Following the bye week, the St. Louis Rams bring a healthier lineup into their first match-up of the season with the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday. The unfortunate part of this equation for the Rams is that they have been abysmal on the road this season with an 0-4 record thus far. Can they turn that around and pull a substantial upset against the Niners this weekend?
When you think about the Rams’ struggles this season, third down defense is the first thing that comes to mind. Against both the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in back to back weeks, the Rams allowed a total of 16 for 27 on third down conversions. Statistics like those are the recipe for wearing down defensively and becoming a much softer team in the closing stages of a football game.
As for the 49ers, their strength on offense is completely opposite of New England and Green Bay. San Fran will look to pummel the Rams into submission on first and second down runs. Just an incredible stat from the Niners is that they have gotten first downs on 65.6 percent of their first and second down rushes when lining up in two-back sets. Their 5.5 yards per carry average out of that alignment is an area where the Rams must focus defensively. Frank Gore seems to get stronger as his career moves along and the Niners expect to ride him in this game.
After being very good defending the run against a run-heavy Miami Dolphins team, the Rams have been pounded by the Pack and Pats in successive weeks. That doesn’t bode well for them this week, but they are fresh from a week off and the 49ers don’t have the aerial threat that those two clubs offer.
With five of their final eight games coming away from home, the Rams either need to step up away from the Edward Jones Dome or get ready to pile up the losses during the next eight weeks.
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