It has been nearly a month, exactly 28 days, since the last time the St. Louis Rams played a game at the Edward Jones Dome. But St. Louis, which has played two road games and enjoyed its bye week since its last home game, will get to right that wrong, Sunday at noon with a matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland comes to town with a 2-4 record. The Browns rebounded from losing their season opener to the New York Jets, by bouncing the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. Since then though, Cleveland has lost three of four, including a 26-23 last-second thriller last week against the Denver Broncos.
Sunday’s contest will be the 20th meeting between the Rams and Browns, which the Rams lead 10-9. The last meeting between the two clubs came in 2011, when St. Louis a 13-12 defensive battle over the Browns in Cleveland.
St. Louis is playing its first game in two weeks, after enjoying its bye last week. Last time out, the Rams played a terrific defensive game against high-powered and undefeated Green Bay, but couldn’t overcome four offensive turnovers, including one that was returned for a touchdown in a 24-10 loss to the Packers.
After enduring one of the league’s tougher early season schedules – with four of its five games against teams that made the playoffs in 2014 – St. Louis is beginning a stretch on Sunday, where it will face four of five opponents that currently have losing records. And only one of those opponents – the Baltimore Ravens, who the Rams will play on November 22 – made the playoffs last year.
Offense ……………………… Defense
QB – 13 Josh McCown ….. DE – 94 Randy Starks
RB – 34 Isaiah Crowell ….. NT – 71 Danny Shelton
FB – 42 Malcolm Johnson .. DE – 92 Desmond Bryant
LT – 73 Joe Thomas ……… OLB – 99 Paul Kruger
LG – 75 Joel Bitonio ………. ILB – 56 Karlos Dansby
C – 55 Alex Mack …………. ILB – 58 Christian Kirksey
RG – 77 John Greco ……. OLB – 51 Barkevious Mingo
RT – 72 Mitchell Schwartz .. CB – 26 Pierre Desir
TE – 82 Gary Barnidge …… SS – 31 Donte Whitner
WR – 16 Andrew Hawkins …. FS – 33 Jordan Poyer
WR – 11 Travis Benjamin … CB – 22 Tramon Williams
St. Louis Rams
Offense ……………………… Defense
QB — 5 Nick Foles ……….. DE – 95 William Hayes
RB – 30 Todd Gurley ……. DT – 99 Aaron Donald
FB – 46 Corey Harkey …… DT – 90 Michael Brockers
LT – 73 Greg Robinson …. DE – 94 Robert Quinn
LG – 68 Jamon Brown ….. LB – 56 Akeem Ayers
C – 61 Tim Barnes ………. LB – 55 James Laurinaitis
RG – 71 Garrett Reynolds … LB – 26 Mark Barron
RT – 79 Rob Havenstein … CB – 21 Janoris Jenkins
TE – 89 Jared Cook ……… SS – 25 T.J. McDonald
WR – 11 Tavon Austin ….. FS – 23 Rodney McLeod
WR – 18 Kenny Britt …….. CB – 22 Trumaine Johnson
Key Players to Watch
St. Louis’ offense will almost certainly be centered around rookie RB Todd Gurley, who has just run wild for the Rams in their last two games. Since taking over as the starter two games ago, Gurley has rushed for a combined 305 yards, or 152.5 yards/game, on 49 carries.
Those numbers could be especially significant on Sunday with Cleveland coming to town with the worst-ranked run defense in the league. Through six games, the Browns are allowing 149.8 rushing yards a game and have given up at least 90 yards to an opposing RB in five of their six games.
Cleveland’s offense though, ranks as one of the best in the league this year. The Browns will come into Sunday tied for 10th overall in yards gained per game (364.2) and are ninth in passing yards (272.3).
Quarterback Josh McCown missed all of one game and most of another, but still ranks eighth in the league with 283.0 pass yards/game, to go along with eight touchdowns, only three interceptions, and a 94.6 passer rating.
Veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby leads the Browns with 47 total tackles and two interceptions. The 12th-year pro out of Auburn also has scored Cleveland’s only defensive touchdown this season.