NFL Week 13 Featured Game
Storylines: Possibly the best rematch game of the 2012 season pits has the Rams hosting their long time enemy and divisional rival Niners. The first meeting between these two teams was a perplexing overtime tie (24-24) that saw Alex Smith exit the game with a concussion in the second quarter which has lead to the former first overall pick being benched for the young versatile Colin Kaepernick. Will the “Kap” led Niners come up big on the road or will the Rams upend San Francisco and remain unbeaten in the NFC West?
- Rams Defense vs RGIII- The Week 2 matchup for the Rams pitted them against a similarly versatile quarterback in Robert Griffin III. St. Louis did a decent job against the rookie, holding him to a 86.3 passing rating with 1TD/1INT and limiting Washington’s offense to 21 points. However, Griffin was able to rack up 82 yards rushing averaging 7.45 per carry (the quarterback’s second highest average this season) and two rushing touchdowns.
- Rams Defense vs Colin Kaepernick- After replacing Alex Smith in Week 10, Kaepernick put up similar numbers to that of Griffin against St. Louis’ defense throwing for a 84.7 passing rating and rushing for 66 yards on 8 carries one of which was a touchdown.
- Pounding the Rock Means a Win- St. Louis’s defense is allowing an averaging of 111.4 yards on the ground to opposing offenses this season. Since Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach, San Francisco has never lost a regular season game when the team rushes for over 90 yards.
- Brian Schottenheimer vs Vic Fangio- The Week 10 game was the first time that these coordinators had faced off against one another and Schottenheimer’s offense completely ran over Fangio’s defense racking up 458 total yards…the fourth highest total of yards given up by the Niners since the start of last season.
- Steven “Superman” Jackson?- Jackson had his first 100+ yard rushing day of the season against San Francisco in the first matchup. However, the running back has been anything but super against the Niners during his career, averaging under 76 ypg, 3.6 ypc, and only 6 touchdowns in 16 games. Since 2006 the Rams are 8-32 when Jackson fails to rush for 76 yards, bad enough for a .200 winning percentage.
- The Wes Welker of the West?- Wide receiver Danny Amendola is largely viewed as essential to the Rams offense and is Sam Bradford’s safe net on the field. Since 2009 St. Louis’ winning percentage has been a poultry .102, but when Amendola has 5+ receptions that percentage goes up to .263 and all the way to .500 when he scores a touchdown.
- Pressuring and Sacking Bradford- So far this season Sam Bradford has been pressured on 35% of his passing attempts, been sacked 28 times (2.5 per game), and has a 58.7 passer rating. San Francisco only pressured Sam Bradford 7 times (less than 18% of the passing attempts) in Week 10 and sacked him twice. When Bradford is sacked 3 or more times during in a game, St. Louis is only 2-16.
- Playing the Lines- Since moving to St. Louis in 1995, the Rams are 8-9 at home against the Niners. The average margin of victory for either team has been over 11 points, though the average margin in 35% of the games has been less than the current 7 point spread. The averaged points total has been over 43, but with nearly half the games going under the the current over/under.
Keys to Victory: One has to appreciate the job that Jeff Fisher has done this season slowly resurrecting a Rams franchise that has been in the dumps for the past five plus years. The team is 3-0-1 in the division and probably should have a 7-4 record right now instead of 4-6-1. This team absolutely controls it’s own destiny, but to win on Sunday they’ll have to have a repeat performance of what Brian Schottenheimer’s offense accomplished in Week 10, particularly keeping the pressure away from Sam Bradford, and they’ll need to stop the Niners rushing attack.
Whether or not San Francisco’s defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can slow down St. Louis’ offense is something that cannot be foretold. But Danny Amendola is entering the game with a nagging foot injury and is expected to play only a limited number of snap (if any) on Sunday. Meaning the Niners should have an edge on defense particularly when you include Steve Jackson’s history against San Francisco.
The real key for the Rams in this game might be containing not just the Niners running backs, but most importantly Colin Kaepernick. If Kaepernick is allowed to make those few key plays with his legs, picking up a necessary first down or two to keep a drive alive or run for a score, St. Louis could be in for a long day.
It is particularly interesting to note that when Kaepernick has four or more carries this season the Niners are averaging over 33 ppg. Only twice this season have the Rams scored more than 24 points, though never more than 31 in a game.
Line: SF -7, 40 o/u
It’s been a rough two weeks against Vegas, but we’ll see if things can be rectified this week….
Overall Record: 22-14 (61.1%)
- W-L: 8-4
- Line: 8-4
- O/U: 6-6
Beerbecue’s Beer Recommendation
Our friend/guru on all things related to beer, Mr. Beerbecue provides his biased, informative, and entertaining recommendation for your football fix. Check out all of his illuminating beer reviews at beerbecue.com.
Schlafly Christmas Ale (St. Louis, MO)
The season has come for roasting nuts, jingling bells, and felizing your navidad. This is the first Sunday of December, so it’s high time we have a Christmas brew.
If you’ve had Schlafly’s glorious pumpkin ale, you’ll notice that the Christmas Ale’s caramel malt character is quite similar. Further, Schlafly spices this mother with orange peel, juniper berries, ginger root, cardamom, and cloves. I was definitely feeling the orange and cloves in the nose, and in the taste there is a distinct holiday season spiciness (like hot mulled cider) and a gingery zing. It’s a little on the sweet side, and the holiday spicing is about as subtle as an ugly Christmas sweater party, but it’s perfect for a long night of wassailing…whatever that is.
San Francisco Food Recommendations
The temperatures on gameday is starting to drop and there is no better way to warm one up than a bowl of soup or stew. So please enjoy the following two recipes using some of the best ingredients and cultural from Northern California (click on the image or titles to view each recipe).
St. Louis Food Recommendations
St. Louis is known for quiet a few foods like Toasted Ravioli, Peanut Butter, and Provel Cheese. But I thought I’d mix it up a little this week with recipes for two other Gateway City favorites: 1) St. Paul Sandwich (egg foo young, lettuce, tomato, and pickle on white bread) and 2) Gooey Butter Cake. As always click on the image or titles to view each recipe.
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