By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens have had a strong case of bad luck to say the least in 2015. After a controversial loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore will need to turn their attention to the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams are 4-5 and appear to be still in the hunt for a playoff berth. They picked up an impressive win against the Arizona Cardinals as well as wins against the Vikings, Browns, and 49ers.
Rams on Offense
The Rams have a lot of things going for them right now. That includes a good ol’ fashion quarterback controversy. Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher decided to make the change from Nick Foles, who was picked up from the Eagles via trade during the offseason, to Case Keenum. This change will go in effect against the Ravens, giving him a perfect opportunity to showcase his skills against a secondary with holes a mile long. Even with the difficulties on defense, it’s hard to imagine the Ravens having a tough time against Keenum. But with the way this season has gone, nothing should surprise anyone.
The bread and butter of the Rams offense rests in the legs of rookie sensation RB Todd Gurley. He’s been a man on a mission after tearing his ACL during his collegiate career. He’s not only silenced his critics, but he’s also making a run at offensive rookie of the year. He’ll have a tough go against a run defense ranked near the top in the NFL. Expect St. Louis to get him involved in the passing game in order to take advantage of his rare skill set.
Rams on Defense
The Rams possess one of the more aggressive units in the NFL. The Bears didn’t seem to believe that was the case when they put up 37 points against the unit, but that is simply an aberration. Baltimore shouldn’t expect to have the same kind of success Chicago did. But if they want to follow the Bears blueprint, that would mean getting their tight ends and running backs involved in the passing game, something Flacco has no trouble doing given the erratic play of his receivers. Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams both played extremely well in a losing effort against Jacksonville. The Ravens coaching staff will feel comfortable implementing them in the gameplan.
Justin Forsett, unlike last Sunday, will need to be more involved in the gameplan against a very aggressive unit. If Baltimore can have success in the ground game, the play action pass will be a lethal weapon that the Ravens can use at any given moment.
Rams Players to Watch
Is there any question who the player to watch is on offense? Baltimore should have two players watching Todd Gurley at all times. If they keep an eye off of him for a second, it could spell doom for the Ravens defense. Even if they pay close attention to the rookie, it may not be good enough. It’s just the type of player he is. Fans are in for a treat.
Robert Quinn can be a nightmare for quarterbacks if he isn’t attacked correctly.He can be as relentless as they come when it comes to pass rushing on 3rd downs. But his ability to stop the run on 1st and 2nd down should not be underestimated. As mentioned earlier, getting the tight ends involved in the passing game is a pretty good idea against this defense. But if Eugene Monroe can’t get the job done on his own, Marc Trestman may ask his tight ends and running backs to stay in and help block. That’ll play right into the Rams hands.
This is one of those games that can go either way. The Rams are struggling on offense, especially at the quarterback position. The Ravens can’t seem to stop anyone this season. But with the way the 2015 campaign has gone for the Ravens, they may be facing another close game with not so fun results.
Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.