The St. Louis Rams organization, the city and Rams fans from Missouri to Los Angeles have a lot to cheer about in 2010 and possibly 2011. The Rams travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on Divisional foe the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West crown on NFL’s Sunday Night Football.
Sam Bradford was drafted number one overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. He has delivered more than expected. He was given the title “face of the franchise” during training camp; it was stamped on his forehead after the first three pre-season games. The Big Easy has made the transition to the next level of NFL play seem extremely simple. Pre-snap reads of possible blitzes and deciding if it is man vs. zone coverage, while making split second decisions for a rookie is remarkable.
I’ve gone on record several times saying that Bradford is the best quarterback I’ve graded as a personnel man since Peyton Manning. He is in the group of young elite quarterbacks making their mark on the league today, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman…..but I think he will pass them all.
The Big Easy will soon be announced as the Offensive Rookie of the Year. He will be named to the All Rookie Team. He will be named Rams MVP (as voted on by the players), and will hold several rookie records in passing and completions. Forget about the records and accolades; let’s just talk about how one player is uplifts a team while making those around him better. The receivers that have benefited from Bradford’s arrival are Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Laurent Robinson, Daniel Fells and Michael Hoomanawanui.
Even with all the skills and production for a young man, Sam could not do it by himself. He is surrounded by two young offensive tackles that have fought and battled all season. The interior of the line has been inconsistent at times, and let’s hope that the spotty play doesn’t rear its ugly head on Sunday Night at Qwest field against the Seahawks.
While Bradford will deliver through the air, manage the game and take care of the football, the X-Factor is Steven Jackson. He must continue to run like a mad man. He has carried this team on his back in the past and Sunday Night will be no different. Keep in mind SJ39 must have production in order for the pass to open up for Sam Bradford. Jackson must bust off several runs in order to force the Seahawk Defense to respect the run by dropping a safety low in the box while the Rams turn to their play action package.
It will take a team effort for the Rams to go on the road and win in a hostile environment dealing with the 12th man. That Seattle squad is beat up, injured and backed into a corner. However, they plan on fighting their way out to a NFC Divisional title.
I’m picking the St. Louis Rams to defeat the Seattle Seahawks, despite the 12th man and the cold weather. Coach Steve Spagnuolo has this team focused and in playoff mode. Look for the Rams to score early and often and take the 12th man out of the equation. It will make for a short ride home.