After an abysmal season in 2009, the St. Louis Rams look to put the past behind them and take a step forward in 2010. Rookie QB Sam Bradford has some serious work to do in order to turn this franchise around. Luckily, he has a pro bowl running back in Steven Jackson lining up behind him and a healthy receiving core to boot. The offensive line is sure to raise an eyebrow or two as it struggles to find continuity as a unit. One thing that I’m confident about going into the regular season is the defensive squad head coach Steve Spagnuolo has put together.
The 2010 season is certainly going to be trying times for the Rams with journeyman QB AJ Feely or rookie Sam Bradford at the helm but the Rams aren’t the only team in league with question marks. After breaking down the Rams schedule, I see it being possible that they sneak away with 4 wins before the bye in week 9. To find out how and why, keep reading…………
Scale: Never Gonna Happen-Very Unlikely-Unlikely-Push-Likely-Very Likely-Take it to the Bank
Week 1: Arizona
Kurt Warner’s retirement has raised serious questions about the Cardinals’ offense. Matt Leinart is facing an immense amount of pressure as the offense needs him to establish a passing attack so the run game can develop. Arizona was very pass heavy with Warner under center so it will be interesting to see how RBs Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells adjust to being equal offensive threats. There are also many questions on the defensive side of the ball as tackle Levi Brown moves from RT to LT. The hole left by Brown at RT will be filled by 2008 7th round draft pick Brandon Keith who has much to prove. Age issues are a concern with the linebackers, as veterans Clark Haggans and Joey Porter are both 33 years old and showed to be a step slower in 2009.
My take: I see the Rams’ defense making a statement in week 1 by shutting down the Cardinals who have yet to find an identity.
Rams WIN -Take it to the BANK
Week 2: @ Oakland
The Raiders’ offense is one huge question mark going into the regular season. Now that the Raiders have rid themselves of draft bust JaMarcus Russell, it should be interesting to see if the offense can flourish with veteran Jason Campbell under center. Darren McFadden has failed to impress in his 2 seasons in the league largely because of injury. He now finds himself at the top of the depth chart and it’s his job to lose. I’ll leave you with this, 2009 1st round pick Darrius Heyward-Bay is slated to be the teams #1 wide-out. Heyward-Bay has played in 11 career games with 9 grabs for124 yards and a TD. The Raiders have little to be scared of in terms of offense. The defense is a different story as they have established themselves as a consistent unit over the past few seasons.
My take: With 1st game jitters in the rear-view, I see rookie QB Sam Bradford keeping the game plan simple en route to a Rams win.
Rams WIN: Likely
Week 7: @ Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman is already playing hurt after fracturing the tip of his thumb on his throwing hand. Bucs brass have said that Freeman will miss the remainder of the pre-season which is tough for a 2nd year guy with limited NFL experience. Freeman is set to return prior to week 1 but will have to play catch up if he wants to be in sync with his teammates. His injury has been compared to one that Brett Favre suffered back in 1999. Favre called his 1999 thumb sprain at the time the “toughest” injury he ever sustained, saying, “It just wouldn’t heal.” The offense will move if Freeman is healthy and continues improvement at last year’s pace.
My take: After 6 games in the books, I see a cohesive offensive line give QB Sam Bradford ample protection as he has his best game of the season so far.
Rams WIN: Likely
Week 8: Carolina
The Panthers made a bold move in the off-season by shedding themselves of longtime starting QB Jake Delhomme. The move thrusts the inexperienced Matt Moore under center. Carolina has one of the top run games in the league with the two-headed monster of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Health has been a topic of concern as neither of them have been able to complete a full season without being hampered by injury. As for the defense, they have major gaps to fill after they lost 5 starters from their 2009 team. The most visible hole will be the one left by 5-time pro bowl DE Julius Peppers who signed with Chicago as a free agent.
My take: Carolina’s offense will struggle all season long and this week will be no exception as the Rams defense shows why they are better than advertised.
Rams WIN: Very Likely
Predicting regular season victories after week 2 of the preseason is a tough thing to do. With that said, I looked for holes in the opposition, holes the Rams can expose given that they develop as I anticipate they will. We shall see how they fare.
About the Author
Written by Bear Heiser
Hello!!! Thanks for stopping by, I'm Bear Heiser, St. Louis Rams Featured Columnist. Please feel free to comment on anything I write. You can find me on Twitter @ramsreport and @bearconsults. My Rams coverage doesn't stop here. I can also be found covering the Rams on the blog blitz over at NFL.com Still want more Rams???? Rams Featured Columnist at BleacherReport.com Love University of Illinois football? I got you covered. Go to www.prosportsblogging.com , where you'll find me breaking down the Illini, week in and week out. Want more? My personal blog is www.bearconsults.com You can find me covering, Lakers, entertainment and music for ALL CBS Radio websites in Los Angeles. I have been told my passion for sports is an addiction. Now I get paid to be addicted to something I love. Cool right?