Sunday, October 28, 2012

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

Lead writer Nick St. Denis and AFC East Daily contributors Dan Begnoche, Sean Donovan and Sam Hollingsworth pick the New England Patriots' meeting in England with the St. Louis Rams.

Nick's take:
The Rams are the latest team to get the shaft in the NFL's "International Series," as they'll lose a home game in traveling to England to face the Patriots and their top-ranked offense. St. Louis is decent at cornerback and hungry on the defensive front, and the Patriots haven't been overly impressive at wideout. However, Brady still has tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez to tear up the middle of the field, and New England's opportunistic defense will neutralize Sam Bradford. Plus, Steven Jackson has struggled at tailback, and the Patriots' run defense is among the best in the league.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Rams 10

Dan's take:
While questions have arose about the effectiveness of New England's passing defense of late, the Rams' defense may be under a bigger microscope in this overseas match. St. Louis will have its hands full with Tom Brady and a Patriots' offense that's tallied more than 350 yards in 16 consecutive games and is averaging 31 points a game, especially given their own troubles accumulating yards and points on the board. For this game to be close, Jackson, who has been invisible so far this season, will need to step up to keep his team from being one-dimensional against a Patriots squad that feeds off of turnovers.
Prediction: Patriots 27, Rams 17

Sean's take:
Opponents have had great success attacking New England's secondary so far this season, but St. Louis' terrible receiving corps will hinder their ability to exploit that weakness. That, combined with the fact that the Patriots are quietly fielding one of the league's stingiest run defenses, will make it tough going for the upstart Rams. New England cruises to a comfortable victory in Old England.
Prediction: Patriots 27, Rams 13

Sam's take:
The Rams have a few pretty impressive wins under their belts (Redskins, Seahawks, and Cardinals), including two teams that have already beat the Patriots this season. Obviously, being the “home team” doesn’t offer much of an advantage to the Rams, especially considering the popularity of the Patriots overseas. But, on the field, where the game is played, we’ll see Brady’s Patriots try to get back into a consistent, full-game rhythm that won’t end in a nail-biting scenario for the first time in a few weeks.
Prediction: Patriots 38, Rams 20