Jets must stop freefall in STL
The walls are caving in on the Jets' season. At 3-6 and mired in a three-game losing streak, they are in a tailspin entering a matchup with the Rams in St. Louis.
Though the Rams are just 3-5-1, they are coming off an impressive performance against the mighty 49ers in San Francisco, a game they could have won if they had avoided some poorly timed penalties. Here's what the Jets will need to watch out for at 1 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
The running game
Steven Jackson remains the lead dog in the Rams backfield. Though the 29-year-old is averaging a career-low 3.7 ypc, he's coming off an impressive 101-yard day against the stout Niners defense.
He's not the only back the Jets need to be concerned with, either. Daryl Richardson has stepped up to spell Jackson and offer a change of pace to the power running of the Rams' starter. The speedy Richardson, the next-to-last pick in the 2012 draft, has averaged a blistering 5.7 ypc.
The aerial attack
Quarterback Sam Bradford isn't making a push to be considered a top 10 passer yet, but he's completing 62.2% of his throws. He played even better last week after getting wideout Danny Amendola back from a shoulder injury, completing 26 of his 39 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Amendola, who caught 11 balls for 102 yards against the 49ers, leads the team with 43 receptions despite missing three weeks of action. He will keep Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie busy all afternoon.
The defensive studs
Second-year pro Robert Quinn is emerging as one of the top young pass rushers in the NFL. His 8.5 sacks are tied for sixth most leaguewide.
It certainly helps that he plays opposite the talented Chris Long (5.0 sacks) on the defensive line. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis is a tackling machine who is tied for fourth in the league in that category.
Veteran Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan is known for getting in the heads of opposing receivers, so the Jets' young core of wideouts need to stand strong.