After coming off an unconvincing win at home to the Jets, the Patriots are expected to make amends from the poor defensive performance. Tom Brady, as expected, has consistently performed well and with his composure and leadership, especially this season, saved New England from several defeats.
The Patriots main issue this season is of course their young and inexperienced secondary. Their corners lack game knowledge and consistently fail to perform fundamental defensive skills. They were slow off the mark against the Jets, who themselves are under performing to the say the least this season, and if the Patriots are to make a play off run, their secondary needs to improve.
The Rams meanwhile have exceeded expectations and were able to win a few games before losing Danny Amendola. Sam Bradford has since still struggled with the lack of elite receiving ability whilst the Rams ever useless offensive line always leave Bradford battered, bruised and vulnerable to big hits.
The Rams however possess the running ability of Stephen Jackson and he has, in a similar fashion to Brady, kept his team in several games.
The London game holds much promise despite the two teams identified weaknesses. I expect the Rams receiving corp to commit to scoring plays in their attempts to redeem themselves and where better to do so then in London with arguable one of the worst secondary’s in the league? Stephen Jackson, after running for only 57 yards against the Packers last week should also be looking forward to the occasion.
It is perhaps his last season with the Rams and Sunday’s game against the Patriots is a turning point for the Rams, who are currently 3-4.
The Patriots though may simply be too strong for the Rams defence. Despite several upgrades during the off-season with Jenkins, Finnegan and Brockers I cannot see them managing the Patriots dual tight end threat of Gronkowski (6”6, 19 stone) and Hernandez (6”2, 18 stone).
Despite their offensive presence, the Patriots defence is vulnerable to Jackson’s running ability if he gets the blocks and protection from the Rams frontline. The Rams defensive line performed exceptionally well against the Packers, losing only 54 yards on the ground but they may be due to the influence of Rodgers, nonetheless they need to be sharp on Sunday with little Danny Woodhead (5”7, 14 stone) on the field. All I can say is expect the unexpected.
Running game or no running game, this will definitely be a game of quarterback possession. Bradford will be looking forward to exploit the Patriots poor coverage whilst Brady will try and work his magic in the pocket with Walker, Gronkowski and Hernandez at his disposal. Although Michael Brockers and the ever improving Rams linebackers will be ready to pounce on any mishaps from the Patriots offensive line the Rams will need to buckle up and play at a fast tempo and execute on every opportunity they get.
If anyone is going to Wembley, be ready for a quality game of football.
New England Patriots play St. Louis Rams on the 28th October at Wembley Stadium.
Author: Joshua Jalal