coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 10/29/2013 06:57 PM in NFL

Tennessee Titans at St. Louis Rams: Preview and Pick

Tennessee Titans at St. Louis Rams: Preview and Pick

The St. Louis Rams battled the Seattle Seahawks on a big Monday Night Football stage and had the chance to pull off one of the biggest upsets ever in the National Football League. However the Seahawks defense held on fourth and goal from the one yard line to avoid the upset. The Rams will now have to try and regroup on a short week as they host the Tennessee Titans who are off a bye and well rested entering week nine of the schedule.

Tennessee Titans at St. Louis Rams Odds

The NFL point spread for this game opened up with the Titans as three point favorites. Regardless of how well the Rams played on national television it did not sway the football betting fans as over 70 percent of the early wagers are on the Titans. This line can still be found at a field goal but it could increase as we get closer to the Kickoff. Make sure to monitor the lines at your favorite top rated online sportsbook.

Despite the loss the Rams did not look bad at all. The Rams were forced to settle for a field goal on their first three trips to the red zone Monday and were denied the go-ahead touchdown on the final drive of the game. Kellen Clemens completed 3-of-8 passes (38%) for 11 yards in the red zone. The Seahawks have allowed the lowest completion percentage (31.6%) and Total QBR (1.7) in the NFL on plays in the red zone this season. Clemens will not play against a defense that is that tough when he faces the Titans which could affect the outcome of this game.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveals that both teams have some negative betting angles going into this game. The Titans are 7-23-1 ATS in their last 31 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game, 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game, and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games when playing a team with a losing home record. The Rams are 20-43-2 ATS in their last 65 games after allowing less than 150 yards passing in their previous game, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games when playing a team with a losing road record.

Tennessee Titans 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.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/30/2013 12:10 PM

After the Rams won successive games over Houston and Jacksonville, they were ranked as one of the best red-zone teams in the NFL, scoring touchdowns 66.7 percent of the time (12-for-18) and ranked third.

However, the pendulum has swung the opposite way the last two weeks, and the result has been losses to Carolina and Seattle. Two failures in the first half against the Panthers, including one where a fourth-down play came up short, led to the Rams trailing 17-5 at halftime and eventually losing 30-15.

Monday night against the Seahawks, the Rams reached the red zone four times, settling for three field goals and then being unable to score the winning touchdown on two plays from the Seattle 1-yard line.

The Rams dropped to 17th in the NFL, converting 52 percent.

"It's frustrating," said quarterback Kellen Clemens, who started in place of the injured Sam Bradford. "That's the difference in the game. They scored two touchdowns, we got three field goals. We'll have to be better. I thought we had a good plan going into the game. I just think we need to execute a little better when we're down there."

Said coach Jeff Fisher, "First off, Kellen's first attempt at it, and so that's going to be a reason. I'll just have to go back to Houston being (No.) 1, Carolina being (No.) 3 and Seattle being (No.) 2 in the league in defense. That makes it hard, so that's something we're going to continue to work on."

The Rams ran 13 plays from the red zone, gaining 13 yards. Clemens was 4-for-8 for 11 yards and was sacked for a 6-yard loss. The running game totaled eight yards on four attempts.

In the final possession, which began on their own 3-yard line, running back Zac Stacy got the Rams out of a hole with runs of eight and 18 yards, giving him 134 for the game on 26 carries. Those would be the last yards he gained in the game because of an ankle injury.

His replacement, Daryl Richardson caught a pass for eight yards and had runs of five and 10 yards sandwiched around completions to Chris Givens and Lance Kendricks for 21 and 18 yards. The 10-yard Richardson got the ball to the 6-yard line and he got to the 2 on second down. A Seattle offside penalty moved the ball to the 1, where Richardson was stuffed officially for no gain on third down, but actually lost about three-quarters of a yard.

On fourth down, Stacy re-entered the game, but went in motion, leaving an empty backfield. The Seahawks pressured, and Clemens threw quickly to an unsuspecting wide receiver Brian Quick, who never had a chance to make the catch.

Outgaining Seattle 339-135 and with 23 first downs to the Seahawks' seven, the Rams exited with a loss.

As Clemens said about the final drive, "There was such a great sense of resolve in the huddle as soon as I walked in there. Everybody knew, nobody really had to say anything, everybody just knew, 'Hey this is it, this is go time, let's go make the plays.' We gave ourselves the chance to win at the end, unfortunately didn't make the plays ... "We needed 97 yards and got 96."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/30/2013 12:13 PM

The second half of an up-and-down 2013 NFL season will begin for the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, when they’ll host the Tennessee Titans at the Edward Jones Dome in a matchup of young teams still trying to find their footing this season.

Like the Rams, Tennessee’s season has had some really high peaks (the Titans began the year by winning three of their first four games), and some very low valleys (the Titans are currently on a three-game losing streak).

And what’s made that low point last even longer is Tennessee, which will hit town on Sunday with a 3-4 record, is the Titans have had to stew over their losing streak for nearly two weeks since they had their bye last week.

“Shame on us,” Tennessee safety Bernard Pollard told The Tennessean, following that 31-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers back on October 20. “It is fun when you are sitting on that horse, and you are riding. That is so fun. When you get knocked off that horse, we have to figure out a way to get back on it. We haven’t been playing good, and we continue to beat ourselves. Something has to change.”

- Tennessee on Offense

On offense, the Titans rank 27th overall, which is sixth-worst in the entire league, in total yards gained.

Much of that problem has stemmed from a passing game that ranks 25th overall, despite the strong start to the season had by quarterback Jake Locker, who threw six touchdown passes and no interceptions in Tennessee’s first four games.

Locker, who has eight touchdowns and 1,047 yards this season, was injured for the better part of three games, and backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick—a former Ram—played terribly, with four INTs in two-and-a-half games as Locker’s replacement.

At running back, Tennessee features one of the most explosive players in the league in Chris Johnson, but he hasn’t really had many break out moments this year—except for a couple of long catch-and-runs.

In fact, Johnson hasn’t scored a single rushing touchdown all season, and is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry in 2013.

The one consistent bright spot for the Titans has been the play of receivers Nate Washington and Kendall Wright, who both have over 400 receiving yards this season.

Washington leads the club with 439, while Wright leads Tennessee in receptions, with 40.

Tight end Delanie Walker, who played at the University of Central Missouri and joined the Titans this year after seven stellar seasons with the 49ers, leads the Titans with three touchdown catches this year.

- Tennessee on Defense

For much of the season, the Titan defense has been ranked among the top 10 best in the league.

After last week’s games though, Tennessee slipped to No. 13.

It wasn’t through any fault of their own. Green Bay, Oakland, and New Orleans all had terrific games on defense last week, and were each able to leap frog the Titans in defensive yards allowed, which pushed Tennessee down three more slots.

But the Titans took pride in being a top 10-rated defense, so the Rams can expect a Tennessee club on Sunday that’s not only looking to even its record at 4-4, but will also be looking to move its defensive ranking back into the top 10.

The Titans are especially good in pass coverage, where cornerbacks Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner are one of the best young CB tandems in the league.

At safety, the trio of Pollard, Michael Griffin, and George Wilson have been outstanding in both run support and pass coverage on tight ends and backs coming out of the backfield.

- Recent History

The Rams lead the all-time series with the Titans 7-4, which dates back to the franchises’ first meeting in 1973, when the Rams were still in Los Angeles and the Titans were still in Houston and were still called the Oilers.

Since the Rams moved to St. Louis, the teams have played just four times with each club winning two.

The last game in St. Louis was in 2005, with the Rams winning 31-27.

The most memorable meeting for these two clubs came in January 2000, when St. Louis beat Tennessee 23-16 to win Super Bowl XXXIV.

Current Rams head coach Jeff Fisher was the coach of the Titans back then, and to commemorate the victory, St. Louis will wear its 1999-2000 championship throwback uniforms on Sunday

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/30/2013 12:13 PM

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher is taking on his former team, the Tennessee Titans this weekend. Fisher coached the Titans, or Houston Oilers, for 16 years before leaving the franchise in 2010. In 2012, he returned to coaching and joined the St. Louis Rams. He isn’t getting sentimental about his playing his former team though.

“I’m not playing, and I think there’s 16 players on the roster that were there when I was there,” Fisher said, via Pro Football Talk. “So, it’s a different football team, so I’m excited for our guys. We’ll get them back and have them ready to go.”

Fisher was dealt a bad hand in this reunion of sorts. Fisher’s team played on Monday Night Football and will have six days to prepare for this match up. The Titans on the other hand, are coming off a bye week and will have 14 days to prepare for the game.

“The schedule makers felt like we could overcome these things and we will,” Fisher said. “Often times, when you have so much time off, the timing’s off, so we’ll see.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/31/2013 02:46 PM

Having had some extra time to recover from his injuries, the Tennessee Titans feel confident Jake Locker can play a key role in their bid to end a five-year playoff drought.

Locker will get a chance to show it against the St. Louis Rams, who are coming off an outstanding effort defensively.

Following three straight losses to elite opponents, Tennessee hopes to get back in the win column Sunday in St. Louis.

After missing two games because of hip and knee injuries, Locker showed some rust in a 31-17 loss to San Francisco on Oct. 20. He threw for 326 and two TDs, but both scores and 222 of those yards came after Tennessee (3-4) trailed 24-0 at the half.

The bye week that followed appears to have helped Locker, who says he's feeling as good as he has since going down in a Week 4 victory over the New York Jets.

''He can get that rhythm going that we felt we were getting in on offense that kind of got stripped from us,'' coach Mike Munchak said. ''And now we've got to get in it fast because we have to win some games. If he can do that this week and get some help from his buddies, we can get ourselves going here.''

Locker has completed a career-high 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,047 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception. But since he helped them average 24.5 points during a 3-1 start, the Titans have scored just 15.7 per game in losses to defensive-minded Kansas City (8-0), Seattle (7-1) and the 49ers (6-2).

Now a healthy Locker looks to provide a lift for a Tennessee team that ranks 27th in the NFL with 311.6 yards per game.

''The little details are what's killing us,'' Locker said. ''If you watch all our games, we've moved the football. We've done a good job moving the football getting first downs. But we've had some drives stall out, especially early on.''

The Titans, who seek their first playoff appearance since 2008, also hope to get Chris Johnson on track in the running game. After averaging 85.3 rushing yards in his first three games, the former 2,000-yard rusher has run for 27.5 per game in his last four.

Munchak said he would like to see his squad run at least 35 times since the NFC West-worst Rams (3-5) are giving up 116.1 rushing yards per game.

St. Louis, however, is coming off its best defensive performance in Monday's 14-9 loss to the Seahawks, who had 38 yards at the half - their fewest since 1998.

Tennessee will have to keep a particularly close eye on Robert Quinn, who had three sacks to increase his NFC-leading total to 10. He's only the second Rams player to get 10 in the first eight games and the first since Kevin Greene had that many in 1988.

''He's something like a superhero,'' backup defensive end Eugene Sims said. ''He's phenomenal, he's got the speed, he's got the inside move, he's got the power. He's one of the best, if not the best.''

With Sam Bradford gone for the season because of a torn left knee ligament, Kellen Clemens will make his second straight start. Clemens completed 15 of 31 passes for 158 yards with two interceptions Monday, but showed some promise by driving the team 96 yards in 12 plays with just over five minutes left to put the Rams in position to win it.

The Seahawks, though, stuffed Daryl Richardson on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line before Clemens overthrew his intended target on the final play.

''I thought he managed the game well, he handled things, he settled own,'' said coach Jeff Fisher, who spent 17 years with the Houston/Tennessee franchise and will face his old team for the first time.

Although he was sidelined late with an ankle injury, Zac Stacy is expected to play after rushing for a career-best 134 yards on 26 carries. He'll try to find some holes in a Tennessee defense that ranks 24th in the NFL, giving up 117.1 yards per game.

The Rams, however, will be without offensive guard Harvey Dahl for at least a few weeks due to an MCL injury.

St. Louis has gone 2-2 versus the Titans since moving from Los Angeles, including a 23-16 victory over Fisher and Tennessee in Super Bowl XXXIV.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/01/2013 10:34 AM

The matchup between the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans certainly has a few storylines. Jeff Fisher coaching against a team he nearly led to a Super Bowl against his current team. Rams TE Jared Cook and LB Will Witherspoon are facing their former team. Titans MLB Colin McCarthy even said that they will take shots at Cook. Hopefully St. Louis keeps their cool if things get heated once again. The Rams can not afford to lose anyone else to ejections or injuries.

The Rams have an obvious weakness with Kellen Clemens running the offense. Last week he surrendered three turnovers that proved costly in a five-point loss to the Seattle Seahawks. In order to be successful the Rams will have to run, run, and run some more to keep the ball out of Clemens’ hands as much as possible. The fewer passes that he has to throw the better their chance of winning is. It would be different if two of his turnovers weren’t interceptions on poorly thrown balls. He hasn’t proven himself in eight years, and I just don’t see that changing any time soon. With Head Coach Jeff Fisher adamant about sticking with Clemens, St. Louis has no choice but to run as long as rookie starter Zac Stacy can handle the load. Plus it isn’t like there is an immediate upgrade with Austin Davis or Brady Quinn.

Even though Davis doesn’t have the arm strength to continually stretch the field he is more athletic and has a chance to improve with experience. Quinn has had a few chances to impress teams throughout his career and hasn’t found a way to convince a GM that he belongs. Clemens might be the best option for the time being if he can limit the turnovers.

Stacy has proven to be a steal in the 5th round for St. Louis. He is running as tough as any back in the league right now. His running style is punishing and wears out the defense. The only problem is that he has missed time at the end of two games now, which is worrisome for such a young player. If he can’t stay fully healthy for a whole game then how good is he? He wasn’t available on the last drive against Seattle when St. Louis needed him most, but he is definitely the best fit for the offensive scheme. He makes quick decisions getting north and south with quickness and power.

The Titans come into the game with the 7th best pass defense in the league and the 24th ranked run defense. This makes the game plan for St. Louis clear — establish the run early and use it often. In order to keep Stacy available at the end of the game they could use the re-emerging Daryl Richardson on runs to the outside. Richardson is not meant for running between the tackles with such a small frame. His speed is best used to get to the edge and go full throttle. His performance against Seattle has mostly been overlooked, but he provided solid relief for Stacy on Monday night. With Benny Cunningham back on the mend and probable for the matchup against Tennessee he could provide a few runs of his own.

The numbers suggest that Clemens won’t have a great day, but if the Rams can get their running game entrenched in the Titans’ minds early it could open things up for Clemens and the receivers. The Titans Jake Locker made his come back from a hip injury with a solid day against the San Francisco 49ers‘ intimidating defense. Tennessee is looking to get back to .500 currently sitting at 3-4 on the season. It should be an interesting matchup for both teams as things could get heated between former teammates.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/02/2013 11:28 AM

Titans linebacker Moise Fokou (knee) is out again this week. Linebacker Zaviar Gooden (hamstring), safety Michael Griffin (quadricep), wide receiver Justin Hunter (finger), defensive end Ropati Pitoitua (calf), tight end Craig Stevens (back) and tackle David Stewart (shoulder) are all questionable.

Three Rams running backs — Benny Cunningham(ankle), Daryl Richardson (foot) and Zac Stacy (foot) — are questionable. Guard Harvey Dahl (knee) is out and defensive end Robert Quinn (illness) is questionable.