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Around the NFC West: Saint Louis

Ah, yes, Brian Leonard. Let's launch right into this: Leonard ran 9 times for 36 yards and a TD. He caught 5 passes for 30 yards. Six of his nine runs were unsuccessful, including five for two or fewer yards. 15 of his yards receiving came after the Rams started a drive with 21 seconds left in the first half. Do you think the Vikings really cared if Leonard got a five or ten yard reception with less than 25 seconds left in the half? I'm not saying Leonard will fail, or that he's a bust, but a lot of people want to say he had a breakout game and to that I say "prove it."

Tavaris Jackson had a good game, but since I'm stubborn and simply don't believe Jackson is or will be a good quarterback, I hang this one on the Rams secondary. A great litmus test is to see how Jackson performs against the Jets next week, because the Jets don't have a great secondary, but a better one than the Rams. If he struggles and Phillip Rivers looks Aikmenesque, well, you draw your own conclusions.

The best news for Rams' fans is that by all accounts the interior line and especially Adam Carriker clogged lanes and shut down a potentially very good Viking rushing attack. Considering just the first half and removing QB scrambles, the Vikings were still successful on 5 of 11 runs, including 2 first down conversions, but averaged less than 2.1 yards per carry. The Vikings were the twelfth ranked team in Power Success, so for a Rams team that was some kind of awful on run defense last season, that half has to be considered a success. The run defense is the Rams only defensive component which has any chance of being even adequate, but for a team with a lot of potential offensive fire power, that could still do wonders for their playoff chances. For one, being able to stop the rushing attack prevents a team from sitting on a lead in the second half. The Rams get another good test against the Chargers, do it twice and I might bump you up a win.