The St. Louis Rams shocked a lot of folks last weekend when they beat the Seattle Seahawks at the Edward Jones Dome. They didn’t shock a lot of the Turf Show Times staff though.
This week, twelve staff writers are taking a shot at prognosticating their Week 2 matchup against the Washington Redskins. Here’s how they see it panning out:
Sean Wilkinson [@Papa_Lurch]
There are a lot of reasons why I want to say the Rams will level the Redskins this weekend. They just beat the 2x reigning NFC champion, they will likely get Tre Mason back, and there's the fact that the Redskins - well they're the Redsinks. The offense looked good even with shoddy OL play, Nick Foles played like a boss, and Tavon was lightning in a bottle. I could keep going, but I'm sure you get my point.
The only thing that would keep me from predicting a Rams blowout win is injury. The Rams will be without Eugene Sims, Darren Bates, and Chase Reynolds - 3 players who are instrumental to their respective units. With the Steelers and Packers coming in weeks 3 and 4, I think that this could have the potential to be a trap game for a team with a less experienced coach. But Jeff Fisher is veteran in the NFL and will keep his guys focused.
Prediction: Rams win big, 27 - 10
Eddie P [@iAmEddieP_]
Just like that.
The main fault the Rams defense has is giving up the occasional big play. Washington's DeSean Jackson will be out, so it should be too hard to contain them.
Offensively, the Rams will have a similar game as last week. Washington doesn't boast the elite defense Seattle does, but they do blitz a lot. From what we saw last Sunday, Cig calls a good game. Expect some quick throws to thwart the heavy pressure.
Prediction: Rams win 24 - 10
Nathan Kearns [@nkearns12]
After Week 1, I think we should all take away a handful of positives: (a) The defensive line can and will make up for a lot of inefficiencies at the second- and third-levels of the defense, (b) the offensive line isn't nearly as bad as anticipated, and (c) Cignetti is not Schottenheimer, and Foles is not Bradford. Piggy-backing off those three takeaways, there are three reasons why the Rams "should" handle the Redskins with relative ease.
First, the Washington offensive line would be in the running for worst in the league, if Trent Williams (LT) weren't manning the blindside. In Week 1, four of their five starting offensive linemen, graded out negatively in some aspect of blocking; with their interior three (i.e. the ones that will attempt to stop Aaron Donald) struggling mightily against Miami.
Second, despite decent numbers, on paper (four sacks), the Redskins were pretty ineffective against the Dolphins' below-average offensive line. To support that claim, Ryan Tannehill was only "under pressure" on 32.4% of his dropbacks on Sunday. That could mean easy picking for Nick Foles, who was under constant duress last week from the Seahawks multifaceted and extremely talented pass rushers.
Lastly, the Cignetti/Foles dynamic will likely be the key between a handful of wins and losses this year. In years past, the Rams and their starting quarterback would attempt to milk a lead (if they had one), or take the conservative approach to digging themselves out of a deficit. In this "new era" of offensive coordinator and quarterback seems much more intent on holding AND extending leads, and certainly seem more willing to go for the "big splash," instead of grinding the opposing defense to sleep. That showed at several key points in the game, including the overtime throw to Stedman Bailey, with Richard Sherman draped on his back and a safety baring down. The old St. Louis Rams might have played overtime safe, particularly after starting at midfield. This team didn't, and it helped seal the win.
If the Rams want to convince the world that their victory over the Seattle Seahawks wasn't fluky, they'll need to continue those three "positives" against the Washington Redskins.
Prediction: Rams win 24 - 17 (mostly garbage time points)
I'll be the bummer in the bunch. Last year when I picked the Rams to win, they did the opposite about 90% of the time.
We've seen this before: Fisher's teams ball-out versus good teams and fall flat versus bad ones. I'm guessing the Washington Team of Football (WTF) will sneak-up on the over confident Rams. Offense line gets challenged by the WTF defensive line, stuffing the run with Tre and Benny. All the fans start itching to see what Gurley can bring. Foles doesn't have time to throw very often and when he does, he misses - just one of "those" games. Even without DJax in the line-up the WTF offense moves the ball with ease after Morris establishes the run game - has a career high rush yards.
Prediction: Rams 28, Washington Team of Football players 30
Must first kick off by saying that this team outperformed my expectations in week one. The offense looked very good, which is great to see considering Quick and Gurley were out, and I see both contributing in big ways this season.
As for the Redskins, it's 2-0. I don't see Washington winning, and if they do, I'll be hugely disappointed.
The Rams held Russel Wilson to only 250 yards on 41 attempts all while keeping Marshawn Lynch in check. We are also all over Wilson from start to finish and accumulated six sacks. I don't see any scenario that has the Redskins out-doing the Seahawks offensively because Kirk Cousins, especially without DeSean Jackson, is just far inferior to Wilson.
Getting Tre Mason back will provide a huge boost to the offense as well, almost an underrated boost. Benny Cunningham played well, but Mason is undeniably better, and the fact that Pead won't have to touch the field will help out. Overall, as well as things went last week, I could only see them going well this week.
A 2-0 start would be great, and it'll be something to build a healthy amount of confidence around and hopefully make the strides to become a playoff team this season.
Prediction: Rams win 31 - 10
Mike Dietrich [@dvond]
The Rams have a few things going against them this week. The 1st one is under Jeff Fisher, this team has usually followed up big emotional wins with a huge letdown which is a characteristic of a young team; which this one continues to be. The 2nd issue is teams after playing the Seahawks win less than 33% of their next week's game. But never fear, Positive Mike sees this team buck both of these trends against the surprising Washington defense. Playing a lower scoring game on the road and playing close to the vest, I think they eek out a close road win 16-13.
Prediction: Rams win 16 - 13
The Rams found themselves pulling out yet another surprise upset in the Jeff Fisher era with their week 1 win over the two time defending NFC Champions. There was something very different about this game than the beatdown of the Colts in 2013, or the upsets of the Broncos and Seahawks last year. Each of those big upsets had a the Rams on the plus side of some low percentage plays. A team can't rely on a misdirection punt return and fake punt, or a strip sack scoop and score in every game for success. No this game against the Seahawks saw the Rams survive being on the wrong side of similar low percentage plays. Yes the Rams had a big punt return TD in week 1, but it evened out a similar play by the Seahawks. The Rams managed to win in spite of a fumbled snap, Isaiah Pead sighting, and a strip sack scoop and score.
Heading into week 2 its possible the Rams will see the return on Tre Mason, which at the very least should eliminate any more Isaiah Pead sightings. Benny Cunningham did a fantastic job in week 1, but Mason offers a little more in the running game. The Redskins offense is going to have to rely heavily on the production of Alfred Morris. After limiting "Beast Mode" to 73 yards on 18 carries, the Rams defense is hoping for similar run stuffing in week 2. If you eliminate the rushes of Russell Wilson the Seahawks had 93 yards on 24 carries as a team, roughly a 3.9 yard per carry average. If the defense isn't worried about an athletic quarterbacks ability to stretch the defense horizontally, it should make it easier to fill those running lanes and contain Morris. If the defense and limit the running game the Redskins options are fairly limited on the outside with the absence of DeSean Jackson. To make a long story short, Rams jump out to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2001.
Douglas M [@thenovelroad]
Offensive player to watch for the Redskins: Alfred Morris