On the Beat: 5 questions about the Rams

We checked in with Howard Balzer, who has been a fixture on the St. Louis media scene for over 30 years as a writer and radio host, to get the inside track on the Rams.

1. How do you think these young Rams are going to react to this out-of-the-ordinary experience?

HB: “Hard to say. Getting there early in the week probably helped. Their young players have responded well all season, so my sense is it won’t be that much of a factor. It will be interesting to see how kicker Greg Zuerlein. His only missed field goals this season (three) came on the road at Miami on a windy day.


2. Who is the one Rams player most Patriots fans don’t know right now, but will by the end of the game on Sunday?

HB: “Wide receiver Chris Givens. He has a reception of at least 50 years in four consecutive games. Three have been long passes, and the other last week was a short pass and long run after the catch. Can the Patriots’ secondary limit the big plays?”

3. What’s the biggest weakness on the Rams’ offense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?

HB: “The left side of the offensive line is vulnerable. Left tackle Joe Barksdale and left guard Shelley Smith made the first starts of their career last week and while they were solid, the game was at home. Mostly, the Rams’ offense has had issues in the red zone and on third down.”

4. What’s the biggest weakness on the Rams’ defense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?

HB: “Rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins has a tendency to guess a lot, and he has given up big plays in recent games that have turned them in the opponent’s favor. He has great skills, but ventures away from the defensive plan. Safety play is spotty and that could mean a big day for Rob Gronkowski, depending on his health.”


5. Finally, Rams win on Sunday if….

HB: “The Rams take the ball away and score more touchdowns than field goals. They enter the game with 11 touchdowns and 18 field goals, a bad ratio. Through five games, the Rams had nine takeaways, but none in the last two games (losses to Miami and Green Bay).”

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