If you are a staunch moralist then this idea may not appeal to you, but the St. Louis Rams need to kick the Houston Texans while they’re down this week. Being thrown a life-preserver like the winless Jacksonville Jaguars and then the reeling Texans in back-to-back weeks is just what this team needed to get back into the race in the NFC West, and the Rams must take advantage of their opportunity.
The Texans have the same 2-3 record on the young season as the Rams, but one could easily make the case that they deserve to be 1-4 after a ridiculous Week 1 escape against the San Diego Chargers in a three-touchdown fourth quarter comeback. If a team is what its record says it is then these two combatants in Week 6 are pretty evenly matched.
What could prove to be the deciding factor is the trajectory of each squad coming into the game. As mentioned, Houston is reeling with quarterback Matt Schaub throwing out pick-sixes like candy at a parade and the injury bug has already taken a sizable bite out of the team. Guards Brandon Brooks and linebacker Tim Dobbins both missed last week’s game, and there is no guarantee either one will be back on Sunday. A new name was added to the list of casualties as well with tight end Owen Daniels officially ruled out for 4-6 weeks with a fractured fibula. Tackle Duane Brown, star wideout Andre Johnson, and running back Arian Foster have all been nicked up as well which could bode well for the Rams coming into the contest.
But regardless of the apparent advantages, St. Louis must focus in on taking care of themselves. Even against a lowly Jags team last week, the Rams still surrendered an inordinate amount of yards which makes it difficult to win games consistently. Houston isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, but they are certainly a step up from Jacksonville. The Texans rank 7th in the NFL in total offense, and that could be a difficult matchup for the 23rd ranked Rams defense.
The numbers may not line up perfectly, but the momentum factor could play a huge role in this game. It had been a while since the Rams tasted victory prior to last week, and the Texans enter this week on a similar three-game losing streak. Getting up on Houston early could force them into a ‘woe is me’ attitude and allow their lackluster trend to continue.
St. Louis has to get off to a fast start in order to perpetuate the downward spiral for the Texans. That responsibility falls on Sam Bradford and the offense going up against the top ranked defense in the league. If the Rams can run out to an early lead in Reliant Stadium on Sunday, Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion could allow these objects in motion to continue their opposite paths in Week 6.