Coming off an exciting win over division rival Green Bay that improved them to 4-0 and with a trio of intriguing matchups against the Baltimore Ravens (10/18), Pittsburgh Steelers (10/25) and Packers (11/1) coming up in the next few weeks, one might be able to see how this week’s contest against a winless team averaging just 6 points per game might be overlooked.
But Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress clearly indicated on Tuesday that he and the Vikings are not overlooking the St. Louis Rams, who will host the Vikings on Sunday.
“I understand what their record is,” Childress said, “but I know what (Rams Head Coach) Steve (Spagnuolo) is teaching and you have only to go back and look at his defensive scheme against the Packers in the NFC championship game or last year against us against the Giants. He is in the first year of that program but you see similarities in terms of what he is throwing at you, and that’s always been a very aggressive defense. So (your) hands (are) full anytime you go on the road.”
If you go beyond the surface level of the Rams points for/against ratio, which is 24-108, you’ll see that the Rams defense is not playing as poorly as that statistic would indicate. The offense has struggled this season, ranking last in scoring, 30th in passing yards per game and 27th in total yards per game. That means the Rams opponents are getting lots of possessions and their opponents are also benefiting from good field position – Rams opponents’ average staring field position is the 31-yardline, which ranks them just 24th in the NFL.
So the Vikings offensive coaching staff will be challenged this week to scheme against a defense that is playing better than the statistics indicate.
Aside from the head coach knowing his hands will be full this week, Vikings fans can also take solace in the fact that the players realize no team can be taken lightly, either.
“We’ve got a good bunch of veteran leaders in there that understand that dynamic that anybody beats anybody,” Childress explained. “Particularly when you travel and go to someone else’s house, in this case a domed environment. That team is dangerous from the standpoint that they are scrapping. They have a new coach. They are trying to do things the right way. They are playing with younger guys, so all those things are dynamics.”
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