The Rams are back in town after a win up in Buffalo last week. They are riding a three game win streak heading into a week 15 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives as they are right in the thick of the NFC wild card picture.
The Rams pretty much have to win out to give themselves a chance at the wild card, and Minnesota’s situation is not much better. With both teams really needing the win, expect a good matchup this Sunday. Let’s breakdown this upcoming matchup for the Rams.
Keys: Run Defense, Offense, Takeaways
Minnesota has one of the league’s best running backs is Adrian Peterson. AP is coming off a week 14 win in which he torched a top ten Bears defense for 154 yards on the ground. The Rams run defense has to be nothing short of great against Minnesota.
Thankfully, St. Louis is coming off a win in Buffalo in which they shut down the one-two punch of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. The Bills came into that matchup as one of the best rushing teams in the league, but the pesky Rams defense held them to only 61 rushing yards. If the Rams can repeat that success in week 15, they will force the Vikings to score with their last place pass offense instead of their MVP caliber back.
Offense will also be important for the Rams. The Vikings have a very pedestrian defense that ranks near the middle of the pack. If the Rams offense shows up to play, they could torch this defense. The Rams offense has shown the ability to play against some great defenses considering they play in one of the most defensively sound divisions in the NFL.
Turnovers will also be extremely important for the Rams against Minnesota. The Rams have forced seven turnovers over the last three games, so they are hot in that department to say the least. Minnesota has coughed up the ball 22 times this year, so they are more than capable of coughing the ball up. The key will be to take advantage of youngster Christian Ponder’s mistakes.
Bradford needs to have a good game against this average defense. He is coming off a less than stellar performance last week in Buffalo, but he had a good second half and needs to build on that this week. It would be nice to see Bradford toss a couple touchdown passes and around 300 yards.
Bradford may get some help from the Vikings as well. According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, both of Minnesota’s starting corners missed practice on Wednesday. If they do not end up playing on Sunday, Bradford needs to put up some nice numbers against a depleted secondary.
Steven Jackson seems to always be forgotten when people mention the top running backs in the league. He will have a chance to prove himself if he can run with Adrian Peterson on Sunday. The Vikings have an average rushing defense as well, so it would be nice to see Steven carve them up for some yardage.
Jackson needs a big day for his team. Knowing that this may be his last season as a Ram, it would truly be a crime for him to not have one last hoorah in St. Louis. If he can put together a big day this weekend, he will help put his team on the right track towards the postseason.
Defensive tackle is not the most glorious position in the NFL. That being said, many have not noticed how great Brockers has played these past few games. He has been a force up front stuffing the run and even getting to the quarterback at a nice rate.
Brockers will need to bring his A game this week. He is the most important player when it comes to limiting Peterson’s game. If Brockers can help to stuff the holes and limit Peterson’s space on the field, this defense could have a good day.
As scary as AP’s ground game is, my gut tells me the Rams will limit him to just an average day. When the Vikings are forced to pass the ball, they typically struggle. The Rams secondary should be able to contain Minnesota’s dismal passing game.
Since I believe the Rams defense will be able to hold up their end of the deal, the pressure will be on the offense. Bradford, Jackson and company must put up some points and back up their defense. If the Rams can put up 20 points, they should be able to walk out with a win.
I believe the Rams do put up 20 on the Vikings. Sam Bradford tosses a couple touchdowns and Legatron knocks a couple field goals through en route to a victory. The Rams keep their playoff hopes alive and deal a major blow to the Vikings’ chances in week 15.
Rams win 20-17 and improve their winning streak to 4 games and their record to 7-6-1.
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