Heading into the 2015 NFL season both the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams were thought of as legit playoff contenders, if not rising teams that could potentially make a Super Bowl run. Things haven’t played out like that at all. Both teams are out of the playoff picture, Detroit fired their offensive coordinator and despite their best efforts, St. Louis still doesn’t have a quarterback. When they clash in St. Louis in week 14, however, one team appears to be ahead of the other. The Lions have won three of their last four games and they enter as the favorite to keep positive momentum going into next year – but can the Rams stage the upset?
The Rams and Lions have met a surprising 83 times in NFL history and the series have been rather competitive, with the Rams holding a minor edge, 42-40-1. The two haven’t faced off since 2012, however, when the Lions edged out the Rams in a tight 27-23 contest. Detroit has claimed two straight and three of the last five, but past results mean very little with the current renditions of both teams being quite a bit different than they were three seasons ago.
Lions Preview (-3)
The Lions and Rams are both below average 4-8 teams by record, but Detroit has overcome an ugly, slow start to be a pretty respectable team. The defense has been the driving force, as opponent’s cannot run on the Lions right now. The offense hasn’t been half bad, either, as the firing of OC Joe Lombardi has helped simplify things and get Matthew Stafford back on track. The only thing Detroit really lacks is an established running game, but this week brings an opportunity for that to change given the Rams’ shaky run defense. This is not a bad matchup at all for the Lions when you look at it offensively, but going up against the pathetic Nick Foles, it’s actually an amazing, mouth watering matchup for their defense.
Rams Preview (+3)
If St. Louis had a quarterback, they might be in a very different situation right now. The Rams have a stud rookie running back in Todd Gurley and until a few weeks ago a fully capable, if not elite, defense. Stud pass rusher Robert Quinn went down for the year with an injury and the team’s inability to move the ball on offense has worked against the defense’s efforts greatly. The one thing the Rams can do is run the ball, but they haven’t even been able to do that lately, both because of an inconsistent offensive line and Foles’ inability to threaten defenses over the top. This is the situation the Rams are in, unfortunately, and it doesn’t put them in a good spot against the Lions this week – even at home.
We don’t really need to go numbers diving in this one. These teams share the same record but are headed in entirely different directions. The Rams’ ineptitude on offense is killing them on both sides of the ball and is rendering their best player (Gurley) almost completely useless. Against a good Lions team, they have very little hope to push back and get their fifth win of the year.