[editor's note, by Skin Patrol] VanRam from Turf Show Times (our resident Rams blogger) has agreed to give us a heads up on the Rams sometime tomorrow. As my coverage of St. Louis sucks (see below), I'm leaving the heavy lifting on him to inform readers about the State of the Rams. Check back tomorrow for that and go tell him thanks at his site. I should have a (probably uninformed and poorly written) State of the Redskins posted on his site as well, so make sure to go read that and laugh at me. Cheers.
Last week we shut down the best offense in the league. So Sunday's game against the Rams should be a piece of cake, right? Probably not.
St. Louis is the 8th best offense in the league, meaning the Redskins will have faced four consecutive top 10 offenses in a row (10th Atlanta, 3rd Philly, 1st NO, and 8th StLouis). Trial by fire I guess.
St. Louis' offense is primarily a passing unit. Marc Bulger, who just made his 2nd Pro Bowl, is having a mistake free year with 19 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions on 520 attempts. His 1.5% interception percentage is fourth in the league. As our defense has struggled to force turnovers, especially interceptions (still dead last) we'll likely be forced to win this game with some mistake management of our own.
Torry Holt will join Bulger in Hawaii as he made his fourth straight Pro Bowl this year. He now has seven straight 1,000 yard seasons. His 10 TDs are more than all of our receivers combined as well.
The Rams have a third Pro Bowler on their offense in 3rd year RB Steven Jackson. Although the Rams total rushing offense hasn't been stellar (21st in the league), Jackson is having a very impressive year with 1236 yards on 288 rushes (4.3 YPC). He will probably be more of a threat to us in the passing game where he is having a career year with 680 yards.
Although this offense can move the ball effectively it does have a weakness; the Offensive Line. Per Football Outsiders the St. Louis Rams are giving up a sack on 7.1% of their pass plays. The league average is 6.1% and, for reference, the Redskins give up a sack on just 4.5% of their plays. Unexploited advantages are meaningless however, and it just so happens that the Redskins are still dead last in sacks.
Marc Bulger is third in the league in total passing yards and, although our secondary seems to have clicked recently, still poses a serious threat. It would be nice to get some pressure on Bulger but don't hold your breath. We gameplanned well against the Saints, but their offense operates differently than the Rams and will not be without a key receiver (Joe Horn). Whereas New Orleans picked up much of its yardage with RBs and short yardage passes, the Rams will probably open up the entire field to its wide receivers.
All in all I'm still not (yet) convinced that our defense has turned itself around. We've played some excellent football the past two weeks against top 5 offenses but a poor performance against the Rams this Sunday could turn those efforts into mere anomalies.
Our Secondary wins us this game as I do not see St. Louis having much success running the ball. All I want for Christmas is a good game out of Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers. Readers, post your own gameday thoughts/hopes/wishes below.