<
>

Morning Ram-blings: Home improvement

11/22/2013

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- In a season that to this point has been full of strange statistics and ups and downs, one of the hardest to figure might be the St. Louis Rams' continued struggles on their home field.

Considering that the Rams have blowout wins against the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, it's hard to fathom that neither of those strong performances have come in the friendly environment of the Edward Jones Dome. Aside from a season-opening comeback win against Arizona and an expected win against the downtrodden Jaguars, the Rams have struggled mightily at home.

The Rams suffered a blowout home loss to San Francisco in Week 4 and have come up short in winnable contests against Seattle and Tennessee. As it stands, they've lost three of four in St. Louis.

It's a trend they're hoping to correct Sunday against Chicago.

"We want to win every week, but one of the things that we've been appreciative of in this locker room is how much our fans are still there, still getting loud on third down for the other team," quarterback Kellen Clemens said. "So, this will be a big week for us, but we want to win for our fans at home, definitely."

Considering the Rams have had a bit more success on the road in recent efforts, Sunday's game could present something of an interesting paradox. The Rams have played a little better on the road and they're at home but this is one home game that may not feel like one.

Bears fans are known for traveling well and having a national following, especially when all they have to do is drive down I-55 to get to St. Louis. Combining that with the Bears' relative success and the Rams' early season struggles could lead to a huge Chicago turnout Sunday.

The past two times the teams have played at the Edward Jones Dome -- once in 2008 and in a Monday night matchup in 2006 -- the presence of Bears fans was a bit overwhelming. The result was a pair of losses that began a four-game losing streak to the Bears that remains active heading into this meeting.

All of that said, it's safe to expect a loud Bears contingent in the building Sunday but it may not be as much of a disadvantage as some would think given the Rams' recent performances on the road.

I.C.Y.M.I.

A roundup of Friday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... After the Ram-blings, we took a look back at the reflections of Mr. Rosey Grier on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. We also provided some additional thoughts from Grier on the chain of events set in motion by that difficult day. ... Next, we looked at running back Benny Cunningham's efforts to establish himself as the backup to Zac Stacy. ... In Friday's injury wire, we discussed the likely absence of cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who is listed as doubtful with an eye injury. ... Finally, it was a glance at the improvement of cornerback Trumaine Johnson in recent weeks and how he'll be challenged Sunday against the Bears' big receivers.

Elsewhere:

In this week's edition of Inside Edge, Mike Sando previews Sunday's game against the Bears.

Also, the NFL Countdown crew offered its predictions for the Bears-Rams contest.

No shortage of outstanding work from the guys at ESPN Chicago on Friday (and every day).

In this week's "Bear Facts," Jeff Dickerson, Michael C. Wright and Tom Waddle break down Sunday's game.

Dickerson also provided an update on Devin Hester's potential as a cornerback.

At stltoday.com, Jim Thomas took a turn at the Long brothers story.

Joe Lyons writes that Rams guard Chris Williams is eager to take on his former team.

Columnists Bernie Miklasz and Bryan Burwell provide their preview of Sunday's game.