Unlike most seasons in recent memory, the St. Louis Rams still have plenty to play for as the month of December progresses. Their opponents in week 14, the Buffalo Bills, still have an outside shot at the postseason as well, but they are on life support in that category. Still, the team should expect a never say die attitude this weekend when they visit Orchard Park and the winner of this game keeps their hopes alive of reaching the playoffs in 2012. Here are three keys for the Rams to be the team still playing for something when next week rolls around.
MAKE THEM ONE-DIMENSIONAL
Much like the Rams, the running game is the bread and butter of the Buffalo offense. If the Rams can stifle Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, forcing the Bills to air it out, it could bode well for their defense. Janoris Jenkins has been a ball hawk in recent weeks with three touchdowns in the last two games and his ability to make play happen when he gets his hands on the pigskin is second to none on his squad.
POUND THE ROCK
The Bills are ranked 30th in the league when it comes to stopping the run so the Rams should focus on giving them a healthy dose of Steven Jackson with some Daryl Richardson sprinkled in here and there. Using the screen pass as an extension to the running game proved to be a wise decision last week, and got quarterback Sam Bradford confident as well as in rhythm. Taking a similar approach to this game would be wise as the club should still refrain from taking too many downfield chances in the passing game.
WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE
During the Rams’ five-game losing streak, the team failed to cause one single turnover. In the past two weeks (both wins), the Rams have won the turnover battle by a one to zero margin last week and a staggering four to one ratio the week before. Clearly causing turnovers is a factor in winning games, but not giving the ball away is just as important. With Bradford being more judicious with the pigskin and the Rams offensive line finally starting to come together, this team appears poised to continue its positive trend.
They may not be rocket science, but these three areas will be vital for the Rams if they want to win on the road in Buffalo. Thankfully the weather looks relatively benign for mid-December, so the elements won’t be too big of a factor for the dome team going outdoors. A win in this game could mean big things for the NFL’s youngest team in the weeks to come.
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