The Rams Winning 8 Games Is A Great Future Bet!
Hey, it’s that time of year when we all go gazing into the crystal ball trying to foresee what will happen in the upcoming NFL season. Last year, the Seattle Seahawks got to the doorstep but were turned back by the Pittsburgh Steelers, so they will be the odds on favorite to win the NFC Western Conference. Another team from that division, the Arizona Cardinals, is the flavor of the year it seems for prognosticators since the addition of Edgerrin James.
The team, however, that intrigues me the most is the St. Louis Rams who fired controversial coach Mike Martz and replaced him with young, but heralded offensive wizard Scott Linehan. The first major move by the boss was to sign former New Orleans head coach Jim Haslett who brings a whole new identity to the defensive side of the ball.
It goes without saying that the Rams are loaded in the key high skilled positions. Former West Virginia QB Marc Bulger is as good a passer as there is in the NFL and with Tory Holt, Issac Bruce and rookie tight ends Joe Klopfenstein and Dominique Byrd, the Rams will be lethal. But the key component for them will be that Steven Jackson does not have to look over his shoulder at Marshall Faulk this year. The former Oregon State Beaver is a punishing runner who will be a force with a healthy offensive line.
Offensive linemen Adam Timmerman and Andy McCollum have a combined 25 seasons in the NFL along with the wear and tear that goes with it. Timmerman, 34, recovered from operations on both shoulders and a knee to start all 16 games last season. He’s been to two Pro Bowls and has played in 173 consecutive games. He’s also shed 10 pounds, reporting to training camp at just fewer than 300, by cutting out junk food like doughnuts and carbonated beverages.
McCollum, 35, also started every game last season and has 144 career starts on the interior line. He had two starts at left guard for the 1999 Super Bowl championship team and started every game at center for the 2001 Super Bowl team.
Like Timmerman the previous year, McCollum had cleanup surgery on both shoulders and knees in the offseason. He’s ready for the competition.
The Rams have All-World Orlando Pace and 2005 1st round pick Alex Barron as the bookends at tackle and volatile Richie Incognito may be ready to step in at guard.
So in looking at the offense and factoring in what Lineham has done at Miami and Minnesota the past 4 years, things look rosy on the offensive side.
On defense, Haslett will welcome a former Saints player La’Roi Glover to the family and he and Jimmy Kennedy could be a force in the middle. Defensive end Leonard Little is All-Pro material and his partner at the other end, Anthony Hargrove, will make some noise. A staple of any Haslett defense has always been at linebacker and Pisa Tinoisamoia may have a season similar to the one Lofa Tatupu had with Seattle last year.
The kicking game is solid with Turk and Wilkens and I see them contending for a wild card spot with a 9-7 record.
Play the prop bet that offers even money that the Rams win over 7 games on the season!
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About the Author: Bob Acton is an experienced sports writer and handicapper, who has written for the sports industry for over 10 years. His years of writing for Sports Scene, sports consulting on 33 Made for Television and Major Motion Pictures and his work as an instructor at Pro Teach Baseball Academy, have made Bob a trusted and respected source in the sports world.