This is it. I'm going out on a limb and predicting the Rams break into the win column Sunday in Jacksonville. Before the season started I never thought the Rams would go through the season winless. 5 to 6 wins seemed about right at that time. Like most everyone I've had to dial back those expectations.
Picking the Rams to win on the road over a team with two wins might seem like a stretch. But it's not like the Jags are burning up the league. Jacksonville's offense generates 328 yards per game and 19.4 points per game. Both stats are 21st in the NFL. Defensively the Jags yield 380.6 yards per game (28th in the NFL) and 25.4 points per game (23rd in the NFL). In fact with those stats it's kind of amazing they have managed two wins.
Jacksonville does have Maurice Jones-Drew who is one of the better runningbacks in the NFL. And our old friend Torry Holt has 22 catches and averages about 15 yard per catch. But the Jags have some serious issues. There QB David Garrard has a passer rating of about 86%. Jones-Drew is complaining he is not being used properly or enough. And as we saw last week, the Rams have the potential to hold a top back in check.
Defensively the Jags have a paltry 4 sacks on the season. This is great news for Mark Bulger and the Rams. Bulger is getting the start and he should have time to pass.
Now of course the Rams will have to get into the end zone more than once. They cannot turn the ball over in the red zone. For that matter, they cannot turn the ball over. That is crucial for the team to have any chance to win. And the defense will have to keep Jones-Drew in check.
Now for the X Factor. The Jacksonville stadium will be about half full. People here are worried about the Rams leaving town. Jacksonville is on life support. There is a genuine lack of support for the Jags. So this road game will be more like a neutral site game.
Despite the final score, I think the Rams showed some signs of life last week. So I am going out on a limb. I hope the Rams do not saw it off behind me. I predict their first win of the season.