Sunday, October 28, 2012

Gameday Deciding Factors: Patriots at (vs.) Rams


The New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams are hurricane-free this weekend, facing off at Wembley Stadium in London in the NFL's annual "International Series" game in Europe.

The Patriots are coming off a high-intensity AFC East victory over the New York Jets that took extra time to accomplish. The Rams, on the other hand, look to end a two-game losing streak that followed a 3-2 start.


One dimension off the bat. The Patriots are holding opposing rushing offenses to 3.3 yards a carry, tied for lowest in the league. That, coupled with the Rams' struggling run game will make St. Louis one-dimensional offensively. That's not necessarily a bad thing for the Rams, as they're up against a porous New England secondary.

Centerfield focus. The Rams boast a formidable secondary, particularly at cornerback. Also, St. Louis is young and hungry up front, and its defensive line will be after Tom Brady on a regular basis. The Patriots will neutralize that combination with middle-of-the-field passes to Rob Gronkowski.

Familiar trip. New England made the England trip in 2009, so it is familiar with the feel of this game. According to the team's website, the Patriots went with their usual travel schedule. St. Louis, on the other hand, hasn't played overseas and spend the whole week in Europe to get acclimated in preparation for the international game. Advantage Patriots.

Schotty playcalling. Former Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is now calling plays for Sam Bradford's Rams, so you can bet Bill Belichick will look to exploit all of Schotty's tendencies. Belichick ran the Patriots' defense through the entirety of Schottenheimer's tenure in New York. (Photo:  Kris Robinson)
A week in Patriots posts at AFC East Daily:

Week 8 AFC East game picks: Patriots at (vs.) Rams

Bradford well aware of Patriots' turnover abilities

England trip a family affair for some Patriots

Around-the-Web AFC East power rankings - Week 8

Pats knew Ninkovich would come through vs. Jets