Some things have changed since Week 4 when the Los Angeles Rams lost 37-20 to the Arizona Cardinals in round one of the divisional matchup. Round two is upon us here in Week 14 on Monday Night Football. What has changed is that the once red hot Rams have had a cold stretch through the month of November but hope to be heating up again with their first game of December resulting in LA back in the win column. What else has changed is a few subtractions from the roster, mainly a season ending injury to receiver Robert Woods but also the additions of Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr.
The key to beating the Cardinals may be in the balance of offensive attack. A balance that the Rams have been lacking in the middle part of the season as pass heavy one dimensional schemes have been stopped by defenses who seem to be stacking and settling in to cover the same routes off the same 11 personnel formations.
In the loss to the Cardinals the Rams ran the ball 23 times and passed it 41 times. While some of the distribution has to do with game flow, the game plan is set first and if successful is reflected in the end run to pass ratio. Monday Night Football New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills is the extreme example, as the Patriots threw the ball only three times on their way to the win.
The Cardinals loss twice this season so far. Once to the Green Bay Packers and once to the Carolina Panthers. The Packers ran the ball 34 times and passed it 37 times. The Panthers ran the ball 37 times and passed it 33 times. Against the Jaguars in Week 13 the Rams ran the ball 27 times and had their first 100 yard rusher of the season by Sony Michel. The Rams also started to use heavier offensive formations with three extra blockers along the line at some points. If LA can find a way to keep their offense run to pass ratio balanced in a way that will control the tempo of the game, and avoid turnovers, they will be in a good position to come away with a win.
And now for today’s links: