|Sam Bradford was spotty on his deep balls last week against Detroit. (Getty Images)|
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis (turf, indoors)
When: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
Spread: Redskins by 3
Records: Rams (Overall: 0-1, NFC West: 0-0); Redskins (Overall: 1-0, NFC East 0-0)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Oct. 2, 2011: Redskins 17, Rams 10. Sept. 26, 2010: Rams 30, Redskins 16. Series record: Redskins hold 22-9-1 edge.
What matters: The offensive line will look much different from Week 1. With C Scott Wells out with a broken foot, Robert Turner moves over from LG. Newly re-signed Quinn Ojinnaka figures to replace Turner at LG. The good news is that LT Rodger Saffold appears likely to play just one week after suffering what looked like a serious neck injury. He practiced fully Thursday. If he can’t go, Wayne Hunter would start at left tackle. RG Harvey Dahl and RT Barry Richardson will line up in the same spots. QB Sam Bradford took four sacks last week and must get rid of the ball faster against a Washington rush that harassed Drew Brees into a 46 percent completion rate.
Who matters: RB Steven Jackson must get going. He carried 21 times for 53 yards against a mediocre Lions run defense. Daryl Richardson supplied a nice change of pace with 20 yards on two carries, but the entire offense starts with S-Jax. Washington held New Orleans to 32 yards on 10 rushes last week. Defensively, the Rams need better coverage from safeties Quintin Mikell and Craig Dahl. They allowed all 10 passes in their coverage to be completed, for 159 yards.
Key matchups: DEs Chris Long (2 QB hits, 3 QB hurries last week) and Robert Quinn (sack, QB hurry) must get the best of Redskins tackles Trent Williams and Tyler Polumbus. The Rams aren’t getting much push up the middle with first-round pick Michael Brockers out with a high ankle sprain. So they need big plays from their stud outside rushers, who also have to worry about keeping QB Robert Griffin III in the pocket. … The Rams’ top three corners, Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins and Bradley Fletcher, all will see some of Pierre Garcon (4 catches, 109 yards, TD last week) if he plays through his foot injury. He’s Washington’s top receiving threat by far.
Injuries of note: DT Michael Brockers (high ankle sprain) and C Scott Wells (foot) are out. LG Rokevious Watkins (ankle) missed Thursday’s practice and is unlikely to play. LT Rodger Saffold (neck) practiced fully Thursday and appears likely to start.
Inside stuff: Bradford targeted WR Danny Amendola nine times last week, more than double that of any other Rams wideout. He caught five balls for 70 yards. Look for rookie Chris Givens to run a few deep routes; he got way behind Detroit’s secondary once but Bradford underthrew him. Also look for TE Lance Kendricks to be more involved after catching just two balls for 16 yards.
Connections: Rams LB Rocky McIntosh played for Washington from 2006-2011. Redskins DL Adam Carriker and LB London Fletcher are former Rams. Redskins DC Jim Haslett was Rams DC from 2006-08 and also served as interim head coach during the 2008 season.
Stats you should know: Rams DE Chris Long has 10 sacks in his last 11 games overall, and 13 sacks in his past 13 home games. ... CB Cortland Finnegan’s 31-yard interception return for a TD last week was his 15th career INT and fourth career TD. ...The Rams averaged 2.9 yards per carry last week. …They were 4 of 12 on third-down conversions.
Record watch: With 9,146 career rushing yards, Steven Jackson is less than 300 yards from passing Earl Campbell (9,407) for 30th place on the NFL’s alltime rushing list.
Looking ahead: When the Rams play in Chicago on Sept. 23, the Bears will have had extra rest after losing to Green Bay on Thursday. Then St. Louis comes home to face Seattle and Arizona before visiting Miami. It’s a soft early schedule: anything worse than a 2-4 start will be a major disappointment.
Prediction: Rams 23, Washington 20
Get more Rams updates and analysis from Larry Hartstein @CBSSportsNFLSTL.