Looking Ahead: St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys


The St. Louis Rams have, for quite some time now, been a truly pathetic squad. They had glimmers of hope in 2010, but then followed with a 2-14 season in 2011. 2012 saw them rebound to mediocrity, and that is where the Cowboys find them today.

Another team that has been a truly pathetic squad of late is the Kansas City Chiefs. The Kansas City Chiefs won last week’s game. Another team that has rebounded to consistent mediocrity is the Dallas Cowboys. There was a fair bit of irony in the opening sentence. Also ironic: in two games this season, Murray has rushed for less than half of what he did against the Rams in 2011. In that game, he ran for 253 yards.

Aug 25, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; St Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford throws against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Rams Offense

Sam Bradford, the first overall pick in 2010, has had an up and down career so far. He hasn’t been a total bust, but his stats aren’t that great either. He has a 58.6% career completion percentage and has interception totals in the teens two of his three complete seasons. Small sample sizes aside, he is on pace for 16 interceptions this year. He doesn’t even have that much of a gun-slinger mentality. After all, his career high for touchdowns in a season is a whopping…21. QBR, ESPN’s much ballyhooed and little used statistic, scores him a 40.3 out of 100 (50 being average.) Of course, he hasn’t had an amazing cast around him either. Still, no matter the cast, his QBR and completion percentage indicate that Bradford has his flaws.

All this is to say that while Bradford can have game-breaking moments, he will probably not be game changer Sunday.

His receivers may. Chris Givens and Austin Pettis both had solid weeks against the Cardinals. While the Cardinals’ offense leaves much to be desired, their defense above average. In points, yards, passing yards per game and rushing yards per game, they rank in the top ten. Chris Givens had 105 receiving yards against them. Austin Pettis had 78. Both grossly under performed in week one, but their most recent performance must cause some hope for fans of the Rams. Tavon Austin, though he had less than 50 yards, still scored two touchdowns. He could have the talent to dominate the game.

St. Louis’ offensive line is actually quite solid, if currently fragile. Jake Long  has been excellent in the past, while Chris Williams, Harvel Dahl, and Scott Wells are all solid.  The real question mark is at Right Tackle. Roger Saffold sprained his MCL, so he will be out. That means Joeseph Barksdale, a player I remember liking in the draft as a fifth rounder, will start instead.

Rams Defense

Oct 23, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) carries the ball in the third quarter against the St Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

On the other end, the Rams have legitimate weapons. Chris Long has been very good the last two years, even if he has been off to a rather slow start. Robert Quinn decidedly has started off the opposite. In two games, he has recorded four sacks. According to Pro Football Focus (via the Turfshowtimes), he leads the league with 16 pressures on the year. In two games. The secondary also has notable players. Corteland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins should both ring bells. They are as well known for their off the field issues as their play on it. Finnegan has gotten into fights on field before, most notably with Andre Johnson, and Jenkins was dismissed from Florida on drug charges. Still, both are very good cornerbacks who should give Dez Bryant and Miles Austin issues. The Rams are solid at linebacker as well. Sean Witherspoon and James Laurinaitis form a solid Inside Linebacker corps, and Alec Ogletree, a first round pick from Georgia, is off to a great start to his pro career. He has 15 tackles in 2 games.

What they think of us:

I’ll update this later, as other “Looking Ahead” articles start rolling in.