St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions
Sunday October 10th 2010 1 p.m. EST
Line: Detroit -3
The 0-4 Lions take on the 2-2 Rams in a game once viewed as the worst of the season. But both teams have overachieved, although the Lions have yet to win a game. The Lions have had a rough schedule, facing off against the Vikings, Packers, Bears, and Eagles. Three out of four of their games were on the road and three out of four of their games were decided by less than a touchdown.
Keys to the Game:
- St. Louis has one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. No, that wasn’t a typo. They have the most plays over 30 yards in the entire league, with seven. Sure, they haven’t played many tough opponents, but that is an impressive stat for a team like the Rams regardless of who they are playing. Marc Clayton has resurrected his career so far in St. Louis. Teams are still keying in on Steven Jackson, as they should because he is the most dangerous part of their offense. Sam Bradford is coming into his own and saying thank you very much to a defense who is willing to give up the big play in order to stop Steven Jackson. The versatility of the offense with a true born leader like Bradford gives them confidence.
- The Lions are not a team anybody should look forward to playing. It may seem like I am giving these teams too much credit, and perhaps I am. With the Lions developing their defensive line into a group of relentless beasts that are a handful for any offensive line, they make life easier on their less than adequate defensive backs. Calvin Johnson finally looks like the machine he looked like in the combine. Shaun Hill threw two passes into double coverage, and Johnson used his 40 inch vertical to catch the ball at its highest point instead of turning them into interceptions. Once Matthew Stafford comes back, he needs to give Johnson the same opportunities to abuse corners. Charles Woodson is no slouch, though he struggled against Johnson. The Packers escaped last week, but the Lions are due for a victory.
- The Rams defense doesn’t look bad. Sam Bradford credited his defense for their recent success (when I say success, realize it is relative to the Rams expectations). As soon as I heard the comment I looked at the numbers, thinking he was being polite. The Rams have allowed 17 points or less in each of their first four games. They are ranked fourth in the NFL for points allowed per game. The Rams have holes all over their defense, but it seems like the improving offense is giving the entire team something to play for.
The Lions haven’t won a game yet. Even though they come close, they can’t close out games. Technicalities, last second drives, and blown plays at the end have caused them losses, sure. But what separates winners from losers in the NFL is the ability to finish. The Rams finally have a finisher in Sam Bradford. It’s too early to put the Hall of Fame jacket on him, but to say I am on the band wagon would be appropriate. It will be fun to watch him progress and I am going with the Rams outright in this one.
Free NFL Pick: Rams +3