with that dub.
Here are the Rams players to watch:
Players to Watch
Tavon Austin – while unorthodox – is the Rams' current No. 1 receiver. He leads the team with 285 receiving yards, with Jared Cook(245) and Kenny Britt (224) trailing. He leads the team in receptions (24). He also leads the team in total touchdowns with seven (four receiving, two rushing, and one return) and in scoring with 42 points. Oh yea, he's second (141) in terms of rushing yards as well.
His receiving numbers may not be among the top of the league, but Austin scores and creates offense. Only Devonta Freeman (60 points) is ahead of him in terms of scoring (he is tied with Larry Fitzgerald, Rob Gronkowski, and Julio Jones). At the end, the only thing that matters is scoring. Tavon has ways to score.
But the Rams need more than just Tavon. A "breakout" game by Kenny Britt or Jared Cook would be immensely helpful for the offense.
Everyone cringed when Alec Ogletree went down, but Mark Barron has filled in admirably at outside linebacker. He's tacked up 26 tackles in his last two games at linebacker. Barron has played good coverage against tight ends and is stout against the run.
Barron will be asked to cover Vikings' tight end Kyle Rudolph, but he will play a big role in stopping Adrian Peterson.
Aaron Donald gets the praise as the Rams' most dominant defensive lineman – and rightfully so – but Brockers cannot be forgotten. He is a big – and by big, I mean 6'5, 326-pounds – reason why the team is ranked ninth against the run – only allowing 98.1 rushing yards per game.
Brockers does the dirty gritty work for the defense. He takes on multiple blockers so Aaron Donald and the rest of the line can get to the quarterback. Brockers also makes life easier for the linebackers, allowing them to pierce through unscathed to get to the ballcarrier. He is essential to stop Peterson, and force Teddy Bridgewater to take over.
Nick Foles started off the 2015 campaign on a good note. Through the first four games, he had a 5-1 touchdown to interception ratio. Then the four pick fiasco occurred in Lambeau Field.
Foles is not asked to air out the ball, like Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, or Tom Brady. All Nick has to do is make key plays and not turn the ball over. Nick has not turned the ball over since the loss to Green Bay, but he's only had one touchdown; and that touchdown is pretty much a Tavon touchdown, since he ran the 66-yards after the lil' screen pass.
All does not fall on Foles. The receivers have been terrible this season. They constantly drop passes that should have been caught. But as long as Foles does not give away the ball and makes a play or too, the Rams have a good chance of banging out the win.
575 yards in four complete games, good enough to rank fifth in league in rushing yards. Yup, that is just Todd Gurley fo' dat ass.
He's the lone catalyst the Rams have on offense. One only has to look at last week's game against the San Francisco 49ers. Before Todd's 71-yard rushing touchdown, the score was 3-2 and the Rams had just 53 yards on offense (15 of rushing yards).
The Vikings are giving up 4.4 yards per carry to opposing running backs (25th in the league), so Todd's odds to have a typical day in the office are good. It is not far-fetched to see 120+ rushing yards and a touchdown from Gurley.