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St. Louis Rams – NFC West Preview

by Alexander Banks on Friday, August 17th, 2007

St. Louis Rams - NFC West PreviewHead Coach Scott Linehan's St. Louis Rams are an offensive powerhouse that shoud be able to build on last year's late momentum. The defense which was cause for many losses has been bolstered slightly with a strong draft. In the wide open NFC West the Rams feel they are in prime position to win the title. Bodog.com has made the St. Louis Rams 40 to 1 betting odds to win the 2008 Super Bowl XLII.

Linehan has handed the keys to the offensive machine to offensive coordinator Greg Olsen. Olsen did an excellent job with the offense in the last 6 games of the season when Linehan gave him complete control. Expect the Rams safety first offense to be a power running team with the occasional downfield pass. Marc Bulger is a top 5 NFL QB that has been flying under the radar for years. Bulger is deadly accurate with great anticipation and timing.

Bulger combined with versatile Pro-Bowl RB Stephen Jackson form a dangerous offensive backfield. Jackson quietly caught over 90 balls last year while providing a punishing running style that wore down defenses late in games. The receiving corps is stacked beginning with the consistently dominat duo of Torry Holt and Issac Bruce. Holt is one of the hardest guys in the league as he consistently puts up monster numbers. WR Issac Bruce has lost a step but still remains a precise route runner with great hands. New addition TE Randy McMichael is a mid-range threat that will provide a big target in the red zone. LT Orlando Pace keeps Marc Bulger upright with his long arms and immense strength. The unit as a whole has some work to do but has the potential to be a quality unit.

 

Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett scheme requires quick witted players that attack. Unfortunately Haslett doesn't have the necessary player personell to make his unpredictable style effective. It will be interesting to see if Haslett makes adjustments to suit the defenses strengths. DE Leonard Little is a sack machine despite being constantly double teamed. Teams ran up the middle at will last year against a pourous interior line. Defensive Tackles Jimmy Kennedy, La'Roi Glover and Rookie Adam Carriker must improve for this team to take the next step.

The linebackers are an undersized group that is led by MLB Will Witherspoon.. Witherspoon is a natural OLB but he is sideline-to-sideline player with a good motor. OLB Pisa Tinoosamoa is a raw athlete that can lay down some serious hits. The secondary is a young developing unit with a lightning fast cover corner Tye Hill. Opposite Hill is physical CB Fakhir Brown who is solid. SS Corey Chavous is a leader in the secondary with his consistent play and professionalism. While the special teams coverage and return game has been atrocious for years look for much improvement this year. Return specialist Daunte Hall was signed and should provide an instant upgrade in that area. Palcekicker Jeff Wilkins is one of the best at his position.

The Rams can contend in the ordinary NFC West with their stable of offensive horses. If the defense can figure out a way to stop the run this team could be a sleeper pick to go to the playoffs.

Brad Marchetti Opening Day St. Louis Rams Power Ratings: 20-80 Scale

20- Poor
30- Well Below Average
40- Below Average
50- Average
60- Above Average
70- Very Good
80- Great

Coaching: 50
Quarterback : 65
Backs : 75
Receivers : 70
Offensive Line : 60
Defensive Line : 40
Linebackers : 50
Secondary : 55
Special Teams : 55

Bodog.com has posted NFL betting odds to win the 2008 Super Bowl XLII:

Arizona Cardinals 40/1

Atlanta Falcons 60/1

Baltimore Ravens 18/1

Buffalo Bills 100/1

Carolina Panthers 25/1

Chicago Bears 15/1

Cincinnati Bengals 15/1

Cleveland Browns 125/1

Dallas Cowboys 20/1

Denver Broncos 20/1

Detroit Lions 70/1

Green Bay Packers 38/1

Houston Texans 100/1

Indianapolis Colts 15/2

Jacksonville Jaguars 30/1

Kansas City Chiefs 50/1

Miami Dolphins 55/1

Minnesota Vikings 50/1

New England Patriots 8/5

New Orleans Saints 14/1

New York Giants 30/1

New York Jets 38/1

Oakland Raiders 70/1

Philadelphia Eagles 18/1

Pittsburgh Steelers 25/1

San Diego Chargers 6/1

San Francisco 49ers 15/1

Seattle Seahawks 18/1

St.Louis Rams 40/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45/1

Tennessee Titans 50/1

Washington Redskins 40/1

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