Following a tough to take overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings last week, the St. Louis Rams will look to get back on the winning track with a key home game Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome against the Chicago Bears.
St. Louis (4-4), which had won three of its last four before last week’s loss in Minnesota, is hoping to push its record back over the .500 mark before hitting the road the next two weeks with games in Baltimore and Cincinnati. Chicago (3-5) comes to town having won three of its last five, including a 22-19 thriller this past Monday night against San Diego.
The Bears began the year 0-3, but have played much better the last month and a half. In fact, Chicago’s only two losses during that time both came to NFC North division rivals Detroit and Minnesota and both losses were by just three points.
“I mean, you look at their games,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. “The last five, they’ve all been three points or less, whether they won or lost them. The overtime loss to Detroit was tough on them, but they’re playing good ball. They’re playing good defense. They have it going. They’re still in it.
“(Bears QB) Jay’s (Cutler) going to be a big challenge for us as well as their running game will. Then, defensively, as we’ve talked, they’re well-coached. (Bears Defensive Coordinator) Vic (Fangio) does a great job with them. They’re disciplined, well-coached. They don’t give up a lot of plays.”
ST. LOUIS RAMS 2015 FOOTBALL — GAMEDAY PREVIEW
CHICAGO BEARS (3-5) at ST. LOUIS RAMS (4-4)
EDWARD JONES DOME — NOVEMBER 15, 2015 – 12 p.m.
Sunday’s contest will be the 90th regular season meeting between the Rams and Bears, with Chicago holding the all-time edge, 51-35-3. St. Louis won the last meeting though, 42-21, back in November of 2013.
The Rams have ridden a strong defense and running game to its 4-4 mark this season, which currently has St. Louis slotted on the outside looking in at the NFC playoffs. St. Louis is currently seventh in the NFC, while only the league’s top six make the postseason.
Offense ……………………… Defense
QB – 6 Jay Cutler …………. LDE – 98 Mitch Unrein
RB – 33 Jeremy Langford ….. NT – 91 Eddie Goldman
RB – 25 Ka’Deem Carey ….. RDE – 96 Jarvis Jenkins
LT – 74 Jermon Bushrod …… OLB – 49 Sam Acho
LG – 68 Matt Slauson ………. ILB – 50 Shea McClellin
C – 64 Will Montgomery …… ILB – 59 Christian Jones
RG – 75 Kyle Long ……………. OLB – 92 Pernell McPhee
RT – 72 Charles Leno ……….. CB – 23 Kyle Fuller
TE – 83 Martellus Bennett …… SS – 26 Antrel Rolle
WR – 17 Alshon Jeffery ……… FS – 38 Adrian Amos
WR – 80 Marc Mariani ………. CB – 24 Alan Ball
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 – 71 Garrett Reynolds ….. LB – 56 Akeem Ayers
C – 61 Tim Barnes …………. LB – 55 James Laurinaitis
RG – 68 Jamon Brown ……… 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
Receiver Tavon Austin will be one player to watch for St. Louis. He leads the Rams with 28 catches, is second on the team with 207 rushing yards, and is one of the most dangerous punt return men in the league, with a 10.1 yards per punt return average.
Austin also figures to be a key player on Sunday considering the dynamic performance he had the last time these two teams met. It was still his rookie season, but Austin turned that game on its ear with a spectacular 65-yard touchdown run that helped St. Louis build to a 42-21 win.
This season, Austin leads the Rams with seven touchdowns, and is one of just three players in the entire league to have scored on a run play, a pass play, and a punt return.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is another player having a terrific season. His numbers aren’t anywhere near the 4,500-yard season he had in 2008 with Denver, or even the 3,800 yards he had last season, but Cutler is just playing better and doing a better job leading his club even though the Bears have had to deal with multiple injuries to top players like running back Matt Forte and receiver Alshon Jeffery.
This year, Cutler, who missed one full game and half of another himself, has 1,787 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, only five interceptions, and a solid and respectable 89.6 passer rating. It’s been his calm and rejuvenated play in the pocket that has led Chicago to its recent winning play.
“Jay’s playing really well,” Fisher said. “They’re doing a good job with Jay and his fundamentals and his technique and he’s playing well.”