Rams vs Chiefs 2011 NFL Preseason Week 3 Preview
The St. Louis Rams (2-0) should be pretty excited about their chances within the NFC West and on Friday, they will take on the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) in week 3 of the 2011 NFL Preseason. The Rams have added a few tools to their team, with an important one on offense. Unfortunately, the Rams will be without Michael Clayton, who is now with the New York Giants, but they did sign Mike Sims-Walker. Sims-Walker never reached his full potential in Jacksonville, but with a strong-armed quarterback; he will be able to use his speed to outrun defenders and be confident that the ball will be there when he turns around. Steven Jackson will continue to be a beast and the offense will still run through him. St. Louis is undefeated so far and that will certainly continue on Friday evening when they face a Kansas City Chiefs’ squad that only managed 13 points against the Ravens last week after being shut out by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the week before that.
The Chiefs led the league in rushing last season behind Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, but they were also rand 30th in the NFL in the passing game. That is expected to change this year, as the Chiefs have added former Arizona Cardinals WR Steve Breaston to play opposite Dwayne Bowe. Even though Thomas Jones is a year older and won’t take away as many carries from Charles as he did last year, Todd Haley has stated that he wants to play Dexter McCluster at running back as well this year, so expect to see McCluster get some work in against St. Louis.
This game will be a perfect test for the Rams though, as there are two main areas of concern on this team. Pass protection and run defense need to be addressed and what better way than to try and slow down the Chiefs rushing attack. I think the Rams can easily correct their pass issues. They didn’t game plan for Tennessee and the Titans threw a lot of blitzes and multiple front-seven looks at them. In the regular season, that wouldn’t be such an issue. Plus, not having Jacob Bell play and losing Rodger Saffold in the game hurt as well.
It was more disturbing the way that the Titans gashed the Rams defense with a third-string running back. I really believe the Rams defense can be a top ten defense in 2011. So, Saturday’s breakdowns were surprising. The Chiefs have two quality running backs in Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles, and Charles is a home run hitter who averaged a whopping 6.4 yards per carry in 2010. This will be a good test to see if last week was a fluke or if there are really serious issues on the St. Louis defense. Having veteran Ben Leber operating with the first unit will help as well, as he and Brady Poppinga will upgrade the Rams at outside linebacker.
Another reason why this is a good test for the Rams is because the Chiefs have been awful in the first two games. They’ve been outscored 61-13 in two losses and the offense has done nothing. I know Todd Haley will want to establish some momentum on Friday night, as this will be the last real tune up for his starters before the season opener on September 11th. It’s only an exhibition game but I think the Chiefs will be attaching some importance to their performance. I expect the Rams to answer the challenge and cover as 1.5-point road favorites.