The St. Louis Rams have won two straight games. Not coincidentally, they've also won the turnover battle the past two weeks, forcing seven turnovers against Jacksonville and Houston and committing none of their own. Meanwhile this week's opponent, the Carolina Panthers, finally played their first turnover-free game last week in Minnesota. Not coincidentally, it was their most convincing performance of the season. Something's got to give.
Both St. Louis and Carolina have offenses that aren't prolific enough to overcome giveaways. Both teams also have aggressive, opportunistic defenses that thrive on forcing opposing miscues. The team that executes this aspect of their team character will come away the victor.
A little bit of an edge has to go to Sam Bradford and the Rams with regard to turnover propensity. Bradford has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league this season. Even under tremendous pressure, Bradford isn't one who unnecessarily forces the football into tight windows.
On the other hand, Cam Newton can be a bit of a gambler. Newton's ability to scramble, along with his big arm is one of his biggest assets. It can also be one of his biggest downfalls when he tries to make plays that just aren't there. The Rams defense will have to play aggressively, but with discipline, keeping Newton inside the pocket and forcing him to make plays with his arm, not his legs.
When the Rams have the ball, it's incumbent upon them to continue their success with the running game so that Bradford will have the makable down and distance situations he's had the last two weeks. When Bradford is throwing on schedule and not out of desperation, he's a pretty capable quarterback.
The Rams have been mercurial so far in 2013. Are they the team that got plowed in Dallas and at home against the Niners? Or are they the aggressive, opportunistic team that played against Jacksonville and Houston? How the Rams perform with ball security will go along way toward showing where they're trending.
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