NFL Predictions Week 1: How the St. Louis Rams Will Beat the Eagles
If your a Rams fan, your dying to see how much better the best young quarterback in football has gotten. The best young quarterback in the NFL is, of course, Sam Bradford. But surprisingly, no matter how much better Bradford has gotten, he may not be the single best answer for the Rams to beat the Eagles in Week 1.
Bradford will be the most important piece when it comes to the St. Louis Rams success during the 2011-12 season. But sometimes, depending upon the team you play, the recipe for success needs to be tweaked from week to week.
Week 1 of the NFL season will be one of those weeks where the Rams will have to take a different approach towards victory.
The Eagles have greatly improved their secondary during this past offseason. They were already looking scary, sporting Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but then they went on to add Pro Bowl corner and one of the best at his position in the NFL, Nnamdi Asomugha. That instantly created a headache for any passing offense.
So step one to winning Week 1 against the Eagles? Run the ball.
If the Rams can establish the run early on by giving the ball to Steven Jackson and Cadillac Williams, the Rams will open up the passing game. It will be vital for St. Louis to get those three dynamite corners thinking run, getting them to cheat, and then surprising them with the play action pass.
If they want to beat a great cornerback trio like the Eagles have, the Rams will have to be a little more unpredictable with their passing game.
Despite the Eagles' two big additions to their defensive line, the Rams will probably be much better served attacking Philly's rush defense as opposed to attacking their pass defense first.
Defensively, Coach Spagnuolo has two clear and distinct goals to be successful against the favorites of the NFC East division.
The Eagles have added plenty of talent to their defense and offense respectively, but one place where many believe they may have their biggest weakness is their offensive line.
Coach Spagnuolo gained his fame as defensive coordinator with the New York Giants, specifically during the Giants' Super Bowl victory against the Patriots, where Spags blitzed Tom Brady to no end. That is a very similar game plan that will work against the Eagles.
If Spagnuolo can blitz Vick and the Eagles, it will expose their weak offensive line, creating a ton of pressure in the backfield.
We all know Michael Vick is as good as they come in scrambling out of trouble and into positive yardage, so the Rams must make sure they don't allow their efforts on the defensive line to go wasted by allowing Vick to run free. The Rams can't completely sell-out on the blitz and must leave a spy to keep an eye on Vick.
Vick has tried to become more of a pocket passer in recent years, but that will never stop him from scrambling to gain yardage. He is still the most dynamic quarterback in the NFL when it comes to scrambling.
The second goal for the Rams will be to stop the run. The Eagles were fifth in the NFL in rushing yards last season, a stat that St. Louis can't become a victim of. If I'm Coach Spagnuolo, I take my chances with Vick throwing the ball, rather than allowing Philadelphia to run all over me.
The Rams' best bet defensively will be to shut down 2010's fifth-best rushing attack, and give Vick all the rope he needs to hang himself throwing the ball. That includes keeping Vick in the pocket, and not allowing him to scramble when under pressure.
It will certainly be an uphill battle for St. Louis during Week 1 of the NFL season, but it's a battle they can certainly win. With improvements on both sides of the ball, the Rams could take advantage of a team like Philly with a ton of new players trying to get acquainted with a new system.
It is very possible the Rams could stun the world Week 1 and steal a win from the Eagles.
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