The St Louis Rams are coming off an impressive performance against one of the best teams in the NFL. The New York Jets are still trying to figure out which quarterback should be under center. Will we see much of the same in Week 11 action? Let's take a closer look at why I like the Rams to come out on top.
This is an interesting point spread. In the look-ahead line, the books had the Rams favored by -2. I'm not sure if that was a sign of respect for what the Rams have done this year or an indictment of the Jets. It's likely a combination of both, but based on what happened in Week 10 it's no surprise it re-opened at -3 (odds from SBRforum). Money has come in on the Rams and you now have to lay some juice to get the key number, but I think they should be favored by more than a field goal here.
I have to lead this write-up with a special mention for new head coach Jeff Fisher. I loved the hire back in the offseason, but I think his impact has been even better than I could have imagined. Going into the 49ers game, he benched up and coming star CB Janoris Jenkins for violating team rules. He also suspended Chris Givens, but it was the Jenkins move that impressed me more. A team like St Louis is desperate to get as much of a competitive balance as they can and sitting him down certainly doesn't help that. It's these kinds of decisions that earn the respect of a football team - especially one that is so young.
They didn't come away with the win though even though they played well enough to get the "W". Normally I think such silver linings are overrated when looking ahead to subsequent weeks, but their effort and performance was clear affirmation that they have bought into what Fisher is selling. The game must have instilled a belief that they can play with anybody, which is important for a young tam on the rise. The added bonus was that this came on the road, a place where the Rams haven't fared so well this season.
Stick a Fork in the Jets
This might be a bit premature since I wrote off the Titans last week and that came back to bite me in the rear. Having said that, I'm not sure why a coach like Rex Ryan is getting a free pass here. At some point this Jets team needs to get blown up because their game plan isn't working.
I would start with the quarterback. I don't want to spend too much time on this circus, but I've been up on my soapbox for over three years saying Mark Sanchez needs to get put on the bench. The guy simply can't win in this league. I could care less that he was under center in back-to-back AFC Championship games because he sure wasn't Mr. Difference-Maker in those runs. Tim Tebow would be an even worse choice, but this organization put themselves in this mess so they have to go with what they got. If it were up to me I'd start Greg McElroy for the rest of the season and revamp this offense.
The sad thing about this team is that they had two weeks to prepare for the Seahawks game and they laid an absolute egg. Is it a bad thing to lose to Seattle in their house? No. But to not put up any points is pretty pathetic.
X's and O's
There isn't a whole lot separating these teams on paper. The defenes are remarkably similiar statistically ranking nearly identical in every meaningful category. The Rams are a bit better on third down, but it's not a drastic difference.
The issue I have match-up wise is the play of Mark Sanchez and the play-calling during the game. Bringing in Tebow does nothing but disrupt the timing and efficiency of an already bad offense. I say either feature him or don't, because the gimmick isn't working.
On the flip side how can you not love the play of Danny Amendola? I've watched this guy since he was a member of the Eagles and I didn't understand why they let him go when they did. He was a no-brainer choice for his season yardage prop and it's abundantly clear how much better this offense is when he's on the field. The comparisons to Wes Welker are legit.
I like the way Bradford plays at home and the running game continues to improve as the season unfolds. It might not be pretty at times, but I think the Rams can get even better as a team.
The Jets on the other hand are a team headed in the wrong direction. It's just a matter of time before the bottom falls out, if it hasn't already.
Give me the Rams at home at a fair number and I'll take it. The tie in San Francisco might be disappoiting, but I think they'll take it as a positive by the time the dust settles on Sunday.
NFL Pick: STL -3.