By Joe Torosian
Sunday, I like the Rams over the Titans—28-17.
Because the Rams—last week being an exception—get off to slow starts, I don’t think it will be a blowout.
This is the least confident I’ve been on any pick. Before Derick Henry was KO’d, I had the Titans winning 26-20. My fears were the Rams being unable to stop the run and the size of Julio Jones (assuming he played) and A.J. Brown versus the Rams corners.
Do I think it would be foolish to overlook Adrian Peterson? Yes. I think AP can put enough in the tank for one game and wreck it for the Rams. But it’s not likely, and Jones is always a toss-up to be in uniform.
Another thing to think about is the Titans offensive line (26th in pass protection) going against the Rams pass rush (first in sacks, sixth overall in bringing pressure)—that’s a mismatch. And there’s no King Henry to create space for Ryan Tannehill to throw the ball.
With Von Miller wearing Crazy Legs Hirsch’s jersey, the pressure on Tannehill is going to be even greater.
Tennessee doesn’t have a pass rush, and that’s a bad thing going against the league’s best offensive line in football when it comes to protecting the quarterback.
I’m interested in who is going to be WR4. Tutu Atwell’s done for the season. Ben Skowronek got snaps last week, and maybe, perhaps, we see Jacob Harris get to play on offense. Or Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s J.J. Koski who was just brought up from the Practice Squad.
The Rams take “The Mike Jones Trophy.”
(No, Mike Jones didn’t play for both the Rams and Titans. But he made the biggest play in franchise history by stopping Kevin Dyson at the one with time expiring in the Super Bowl. He only played four seasons for the team, but put him in the Ring of Honor.)
The Rams lead the Titans/Oilers head-to-head: 8-5-0. (Including Super Bowl 34)
Did you know the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans have never won in Los Angeles?
In 1981 the Oilers did win the season opener in Anaheim, 27-20. At halftime, the Rams led 17-6 on Pat Haden’s touchdown passes to Wendell Tyler and Walt Arnold.
In the second half, Ken Stabler threw scoring passes to Rob Carpenter and Ken Burrough. Earl Campbell rushed for 122yds on 27 carries to secure the win.
Haden threw three interceptions and was sacked twice. Jeff Rutledge replaced him and also threw a pick.
It was the start of a long, 6-10 season for the Rams, who missed the playoffs for the first time since 1972. In 1981 the Rams lost six of their final seven games. In 1972 they lost five of their last six.
Days & Numbers of Future Past:
(Wore The Number Before)
Isaac Bruce #80—Bruce, recently inducted into the Hall of fame, scored the winning touchdown in Super Bowl 34. Did you know nobody has worn this number since Bruce? Before Bruce? Henry Ellard (1983-93) stud! Billy Waddy (1977-82) big play in Dallas! Bob Klein (1969-76) solid blocking tight end. Bucky Pope (1964-67) was a shooting star. And Tom Fears (1948-56), Hall of Famer, wore it the last five years of his career.
Von Miller #40—We know who Elroy Hirsch (1949-57) is, and now Miller is wearing this number. But did you know it was worn once in between? Jack Morris (not the pitcher) wore the number from 1958-1960. A seventh-round pick out of Oregon (who in 1957 rushed for 212yds against USC), Morris picked off six passes, returning one for a touchdown in 1958.
Jacob Harris #87—The last player of any significance to wear this number was Ricky Proehl (1998-02). Prior to that… Drew Hill (1979-84) who made a name for himself…where?…in Houston with the Oilers. Honorable mentions go to WR Dwight Scales (1976-78) and TE Billy Truax (1964-1970). In 1971, Truax was traded to Dallas (with Wendell Tucker) for Lance Rentzel.
Final Note Nostalgia: Jim Everett was drafted third overall by the Oilers in 1986, he didn’t sign, and was dealt to the Rams for: All-Pro guard Kent Hill, defensive end William Fuller, and the team’s first and fifth round pick in 1987 and it’s first round pick in 1988.
Final Final Note: Hill was drafted 26th overall by the Rams out of Georgia Tech in 1979. He never missed a game and played in five Pro Bowls. In Houston he only played 25 games, never made a Pro Bowl, and finished his career in 1987.
Colts 45, Jets 30:
***Yes, the Colts can score. Yes, they can run…but they did all that against the Jets last night.
***See this week’s “Standings & Stuff” and look what I wrote about Mike White and the Matt Robinson/Richard Todd situation. White’s injury was a tragedy last night. What an opportunity to audition in front of the whole league…What could the Jets parlay him into in terms of draft picks–if he’s healthy?
***In regards to Jets quarterback Josh Johnson…Hollywood needs to make a movie about him. What a story he is, and I kind of wish he was QB2 for the Rams right about now.
*** It’s tough to assess the Colts and this win. Now 4-5, still alive, but they are the AFC version of the Atlanta Falcons. You don’t know what you’re going to get from one week to the next.
***For what it’s worth, Carson Wentz has thrown 17 touchdown passes against only three interceptions. But if PFF quarterback ratings, he’s listed behind: Kirk Cousins, Jalen Hurts, Teddy Bridgewater, Jacoby Brissett, Geno Smith, Daniel Jones, and Baker Mayfield…Okay.
(Winners in Bold)
Raiders-Giants—I like Las Vegas, especially the food. And I’m starting to like the Raiders, but I’m beginning to love Derek Carr.
Falcons-Saints—Atlanta should be the team here. New Orleans is starting a new quarterback, and I go with them because I’m never picking the Falcons again.
Bills-Jaguars—Just make sure Josh Allen doesn’t get hurt. In fact, start Mitchell Trubisky.
Browns-Bengals—Cleveland loses, and it’s all falling apart. Cleveland wins, and it’s an indictment of OBJ. But Cincy has to prove they’re not the same old Bengals.
Patriots-Panthers—It seems funny to say, but New England needs to make a statement in this game. The Patriots, too often, play to the level of their opponent.
Broncos-Cowboys—If you guys thought Super Bowl 12 was a blowout, wait till you see this one. Norris Weese will be quarterbacking Denver halfway through the third.
Vikings-Ravens—Minnesota couldn’t stop Cooper Rush, and now we’re supposed to think they have a shot in Baltimore?
Texans-Dolphins—This is the one Miami has to win. This is the one they win, right? Right?
Chargers-Eagles—If the Bolts lose, then the first half of the season was a mirage. They cannot lose this one and expect to be taken seriously.
Packers-Chiefs—I’ve lost all faith in the Chiefs. Green Bay could start Jerry Tagge, and I would still pick them to win this one.
Cardinals-49ers—The moment is now. Injuries have crept in. Film is out. Adversity has struck. Frisco takes down the Cards..
Titans-Rams—Wouldn’t it be weird if John Wolford (#13) ends up playing and Terrell Lewis (#52) makes a play at the goal line on Titans tight end Geoff Swaim (#87) to win the game?
Bears-Steelers—Chicago’s offensive line goes on the field. A defense is on the field. The Steelers defense. Farewell and adieu to you, sweet Bruins of Chicago. Farewell and adieu to you sweet Cubs of Chi-Town. Blowout!
(Seahawks, Buccaneers, Washington, Lions are on bye. Bye is favored by seven over Detroit.)
Joe T. is the author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all five available through Amazon.com.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joet13b
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