When a team is riding a winning streak like the St. Louis Rams are currently, superstition starts to creep into the minds of the players. Simple routines once taken for granted are turned into rituals and certain behaviors must be duplicated to maintain the current mojo.
While that is all well and good, for the Rams this week against the Minnesota Vikings, the only thing that really matters is what transpires for 60 minutes between the white lines. Here are a few things that the team will have to focus on if they want to keep streaking in week 15.
MAKE THEM ONE-DIMENSIONAL
This will certainly be easier said than done especially when Adrian Peterson is on an impressive streak of his own with the Vikes. He has now ran for more than 100 yards in seven consecutive games and had more than 100 total yards in 10 straight. Clearly the Minnesota offense runs through Peterson and that must be the primary focus for the Rams defensively. They have to maintain gap integrity, stay at home, and always respect the run even on passing downs this week.
That leads us to this area where Christian Ponder hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire this season. His play has steadily declined during the year leaving more and more of the workload to Peterson in the running game.
If the Rams can get a little heat on Ponder and force him to make quick decisions, turnovers could ensue leading to good things for St. Louis. Robert Quinn and Chris Long are terrific two-way defensive ends and with rookie Michael Brockers coming on of late, this Rams defensive line is vitally important to getting a win on Sunday.
RIDE THE MO-MENTUM
Sometimes the best way to get a win is simply keep doing what you do. For the Rams, that has meant winning games late on the arm and leadership of quarterback Sam Bradford. While their cardiac style isn’t always the most health-conscious way to approach a game, it’s nice to have that confidence in your back pocket to know that if things get dicey, Bradford has a track record of pulling it out of the fire at the end.
It may be a long, uphill climb for the Rams if they want to make the playoffs, but the one game at a time, one snap at a time approach is undoubtedly what Head Coach Jeff Fisher has been preaching. This young team has plenty of self-assurance and that is what it takes when the schedule is winding down. Don’t be surprised if these Rams win another close one this weekend when they host the Vikings.
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