The Detroit Lions kick off the 2012 regular season on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. I got together with Brandon Folsom, Rams blogger and editor at Ramblin’ Fan, to help preview the game from the St. Louis perspective.
My thanks to Brandon for taking the time to answer my questions and giving us some insight into the Rams.
1. After watching the team through four preseason games, how are Rams fans feeling about their team heading into the regular season opener?
Brandon Folsom: As Ramblin’ Fan staffer Robert Goulet put it earlier this week, this team is in its fifth year of rebuilding because of the consistent turnover with coaches and coordinators, players and misguided franchise direction. The Rams are going to be able to beat some good teams this year, will keep even better teams close during some games, but don’t expect the team to compete for a NFC playoff spot. The other three NFC divisions are too tough for the Rams to overcome when it is all said and done.
2. Where do you think the Lions might have trouble with the Rams?
BF: Detroit is going to struggle to contain quarterback Sam Bradford’s arm. The Rams are young, almost too young, at the wide receiver position; however, Bradford should make his hay throwing the intermediate routes against the Lions patchwork secondary. Bradford is a former Heisman Trophy winner. He played against better defensive backs in the Big XII than what Detroit is going to put on the field Sunday. The Lions have backups at safety starting, an Indianapolis Colts castoff, a 10-year vet (regressing veteran, anyway) and a rookie starting at cornerback. Bradford will make some plays. Expect a 300-yard game from him.
3. Where can the Lions find success against the Rams?
BF: The Lions are going to beat the Rams by throwing the ball. It’s not to say that the Rams secondary is poor, but St. Louis is going to have matchup problems on the outside, especially against Calvin Johnson. The Rams are going to have rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins matched up against Johnson on more than 50% of the snaps, which will be to Matthew Stafford’s advantage. Yes, Jenkins is a coveted cornerback and he does have the potential to be an elite, shutdown corner in the future, but let’s be realistic here. Jenkins was manning up against Division II wide receivers 10 months ago. Now he is facing an all-world athlete in Megatron. Bradford will have a big day Sunday; Stafford’s day will be even bigger.
4. Do you expect Sam Bradford to break out kind of like Matthew Stafford did a year ago after finally being healthy?
BF: It’s funny that everyone attributes Bradford’s poor start to his career because of his health. It’s not necessarily HIS health that is bringing the Rams down, but rather the health of the other players on his team. The Rams were bit by the injury bug last season and lost nearly everyone, well, nearly everyone if you’re looking at the secondary. The Rams put out a horrible defense, weak run game and had poor throwing options all because of the bad health of others last season, not just Bradford’s health. We’ve watched Bradford succeed while playing with injuries in college. He’s going to be something special in this league. Let’s focus on getting stability in the front office and with every other player’s health before worry about Bradford.
5. What is your prediction for Sunday’s game?
BF: Ramblin’ Fan turned in its Pick ‘Em picks on Wednesday and every single staffer picked the Lions to roll over the Rams this weekend. I like the Lions big in this game. I’m thinking something like 38-17. Megatron will have one of those “welcome to the NFL, rookie” performances against Jenkins, but the Rams will not look like they’re in line to pick first in this year’s draft.
Head to Ramblin’ Fan for more on the St. Louis Rams.