Governor's Cup: The Other I-70 Rivalry, Chiefs vs Rams
Being a hometown guy of St. Louis, i will try not to homer too much up on the Rams today. They are what they are, a 6-7 football team in a weak NFC West.
They have glaring needs from injuries and little depth at positions like WR, where a guy like Danny Amendola has shown brilliance for a team suffering after WR Mark Clayton went down with a knee injury for the year. Amendola also works as the kick returner, doing double duties. He has picked up the slack, becoming a favorite target of Rookie QB Sam Bradford with his ability to make some amazing plays on the field.
Let's not get too carried away, there are holes. At WR, for example, the Rams' front office has passed on veteran free agents like Terrell Owens, Santonio Holmes, Vincent Jackson for whatever reason, and more. Tight ends have been a mix of injuries with Billy Bajema, "Illinois Mike" Michael Hoomanawanuie, Daniel Fells and Fendi Onibun. They also have no backup running back to keep defenses honest behind the monster Steven Jackson.
Their defense has been plagued with injuries this year, and cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Quincy Butler have been rotating in and out with Brandon Fletcher. They are prone to getting burned on the long ball. The talent here leaves a lot to be desired, but sometimes rookie coaching gets in the way of watching your favorite teams make plays. Linebackers Chris Long and James Lauranitis are having great sophomore years and are becoming names to remember every game.
Now, let's move on. The Kansas City Chiefs have an injured Matt Cassell, who did so wonderfully in New England coming back from an emergency appendectomy and is a game-time decision. They lead the league in rushing yards, with two monster backs that are over the century mark in Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles. Charles has the power, Jones has the speed. He has outside of the line speed. This is where Rams have had problems containing the run, and if you watched the Saints game you would have noticed that.
Their passing game however, has been futile, and is ranked bottom half of the league. The Rams have experienced little success stopping the passing game, where they are ranked 20th in the league, but ranked 12th in stopping the run.
The Chiefs' defense, however, has been terrible on the road. They have allowed on average 20 points on the road to their opponents. Their defense ranks in the bottom half in the league in stopping the pass. This is QB Sam Bradford's chance to shine.
Did I mention that Dwayne Bowe guy? Boy he's scary. With a little less than two hundred yards left to break the century mark and 14 TDs, doesn't that tell you double coverage? This guy has a 6'2", 221lb frame, and gets an extra four yards after contact. He's big, fast, and has breakout speed and separation. Whatever QB that goes for KC today, whether it's Brodie Croyle (the ultimate question mark) or Matt Cassell, must know that getting the ball to this guy will be the key to the passing game. The Rams tend to get burned on that right side on the deep ball. Just reference the 49ers game a few weeks back and you'll know what I'm talking about.
Don't let the Rams fool you, now. They can get the job done—sometimes. The Rams are limiting opponents to a 35.3 percent success rate on third downs—tied for eighth-best in the league—but let New Orleans convert on 11 of 16 attempts in a 31-13 loss last Sunday.
St. Louis is also coming off three straight road games, and has a 4-2 record at home after going 2-22 there over the previous two seasons. Let me tell you, the Edward Jones Dome will be rocking today. Playoff spirit is back in St. Louis, and the fans are going nuts for it.
It's payback time. The Rams have lost all four meetings with the Chiefs since moving to St. Louis, dating to a win at Kansas City in 1994. The teams haven't faced each other since the Chiefs won 31-17 on Nov. 5, 2006. The Rams are bigger, stronger, faster and smarter. However, so are the Chiefs. This could shore up to be a great game, and we surely cannot wait to watch it. Here's hoping for a good one.
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