The New York Jets entered the season with high expectations, while the St. Louis Rams' quick start gave fans some hope. Now both teams stand with just three wins in nine games and well out of the postseason picture.
The Jets' offensive issues have hit rock bottom. They failed to score last week in Seattle after posting just nine points against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8. Rex Ryan's defense is marginally better, but the loss of Darrelle Revis is hurting the entire unit.
The Rams showed some signs of life against the San Francisco 49ers but couldn't pull out the win. Self-inflicted wounds relegated them to a tie.
Following are the particulars of this matchup.
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis
When: Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. ET
Listen: 98.7 ESPN New York and the Jets Radio Network; 101.1 ESPN WXOS St. Louis and the Rams Radio Network
Live Streaming: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread: Rams -3.5
The Rams don't have a significant home-field advantage, but they do play better in their dome. They also demonstrated they have some life left in them with their tie against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Jets have also had a few good showings, but their team is in disarray. The false bravado of still being a playoff team did more harm in the locker room than good.
This isn't going to be a pretty game, but it is one the Rams will win.
The Jets' offensive issues are outlined above, and life for the Rams has been even worse. Both teams are in the bottom 10 of the NFL in scoring average.
If there were ever a matchup calling for the under, this is it.
What's at Stake?
Very little other than an ounce of pride and draft status. Neither team has a realistic shot at the playoffs shy of winning their last seven games.
The Jets need to use the balance of their season to survey their players, particularly on offense. They need to see if Tim Tebow can run an actual NFL offense or let Mark Sanchez open up the passing game.
The 2012 season is done. Both teams are looking at building for next year.
Injury Report (via USAToday.com)
Kenrick Ellis, DL, Doubtful (Knee)
Joe McKnight, RB, Doubtful (Ankle)
Bilal Powell, RB Concussion
Eugene Sims, DL, Knee
Darian Stewart, DB, Knee
Rams: Danny Amendola, WR
Amendola had a breakout game last week with 102 yards on 11 receptions. It was his most productive day of the season outside of his 15-catch, 160-yard performance in Week 2, and he's one of the few players that has realistic fantasy value in this game.
Steven Jackson also had his best day of the season last week. He surpassed 100 yards rushing for the first time in 2012 and scored just his second touchdown.
Jets: Jeremy Kerley, WR
Kerley has 35 catches and 535 yards on the season with just two touchdowns. He's a decent option for a roster whose starter is on a bye week, but he's only hit the 100-yard mark once this year.
The Rams' secondary is solid when at full force.
What They're Saying
At least one person from the NFL Network feels he has reason to believe the Jets are ready to give Tim Tebow a more active role in the offense. We'll find out on Sunday if Jeff Darlington had some inside information or just a hunch.
I'm not saying I have anything to do with Tebow Time, but let's just say he might want to be ready this week: I've been assigned Jets-Rams.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) November 13, 2012
Mike Sando, NFC West blogger for ESPN.com, points out the difficulties the Jets have had against the NFC.
Jets: no offensive TDs and outscored 62-7 in 2 games vs NFC West. Next up: Rams.— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@espn_nfcwest) November 12, 2012
There are other concerns with how the Jets offense will fare with the man and press coverage of the Rams. Rich Eisen also reminds fans that the Jets will face the architect of their ineffective offense.
At least the Jets aren't next visiting the Rams to face their tough D and probably get outplayed by a Schottenheimer offense. Oh wait.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) November 11, 2012
Jets Key Player: Defensive Ends
The key for the Jets in this game is pressuring Sam Bradford and trying to force him into making mistakes. He doesn't throw a lot of interceptions, but he is shakeable.
The Rams haven't done a good job protecting him this season, but more telling is the difficulty level I had in recalling the Jets' top pass-rusher.
They've done a bit of a pressure by posse approach, but the lack of a true sack threat is why they rank 22nd in sacks.
Rams Key Player: Sam Bradford, QB
I won't go so far as to say Bradford is the key to the Rams winning this game, but St. Louis needs to see a little more production form the former first overall draft selection.
The Rams opted to use the second draft pick in 2012 to build their team instead of replacing Bradford.
It is hard to argue that Bradford or Robert Griffin III has a bevy of receiving talent, but so far in 2012 Bradford is doing nothing to reinforce Jeff Fisher's decision.
This game won't be pretty and doesn't likely appeal to anyone but fans of the two teams. The Rams will be able to run the ball on the Jets and do enough in the passing game to convert first downs.
The Jets don't have the personnel they need on offense to create the identity they've tried to build. They lack playmakers at every position and it shows.
Final Score: Rams 20, Jets 13
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and Seattle Seahawks.
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