Last week: 12 (+0)
And here’s the other half of the controversial prediction. On one hand, I nailed the Rams/Lions game. The Rams showed they were a better team than last year on both sides of the ball. On the other hand, my prediction of the Rams in the playoff only makes sense if the 49ers don’t prove me wrong. If Alex Smith improbably becomes a true franchise quarterback at age 28, proving Jim Harbaugh to be a genius, allowing them to win in spite of the regressed turnover differential and more injuries they almost definitely will suffer, the Rams don’t have much of a chance to get in the playoffs as a wild card in a loaded NFC. I’m sticking with this one more week. We’ll see what happens this week.
A few concerning things for the Rams, they lost two starters on the offensive line to injury, center Scott Wells and left tackle Rodger Saffold. Part of my reasoning for an improved Rams team was an improved offensive line, with Scott Wells coming in and Rodger Saffold coming back from injury. That can’t really happen if both are hurt. The other thing was that Steven Jackson looked pretty done. History suggests he should have one more good year in him, but that’s no guarantee and he was just held to 53 yards on 21 carries by a Lions run defense that ranked 28th in the league in 2011. If he is done, three things will need to happen. The coaching staff will need to reduce his role. He will have to accept this reduced role without being upset. And rookies Isaiah Pead and Daryl Richardson will have to prove themselves capable of larger roles. That’s easier said than done, but if they can do that, they should still be able to run the conservative offense they’ll need to run to win games.
CB Cortland Finnegan: Allowed 6 catches for 46 yards on 8 attempts, 1 interception, 9 solo tackles, 3 stops and 1 missed tackle on 20 run plays
CB Bradley Fletcher: Allowed 2 catches for 12 yards on 2 attempts, 2 pass deflections, 3 solo tackles on 17 run snaps
K Greg Zuerlein: 6 kickoffs, 4 touchbacks, 65.0 yards per kickoff, 19.5 average starting distance, 3/3 FG (29, 46, 48)
RT Barry Richardson: Allowed 1 sack, 2 quarterback hits, and 1 quarterback pressure on 31 pass block plays, run blocked for 4 rushing yards on 2 carries
SS Quentin Mikell: Allowed 5 catches for 65 yards on 5 attempts, 7 solo tackles, 2 missed tackles, and 2 run stops on 20 run snaps
DT Kendall Langford: 0 sacks, quarterback hits, or quarterback pressures on 26 pass rush snaps, 1 solo tackle on 14 run snaps, 1 penalty