coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
On 09/30/2013 04:26 PM in NFL

Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams: Preview and Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams: Preview and Pick

The Jacksonville Jaguars is one of the worst teams in the National Football League, so they are not expected to win many games this year. However in week five of the NFL schedule they go up against the St. Louis Rams who have been equally as disappointing.

Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Rams listed as (-10.5) point favorites. Although the Rams have not been very good this season, this line shows just how bad the Jaguars are this year. However the public is buying into the Jaguars this week with over 60 percent of the early wagers coming in on the pathetic Jaguars. Despite the overload on Jacksonville, the line has actually moved in the favor of the Rams and can now be found at (-11) at some of the top rated sportsbooks.

If the Rams want to win and cover the number they will have to run the ball better. The Rams were held to 18 rushing yards, the fewest in a game by a team this season. The Rams hadn't been held to 18 rushing yards or fewer as a team since 2008 Week 12. Sam Bradford was 19 for 41 for 202 yards and an interception and has been sacked 11 times the last two games after the Rams allowed none the previous four games.

Jacksonville is 0-4 for the third time in franchise history. The team has never started 0-5, but that could change when they travel to St. Louis. The Jags looked bad and lost another starter.

Tight end Marcedes Lewis made his season debut, but ended up back in street clothes after just a few plays. Lewis re-injured his left calf, which kept him sidelined most of the preseason and the first three games. The Jags will need some miracles to get more than one win this season.

The NFL betting trends on these two teams reveal just how bad they actually are. Jacksonville is 0-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last 5 games on the road and the total has gone over in 4 of Jacksonville's last 6 games on the road. St. Louis is 2-5 straight up in its last 7 games at home, but they are just 1-6 ATS in the last seven games at home. The total has gone over in 6 of St. Louis's last 7 games at home but with a bad Jacksonville offense, the total could be hard to reach.

Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0
coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
10/01/2013 03:12 PM

The Jacksonville Jaguars are on pace to be historically awful. They’ve been defeated by an average of 24.5 points during their 0-4 start, which is nine more points per game than Detroit was outscored by in its winless 2008 season.

About 400 miles to the west, the Alabama Crimson Tide appear to be rolling toward a third-straight national championship game.

If ever there was a year where the best college football team could beat the worst NFL team, this would be it, right?

Not even close.

According to John Ewing of Prediction Machine, the woeful Jags would beat the powerful Crimson Tide in 91% of games on a neutral field. The average score of the simulations is 32-13 in favor of the Jags. In other words, Jacksonville beats Alabama by about the same margin as Alabama beats Colorado State.

Interestingly, the Jaguars only had a 5% chance of beating Seattle during the team’s Week 3 game at CenturyLink Field, meaning Jacksonville had less of a chance to beat an NFL team than Alabama would at beating Jacksonville. So though it’s far-fetched for an NFL also-ran to lose to an NCAA powerhouse, there’s still a slight chance it could happen. If every dog has its day, why can’t Blaine Gabbert?

Ewing ran some other numbers to get context on how bad the 2013 Jaguars are. He found that in a matchup between this team and the expansion Jaguars from 1995, the expansion team would win 65% of the time. Impressively, Jacksonville is somehow worse than it was as an NFL newbie

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0
coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
10/01/2013 03:14 PM

It’s a distinction no team would be happy to have, but it’s hard to imagine any two teams played worse last week during Week 4 NFL action than the St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars did in losses to the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts.

The Rams were hoping to show a national TV audience on Thursday Night Football that they were indeed worthy of the high praise as one of the league’s top up-and-coming teams that they received during the offseason.

Instead, St. Louis was exposed as not ready for primetime in a 35-11 loss to the Niners. And Jacksonville was just pummeled by the Colts, 37-3.

This Sunday, the Rams and Jags will meet at the Edward Jones Dome in a matchup of teams with just one win between them; it will provide the victors the chance to believe that they’ve righted their ship, while the loser will continue to march down a path that could lead to the worst record in the league.

And if the Rams were to lose to the Jacksonville, there would be little reason to believe they won’t finish the year with the worst record in the league, and vice versa.

- Jacksonville on Offense
Through four games, the Jags have the worst offense in the league.

They rank 30th in pass offense (175.0 yards/game), 32nd in rushing (49.0 yards/game), and are the lowest scoring team in the league as well (7.75 points/game).

Last week, Jacksonville managed just 205 yards against the Colts, with quarterback (and native St. Louisan) Blaine Gabbert passing for just 165 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions.

The run game continued to be atrocious as well, with veteran Maurice Jones-Drew—once considered the best back in the league—carrying the ball 13 times and gaining just 23 yards.

And though leading receiver Cecil Shorts III caught seven passes for 61 yards last week. This season he’s been targeted 52 times and caught just 26 balls for 337 yards.

- Jacksonville on Defense
Defensively, the numbers aren’t quite as bad for the Jags, who rank 23rd in overall defense and are a respectable 11th in the league in pass defense.

But part of the reason Jacksonville hasn’t given up as many passing yards as some other teams is because the Jags have by far the worst run defense in the league, which allows 164.2 yards/game.

The second-worst rushing defense in the league belongs to the Washington Redskins, and they “only” give up 142.2 yards/game.

If Jacksonville could hold an opponent to that “low” a number, Jags fans would probably consider that a win.

Jacksonville’s best player on defense is middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, who ranks second in the league with 40 total tackles.

- Recent History
Sunday’s meeting will mark just the fourth time the Rams and Jaguars have met in regular season action.

St. Louis leads the all-time series 2-1, with each team winning the games played at their home stadiums.

The last meeting between the Rams and Jags was in 2009, when Jacksonville won 23-20 in overtime.

The two previous games in St. Louis went to the Rams (17-14 in 1996 and 24-21 in 2005).

- Outlook
If the Rams can’t handle the team that, at the first quarter-pole of the season, looks to be the worst team in the league, in a game at home, following an embarrassing loss on national television to its arch-rivals, then it might be time to consider firing everyone.

From the head coach and general manager to the guy selling popcorn in section 417, if the Rams can’t get a win against Jacksonville, then everybody’s head will be on the proverbial chopping block.

With 10 days to prepare though, St. Louis figures to find the right formula and get back on track against the Jaguars.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0
coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
10/02/2013 02:10 PM

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON OFFENSE

QB Sam Bradford:
Bradford leads the NFL in passing attempts but ranks last in average gain per pass attempt (6.01 yards). That means the Rams are throwing a lot of short passes and trying to work underneath. Bradford has mostly been solid, completing 59 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

WR Tavon Austin:
The rookie speedster from West Virginia was viewed as one of the most electrifying players in the draft, and he has caught 20 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He’s only averaging 6.2 yards per catch, hardly the big-time playmaker the Rams thought they were getting.

TE Jared Cook:
He’s another player who was supposed to flourish this season, and he has caught 17 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns in four games. He’s a big target (6-5, 248) who can run. That’s a bad matchup for the Jaguars, who have struggled covering tight ends this season.

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON DEFENSE

DE Chris Long:
The former No. 2 overall pick led the Rams in sacks (11.5) and QB hurries (50) in 2012 but has amassed just seven tackles and half of a sack in four games this season. The defense has struggled -- giving up 30 or more points in three consecutive games -- and Long called the performance “disgusting.” The 6-foot-3, 270-pound Long is the Rams’ left defensive end, which means he’ll be lining up against Jaguars rookie right tackle Luke Joeckel.

CB Janoris Jenkins:
Jenkins make a splash as a rookie in 2012, making 73 tackles, knocking down 14 passes, and returning three of his four interceptions for touchdowns. The Rams are playing more soft zone coverage this season, which doesn’t allow for Jenkins to do what he does best: cover guys one-on-one.

LB Alec Ogletree:
The 6-2, 242-pound rookie from Georgia has already forced two fumbles and knocked down two passes. He also leads the team with 31 tackles.

ETC.

When teams trimmed their rosters to 53 in late August, the Rams had the NFL’s youngest roster with an average age of 24.98. … The Rams have beaten the Jaguars both times the game has been played in the Edward Jones Dome. … Fisher is third among active coaches with 150 career victories. He trails only New England’s Bill Belichick (190) and Denver’s Mike Shanahan (168). New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin is one victory behind Fisher. … St. Louis and Cleveland are the only two teams that have yet to score a rushing touchdown this season.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0
coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
10/02/2013 02:11 PM

The Jacksonville Jaguars' trade of offensive tackle Eugene Monroe to the Baltimore Ravens for multiple draft picks, first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is likely to be the first of numerous moves involving some of the team’s high-profile players in the next several months.

The 2013 season was going to be a wash anyway, but now that it appears the Jaguars are headed for what could be a historically bad season, general manager Dave Caldwell is turning his attention toward the 2014 season and beyond.

In trading Monroe, who is in the final year of his contract, the Jaguars at least get something for a player they apparently had no desire to re-sign. Draft picks, even late-round ones, are valuable commodities for a team that needs a near complete roster overhaul before it can even be competitive. Whether the team uses those picks for bottom-of-the-roster players or packages them to move up or down, Caldwell is giving himself some flexibility in next May’s draft.

And he’s likely not finished. The Jaguars haven’t played well and weren’t likely to win more than a couple of games, so why not essentially blow the team up now and get a head start on 2014 and 2015? There are several other veteran players who could be traded: guard Uche Nwaneri and running back Maurice Jones-Drew, for example.

Nwaneri signed a five-year extension reportedly worth $24 million in 2010. He, along with center Brad Meester and guard Will Rackley, has struggled this season, although Nwaneri and Rackley are dealing with knee injuries. Jones-Drew is in the final year of his contract and is unlikely to be re-signed.

Tight end Marcedes Lewis, who has played only two snaps this season because of a calf injury, also could be a target. Lewis signed a five-year contract worth $35 million ($17 million guaranteed) in 2011.

Not one of those players, all of whom are 28 or older, is in the team’s long-term plans. If Caldwell can get anything substantive for them, it’s almost a no-brainer. It’s not going to be easy to watch the product on the field, but everything now is about 2014 and 2015.

As for what the Monroe trade means on the field right now, it’s time to welcome first-round pick Luke Joeckel to left tackle. That’s where he played at Texas A&M, but he was moved to right tackle once he arrived in Jacksonville.

Cameron Bradfield, a third-year player the team signed as an undrafted rookie in 2011, likely moves into the starting spot at right tackle. He started 12 games there last season.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0
coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
10/02/2013 02:13 PM

Asked about his matchup for this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long offered the normal show of respect for presumptive Jaguars right tackle Luke Joeckel.

Within hours, that potential matchup changed dramatically as Jacksonville dealt left tackle Eugene Monroe to Baltimore for draft picks with the intent to shift Joeckel to the left side. The Jaguars have two options to move into the right tackle spot: Cameron Bradfield, an undrafted free agent from 2011 with 12 starts at the position, and Austin Pasztor, who started three games at left guard in 2012 but is listed as the backup at right tackle.

In moving back to the left side, Joeckel figures to get comfortable a bit faster given that was his primary position in college at Texas A&M. In the first four weeks, Pro Football Focus had rated Joeckel slightly above average as a pass blocker but well below it in the run game. They have him down for allowing three sacks and 11 hurries in the first quarter of the season.

Now, Joeckel will draw Rams end Robert Quinn instead of Long, a difficult assignment considering Quinn's production this season. Quinn is one of the highest-rated 4-3 defensive ends in the league and leads the Rams with five sacks.

On the other side, this week could provide an opportunity for Long to get rolling. Slowed by an injury in the first few weeks, he's posted a half sack and Pro Football Focus has him down for two quarterback hits and eight hurries.

Bradfield is probably the most likely replacement because of his experience playing tackle. He has played just four snaps this season, far from a big enough sample size to draw any conclusions. He played a lot in 2012, though, and allowed six sacks, nine hits and 21 hurries in his dozen starts.

Pasztor has less experience than Bradfield, allowing a sack, two hits and five hurries in his three starts at left guard last season.

Entering the season, the Rams had hoped their pass rush would again be the driving force for the defense. It was just that in Week 1 and in the second half of Week 2 but they need more consistency from that group moving forward. The subtraction of Monroe, who was Jacksonville's best lineman, guarantees nothing but it certainly can't hurt.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0
coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
10/03/2013 01:37 PM

Several of Justin Blackmon's teammates said they were excited about seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars receiver on the practice field Wednesday for the first time this season.

That’s not even close to what Blackmon is feeling.

"I’m probably more excited than anybody," Blackmon said. "I’m just ready to get it going."

Blackmon hasn’t practiced with his teammates since Aug. 28, the day before the team’s final preseason game, because he was serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. NFL rules allowed him to attend meetings and work out at the facility but he was barred from practicing.

Blackmon has added eight pounds of muscle and said he’s in the best shape of his career. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert was impressed when he and Blackmon spent some time playing catch on Tuesday.

"It was nice to get back out on our own team’s facility yesterday and throw to one of our guys," Gabbert said. "It was great work and he looked great. He’s in the best shape I’ve seen him in. He’s really worked hard with our strength staff and the trainers to get his body where he wants it to be so he can come in and play right away."

The Jaguars certainly need Blackmon’s help. They are averaging just 7.8 points and 175.0 passing yards per game. They’ve been out-scored 75-8 in the first half and have thrown only one touchdown pass in four games.

Cecil Shorts has caught 26 passes for 337 yards, but the bulk of that has come in the second half when the games have already been decided. Defenses have shut him down in the first half. Having Blackmon, who had a team-high 64 catches for 865 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie last season, means defenses cannot focus on just stopping Shorts any longer.

"He’s definitely going to help our offense because he’s an explosive player and very, very fun to play with," Shorts said.

Bradley said he was impressed with the way Blackmon handled himself during the suspension. The two talked regularly and Blackmon did everything Bradley and the team asked him to do, whether it was working in the community or working out at the facility, and stayed out of trouble.

"I’m very glad to be back," Blackmon said. "It was very frustrating just sitting there watching the team play."

But the pressure remains on Blackmon because another violation of the substance abuse policy means a year’s suspension.

"The challenge is still there though," Bradley said. "The competition for him to get better during those four weeks was asked of him; now continue. But he’s been awesome.

"He’s heading in the right direction so we are optimistic."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0
coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
10/03/2013 01:38 PM

Luke Joeckel has always been a left tackle. Never played another position in high school and at Texas A&M. Never thought he'd ever be anything but one.

Now, six months after the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him with the No. 2 overall pick last April, he finally is one in the NFL.

Joeckel was moved back to his natural position from right tackle on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the Jaguars reached an agreement with the Baltimore Ravens to trade starting left tackle Eugene Monroe for fourth- and fifth-round draft picks in 2014. It's a welcome switch for the 6-foot-6, 303-pound Joeckel, who had struggled a bit at right tackle.

"My entire football career I've always been on the left side. That's just what I'm comfortable with," Joeckel said. "I tried to get adjusted to the right side through this time, though OTAs, and through training camp. It's going to be nice going over there and playing on the left side."

The Jaguars put Joeckel at right tackle because Monroe, the eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft, had never played right tackle and had played well in 2012. The hope was to mimic what the San Francisco 49ers did with Joe Staley and Anthony Davis, who was a left tackle at Rutgers but is the 49ers' right tackle.

But Monroe apparently wasn't a good fit in the Jaguars' zone-blocking scheme. He hadn't played as well this season as he did in 2012 and was in the final year of his contract, so general manager Dave Caldwell opted to get something for a player he obviously didn't have in his long-range plan. Having a replacement left tackle already on the roster made the decision easier.

Joeckel never complained about playing right tackle, but he wasn't thrilled. It wasn't an easy transition, either. Everything he's done for his entire career had to be reversed, which sounds simple but takes time to adjust.

"I had to embrace the position I was in," Joeckel said. "I wanted to go out there and I wanted to be perfectly comfortable with playing right tackle and be the best player I could be for my team but it was definitely a challenge."

Joeckel worked at left tackle during the team's morning walk-through Wednesday and coach Gus Bradley said he got beat once but otherwise looked pretty good during the afternoon practice.

"I think the bright side for him to be over there [is] it's back to his natural position and I know he's excited about it," Bradley said. "He obviously thinks the world of Eugene. Eugene helped him tremendously but you could sense some excitement for Luke, as well."

Even though he's back on the left side, Joeckel said there will be an adjustment period after spending the first six months of his pro career on the right side. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert says he understands that and isn't worried, even though he has been sacked 10 times in his two starts.

"Luke is going to do a great job. I have all the confidence in the world and this team's got all the confidence in the world in Luke playing the left side," Gabbert said. "But it's going to be a change. We're going to have to get a lot of reps in practice to catch up on the missed time.

"It's a process. Eugene was my blindside guy for the last three years and he did a great job, he kept me upright. It's part of the business, it's a tough deal but at the end of the day I trust that Dave (Caldwell) and Gus (Bradley) will make the best decisions for this football team."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0
coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
10/03/2013 01:39 PM

Four games into the season, the St. Louis Rams have tried almost every possibility on the roster in the on-going effort to replace running back Steven Jackson.

Daryl Richardson has been the primary starter. Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham have gotten repetitions as the backup. The three have found little success and the result has been a running game that ranks last in the NFL, averaging a little more than 47 yards per game.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher indicated last week that the team would make some adjustments to try to get the run game going.

They can by giving rookie Zac Stacy an opportunity.

“I think Zac’s done a really good job since he’s been here,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “He’s a very talented runner. He’s a powerful guy. He’s got great vision. He makes cuts in the hole that are quick and decisive, so I’m excited to see him out there.”

After the whole Richardson/Twitter incident happened Tuesday night into Wednesday afternoon, the Rams aren’t tipping their hand on which of the four running backs will make the start. Fisher indicated the team would opt for a committee approach this week.

That’s fine but it seems as though it’s time for Stacy to at least lead the committee. He’s getting ready as though the chance will be his.

“Right now we don’t know who is starting for sure,” Stacy said. “The only thing I’m doing is just preparing my butt off for the week. Hopefully the decision will be made later in the week. All the backs, we all prepare the same, we all get the same amount of situations in practice. We’ll all be ready.”

To be sure, there aren’t many backs in the league that would have much success playing behind the Rams' offensive line the past four weeks.

At the same time, none of the backs that have had opportunities has done much with the chances they have had. Defenders missing tackles have been few and far between and yards after contact have been kept to a minimum.

It may be a case of going with the devil you don’t know versus the one that you do but at this point, the Rams have little to lose by giving Stacy an opportunity.

The rookie from Vanderbilt has just one carry for 4 yards (in the opener against Arizona) to his name and was inactive in Weeks 2 and 3.

If nothing else, Stacy brings knowledge of a pro-style offense not too different from the one he played in with the Commodores and an understanding of all the little things he has to have to start and stay on the field after.

Of course, he’s far from a finished product and he’ll have his share of growing pains as he adjusts to the NFL.

“(It’s) really just being able to think fast,” Stacy said. “Obviously pass protection, staying in tune with that and just doing all the little things. At this level, it’s all about details to the T.”

One way to stay on the field would be to provide something resembling decent pass protection for Bradford.

All four backs have a negative grade from Pro Football Focus in pass blocking though Stacy’s is closest to neutral, in no small part because of a small sample size. But Stacy had a reputation as a good pass=blocker coming out of college and his improvement in that regard is more linked to learning assignments than a willingness to do it.

That’s just one example of the little details Stacy hopes can earn him a chance.

“Playing this position at this level is all about versatility, just being able to not only run but pass block, catch routes out of the backfield,” Stacy said. “That’s one of the things I want to bring to the table.”

It’s unrealistic to expect Stacy to step in and be a savior for the Rams running game. He may not run for 100 yards or rip off big gains every carry but it’s not about a drastic turnaround. For now, the Rams just need to find something serviceable and go from there.

Whether Stacy can provide it remains to be seen but it’s his turn to try.

“Whenever my name is called I’ll just take advantage of the opportunity,” Stacy said.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0
coleryan Posts:12148 Followers:20
10/04/2013 01:23 PM

After a pair of ugly defeats, Jeff Fisher insists his staff can get the reeling St. Louis Rams back on track.

Perhaps a date with a Jacksonville Jaguars team already looking to the future can provide a good start.

The Rams hope to avoid their first four-game losing streak in Fisher's tenure Sunday when they attempt to deal the visiting Jaguars a 10th straight defeat.

Following a 35-11 loss to San Francisco on Sept. 26, St. Louis (1-3) has dropped consecutive contests by a combined 66-18 margin. They're the worst back-to-back defeats by a Fisher-coached club since 2009 when Tennessee lost to Indianapolis 31-9 and New England 59-0 a week later.

"We found out where our team is and what we need to do and where we need improve on,'' Fisher said. "We've got a lot of work to do as a staff."

Since completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 651 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions in his first two games, quarterback Sam Bradford has connected on just 53.9 percent of his attempts for 442 yards with two scores and one pick in his last two.

The Rams' struggling offensive line has been partly to blame, as they've allowed 11 sacks in the last two games after yielding none in the first two.

The offensive front hasn't paved the way in the running game, either. St. Louis ranks last in the NFL with 47.3 rushing yards per game after finishing with 18 yards on 19 carries against the 49ers.

Following the departure of Steven Jackson in the offseason, Daryl Richardson has a team-leading 114 yards while averaging only 2.7 yards per carry. Only the Jaguars (0-4) are averaging fewer yards per carry (2.3) than the Rams' 2.6.

Richardson indicated on his Twitter account that he will not be in the starting lineup Sunday. Isaiah Pead and Zac Stacy are the top candidates for the spot, though Fisher said he has not made a decision.

"The biggest thing is we've got to keep trying to rush the ball,'' Bradford said. "Just getting those guys comfortable running the ball.''

The Rams will try to avoid their first four-game skid under Fisher as they face a Jacksonville team that allows a league-worst 164.3 rushing yards per game and the third-highest scoring average at 32.3.

Coming off a 37-3 loss to Indianapolis - their franchise-worst ninth straight defeat and 16th in 17 games - the Jaguars made a made a move toward the future Wednesday by trading starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to Baltimore for undisclosed draft picks.

The Jaguars will move second overall pick Luke Joeckel, who started the first four games at right tackle, to the left side.

"It came out of nowhere for me," said Monroe, the eighth overall pick in the 2009 draft. "I'm just preparing to make the move. It's a fresh start."

Even with Monroe, the Jaguars had a difficult time finding any kind of spark offensively. They've scored a league-low 31 points and rank last in total offense with 224.0 yards per game - 50.8 fewer than 31st-ranked Tampa Bay.

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who missed the previous two games because of a hand injury, threw three interceptions against the Colts, though all of them bounced off receivers' hands.

Leading receiver Cecil Shorts has three drops in his last two games. Though he has a league-leading 52 targets, Shorts has 26 receptions for 337 yards.

Justin Blackmon might be able to provide a lift as he makes his season debut following a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Blackmon caught a team-high 64 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie.

The Jaguars are also only slightly ahead of St. Louis with 49.0 rushing yards per game despite having three-time All-Pro Maurice Jones-Drew in their backfield.

Jones-Drew is averaging 2.4 yards per attempt after managing 23 yards on 13 carries Sunday.

"It's been pretty tough,'' Jones-Drew said. "It's been the same every year, though. People load the box when they play us. We just have to go back to what we do best and that's all of us getting back on the same page and running the ball with a mindset of let's get it going.''

Jones-Drew might be able to find some holes against the banged-up Rams, who have allowed 412 yards on the ground the past two weeks. St. Louis also has lost safety T.J. McDonald for at least six weeks with a broken right leg, while cornerback Cortland Finnegan and linebacker Will Witherspoon are day-to-day with hamstring injuries.

The Rams brought in some help by signing outside linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who was waived at the beginning of a four-game suspension to start the season.

Jones-Drew ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns in Jacksonville's 23-20 overtime win over St. Louis in 2009.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 5-5-0