By Danny Cox
The Detroit Lions thought they were about to have a season sweep of the Green Bay Packers and finish Thursday night off with a four-game winning streak. A phantom facemask penalty and Hail Mary later, and the Pack won 27-23 in a shocking ending. Now, the Lions are looking to bounce back and they have to travel the St. Louis Rams who are having plenty of their own problems this season without much more than Todd Gurley as a bright spot.READ MORE: Red Wings Hire Lightning Assistant Derek Lalonde As Coach
The Rams are 4-8 and tied for last place in the NFC West with the San Francisco 49ers. Things were looking up for the Rams this season as they were 4-3 with some impressive victories early on, but then the floor fell out from under them and it’s looking like another season without a playoff berth.
St. Louis Rams on Offense
Nick Foles is out and Case Keenum is back in as the starting quarterback for the Rams next week now that he has gotten out of the NFL’s concussion protocol. St. Louis has very few weapons on offense as Kenny Britt is their leading receiver with 404 yards. Tavon Austin leads the team in receptions with 37 and four touchdowns.
The main threat of the Rams is rookie Todd Gurley who has slowed down a bit from his early season onslaught. He’s working toward a 1,000-yard season; but if the Lions stop him, then the Lions stop the Rams’ offense.
St. Louis Rams on DefenseREAD MORE: Troubling Arsenic Levels Found At Some Detroit Demolition Sites
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald (7 sacks) and defensive end Robert Quin (5 sacks) lead the team as the top pass rushers so Matthew Stafford will need to keep his eyes on both of them. With Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, the Lions should be able to expose a lot of weakness in the Rams’ defense.
One thing the Rams know how to do is cause turnovers as they have nine interceptions and 10 recovered fumbles (16 forced) on the season. Detroit has to hold onto the ball and watch for players constantly trying to strip it from ball carriers.
Players to Watch
Rookie running back Todd Gurley’s production has slacked in the past couple of weeks, but he is ever dangerous if given the chance. He’s gone from averaging 141.5 rushing yards per game in the first give starts to 54.8 yards per game in the past four weeks. Still, Detroit can not allow him to break free.
Linebacker James Laurinaitis is the leading tackler for the Rams with 83 total, one interception, one sack, and one forced fumble. He is the leader of the defense though and always all over the field. Someone on the offensive line, or a running back, will always need to keep him in sight or he’ll be in the offensive backfield all day.
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The loss to Green Bay is one that is very hard to swallow, and could have (should have) been won. Still, the Detroit Lions need to pick themselves up and prepare for the St. Louis Rams who can be defeated, especially since they’ve imploded in the last five weeks. They’re not playing with anywhere near the quality they had at the beginning of the season.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.