In The Red Zone: New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams Preview: Week 8

In the Red Zone

This Week

New England Patriots vs St. Louis Rams in London, England

The New England Patriots play the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium in London England on Sunday at 1 p.m.  The Rams have been designated as the home team for the NFL’s International Series Game.

This is the 11th regular season NFL game played outside the United States and 6th played in London.

The Patriots —- The Rams
Overall 4-3 Overall  3-4
Road record  2-2 Home record 3-1
AFC East  0-2 AFC East  0-1
NFC  0-2 AFC  0-1

Walt Coleman is the referee for the game.

The Line/Prediction

As of Thursday the line on the game from 5dimes.eu on Yahoo Sports has the Patriots at MINUS 7 1/2.  The over/under is 47. 

My Prediction is Patriots 28, Rams, 21. Take the points (Rams) and take the over.  I am 2-5 against the spread and 4 of 7 on calling the over/under in 2012.

Tickets

The NFL is reporting the game as a sell out.

Getting to the Game

If you’re lucky enough to be going to the game in Great Britain make sure you check out the links.

Here is the up to date weather forecast from the Weather Channel for the London England.

Click for all the game day information including stadium directions and parking information, parking map and a Wembley Stadium seating chart.

Tailgating

Here’s a bunch of different tailgating recipes from Tailgating.com.  There’s something there for everyone and every type of meal or snack.  I’ve tried some of the recipes and they’re very good. 

And with tailgating many people enjoy some adult beverages.  With that in mind check out Drink Nation for how to make all sorts of great drinks.  You can look things up by name, ingredient(s) or theme.

Whether it’s at the game, a bar or a friend’s house moderation is always the key to a great time.  Please don’t drink and drive and designate a sober driver.  Remember You Drink, You Drive, You Lose.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

Television

CBS in televising the game regionally and Jim Nantz will do play by play while Phil Simms will provide the game analysis.  You can look here for your local affiliate.

See if you’re getting the game courtesy of J.P. Kirby at the506.com.

The DirecTV designation is Channel 711.

Here are all the rules on NFL TV broadcasts including explaining the blackout rules; flex scheduling and commercial breaks.

Radio

The Patriots Radio Network broadcasts the game from flagship station WBZ-FM, 98.5 the Sports Hub in Boston. Gil Santos handles the play-by-play and former Patriots QB Scott Zolak will do the game analysis. It all starts with Gary Tanguay and Andy Gresh with the pregame show at 10 a.m. along the network. The post game starts after the final gun and continues for three hours along the network.

The Patriots Radio Network call is available on Sirius Channel 107 and on SiriusXM Internet Channel 818.

The Rams Radio Network has Steve Savard calling play by play and D’Marco Farr doing the color with Tony Softli on the sidelines via their flagship station ESPN 101, WXOS-FM. 

Their call is available on Sirius Channel 128, XM Channel 230 and SiriusXM Internet Channel 828.

Sports USA as well will carry the game to a national audience of its affiliates with Larry Kahn and Ross Tucker calling the game.

Patriots All Access

Patriots All-Access features behind the scenes looks, interviews and breakdowns with head coach Bill Belichick and in depth features on the team.  It’s hosted by Steve Burton of WBZ-TV (Boston) and airs weekly in most New England television markets.

  • Boston MA on TV 38 Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.
  • Providence RI on WNAC Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.
  • Manchester NH on WMUR Saturday at midnight
  • Portland ME on WMTW Sunday at 5 a.m.
  • Hartford CT on WCTX Saturday at 5 p.m.
  • Springfield MA on WFXQ Saturday at 7 p.m.
  • Bangor ME on WVII Sunday at 11 a.m.

You can also watch it anytime on the teams website in the media section.

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Last Week

The Patriots nipped the Jets in OT at home, 29-26.  The Rams lost at home to the Packers, 30-20.

History

  • The Patriots lead the all-time series 6-5, which includes a Super Bowl win.
  • The NFL designated the Rams as the home team in this game.
  • The Patriots are 3-2 as the road team in the series.
  • This is the sixth time the teams have met since the Rams moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles in 1995.
  • The Patriots have won the last three games in the series including Super Bowl XXXVI.
  • The two teams last met in 2008 in Foxboro, a 23-16 Patriots victory.

Patriots Team Notes

Here is the Patriots roster, depth chart and injury report for the game.

2012 Patriots Schedule/Results

The Patriots overall franchise record is 418-368-9.  They have won three Super Bowls (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX) in seven appearances.  Overall they are 23-16 in the post season.

They last appeared in the playoffs in 2011 when they beat Denver home in the AFC Divisional Playoff, 45-10 and defeated Baltimore 23-20 in Foxboro in the AFC Championship Game.  They lost Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants 21-17. 

The Patriots were 13-3 (2-1 in playoffs) in 2011 and are the defending two-time AFC East Champions as well as the defending AFC Conference Champions.  They have won the division 8 times and the conference 5 times since 2000.

New England will travel 11,480 miles round trip between the trips to Seattle and London or more than 11 NFL teams will travel all season.

This is second regular season outside of the United States for the Patriots.  They played Tampa Bay in London in 2009.

New England is 65-35 on the road since 2000.

The Patriots are 34-7 in October games since 2003.

If New England gets 350 or more yards of offense on Sunday they will break the tie with St. Louis for most consecutive games (16) a team has had at least 350 yards in offense.

The Patriots are 1st in the NFL in points per game with 31.0.  While they allow 23.3 points per game good for 19th in the NFL.

The New England defense has sacked the opponents quarterback 14 times this season, while their quarterbacks have been sacked 15 times.

New England is PLUS 11 in turnover differential tied for 1st in the NFL. The offense has given up 3 INT and 4 fumbles, while the defense has 7 INTs and 11 fumble recoveries. 

The Patriots are 50 for 105 (47.6%) in 3rd down efficiency and 0 for 2 (0%) on fourth down attempts.  Opponents are 40 for 91 (44%) in 3rd down efficiency and 3 for 7 (42.9%) on 4th down attempts.

New England is 18 of 31 (58.1%) in the red zone while opponents are 11 for 17 (64.7%) in the red zone in 2012.

In goal to go situations New England is 14 for 17 (82.4%) and opponents are 8 for 11 (72.7%).

Since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994 they:

  • Have the most Super Bowl wins, 3.
  • Have the most regular season wins, 197.
  • Have the most wins including playoffs, 216.
  • Have the most conference titles, 6.
  • Have the most division titles, 11.
  • Have the most playoff wins, 19
  • Have played the most playoff games, 29.
  • Are tied for the most playoff seasons, 13.
  • Have the best playoff win percentage, .671.
  • Have drafted the most Pro Bowl players, 20.

New England set the following team records in 2011:

  • Total yards, 6,848.
  • First downs, 399.
  • Net passing yards, 5,084.
  • 100+ yard receiving games, 18.
  • Games with 30+ points, 12 (tied for most in NFL history).

Patriots Staff Notes

This is the link to head coach Bill Belichick’s Thursday press conference on the Rams.

Bill Belichick coached teams are 4-1 vs. the Rams, he is 3-1 with New England including a Super Bowl win.

Overall in his NFL career Belichick is 179-100 in his 18th NFL season.  He is 143-56 with New England and 36-44 with Cleveland.  He is 17-7 in the playoffs, 16-6 as head coach of the Patriots in the post season.  When you combine his regular season and post season records he is 196-107.

Belichick’s 196 wins are good for 8th all-time. 

Belichick is one of five head coaches in NFL history whose father (Steve Belichick) played in the league.  The others are former Kansas City head coach Todd Haley (Dick Haley), former San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan (Dick Nolan), former Cincinnati head coach David Shula (Don Shula) and former NY Jets head coach Joe Walton (Frank Walton).

Belichick is one of just four coaches to win three Super Bowls, joining Chuck Noll (4), Joe Gibbs (3) and Bill Walsh (3).  Those men are all in the Hall of Fame.

He is the only coach in NFL history to win three championship titles in four seasons.

He is the only coach in NFL history to have led his team to 10+ wins in 9 consecutive seasons.

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels held the same position last season with the Rams.

Patriots Possible Starters

Offense:

  • LT: Solder
  • LG: D. Thomas
  • C: Wendell
  • RG: Connolly
  • RT: Vollmer
  • TE: Gronkowski
  • TE: Hernandez
  • WR: Lloyd
  • WR: Welker
  • QB: Brady
  • RB: Ridley

Defense:

  • DE: Ninkovich
  • DT: Wilfork
  • DT: Love
  • DE: Jones
  • LB: Mayo
  • LB: Spikes
  • LB: Hightower
  • LCB: Dennard
  • RCB: Arrington
  • S: McCourty
  • S: Wilson

Patriots Players Notes

This Tom Brady’s 13th NFL season he is 2-1 vs. the Rams including 1-0 in the Super Bowl.

Overall Brady is 128-38 as a starting QB and is 16-6 in the playoffs for an overall record of 144-44.  Brady is a 7 time Pro Bowl QB; two time NFL MVP and has won 3 Super Bowls while twice being named the games MVP.  He is also listed as the 21st Greatest Player in the History of the NFL according to the NFL Network.

He was ranked in the preseason by ESPN’s Ron Jaworski as the 3rd best quarterback in the NFL.

Brady has 312 TD passes in his career he is now 5th all-time.  Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton is 4th with 342.

Brady has 128 career wins he is 5th all-time.

Brady finished the 2011 season with 5,235 passing yards and joined Drew Brees (5,476 in 2011 and 5,069 in 2008), Dan Marino (5,084 in 1984) and Matthew Stafford (5,038 in 2011) as the only players in NFL history to reach 5,000 passing yards in a single season.

Brady has thrown for at least 1 TD in 39 consecutive games.

The Patriots are 84-16 when Brady throws at least 2 TD passes in a game.

On the season Brady is 186 of 285 (65.3%) for 2104 yards with 12 TDs and 3 INTs his QB rating is 96.9.  

WR Wes Welker now has catches in 108 consecutive games including playoffs, 91 as a Patriot.  The last time Welker did not have a catch in a game was 12/24/05 as a Dolphin.

Welker leads the team with 54 catches for 688 yards.

TE Rob Gronkowski has 32 receiving touchdowns and 33 touchdowns overall (30 receiving and 1 rushing) since 2010. The NFL record for most receiving touchdowns in a player’s first three NFL seasons is 43 by Randy Moss and the NFL record for most touchdowns overall by a player in his first three NFL seasons is 47 by Barry Sanders (4 receiving and 43 rushing).

He leads the team with 5 TDs, RB Stevan Ridley is 2nd with 4 TDs.

K Stephen Gostkowski has two field goals of 50 or more yards in 2012.  With one more he will be the first Patriots kicker with three field goals of 50 or more yards in one season.

Gostkowski (7 for 10) needs one more field goal of 50 or more yards to tie Adam Vinatieri (8 for 17) for most in team history.

He had the 2nd game winning FG in OT in his career last Sunday. 

Gostkowski is now 23-for-25 (92%) in his career in the fourth quarter or overtime when the score of the game is within seven points.

WR Matthew Slater’s father Jackie played his way into the NFL Hall of Fame as defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams.

Rookie DE Chandler Jones leads the team with 5 sacks; the other DE Rob Ninkovich is second with 4 sacks.

Jones also leads the team with 10 QB hits.

DE Rob Ninkovich leads the team in forced fumbles with 4 while Jones and LB Brandon Spikes have 3 forced fumbles each.

CB Devin McCourty leads the team along with rookie S Tavon Wilson in INTs with 2 each.

McCourty also has team high 9 passes defensed in 2012. Wilson is 2nd with 4 passes defensed.

LB Jerod Mayo leads the team in tackles through 6 weeks with 84 (55 solo).

DT Vince Wilfork has 3 recovered fumbles.

WR Matthew Slater has a team high 8 tackles on special teams, CB Kyle Arrington is 2nd with 4 tackles.

Former Rams on the Patriots are TE Mike Hoomanawanui, WR Brandon Lloyd, LB Bobby Carpenter, TE Daniel Fells and WR Greg Salas (practice squad).

New England C/G Dan Connolly is from Chesterfield MO and attended SE Missouri State.

There are only three players on the team who played on at least one of the Super Bowl championship teams, Brady (3), Branch (2) and Vince Wilfork (1).

Roster moves this week:

  • Signed LB Mike Rivera to the practice squad.

On Wednesday the following players were on the injury list.  RB Brandon Bolden (knee); CB Ras-I Dowling (thigh); S Steve Gregory (hip); LB Jerod Mayo (illness/elbow); DE Trevor Scott (hamstring) and LB Tracy White (foot) did not practice.  DE Ron Brace (back); S Patrick Chung (shoulder); WR Julian Edelman (hand); TE Rob Gronkowski (hip); TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle); LB Dont’a Hightower (hamstring); WR Brandon Lloyd (knee); G Logan Mankins (calf/hip); C/G Nick McDonald (shoulder); CB Sterling Moore (knee); T Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee) and WR Wes Welker (ankle) were limited in practice.  DT Kyle Love (knee) had full participation in practice.

On Thursday the following players were on the injury list.  RB Brandon Bolden (knee); CB Ras-I Dowling (thigh); S Steve Gregory (hip); TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle); DE Trevor Scott (hamstring) and LB Tracy White (foot) did not practice.  DE Ron Brace (back); S Patrick Chung (shoulder); WR Julian Edelman (hand); TE Rob Gronkowski (hip); LB Jerod Mayo (illness/elbow); LB Dont’a Hightower (hamstring); WR Brandon Lloyd (knee); G Logan Mankins (calf/hip); C/G Nick McDonald (shoulder); CB Sterling Moore (knee); T Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee) and WR Wes Welker (ankle) were limited in practice.  DT Kyle Love (knee) had full participation in practice.

On Friday, it was announced that Aaron Hernandez, Patrick Chung, Steve Gregory, Brandon Bolden, Ras-I Dowling, Trevor Scott and Tracy White will not play in Sunday's contest.

The Patriots captains for 2012 are QB Tom Brady, DT Vince Wilfork, G Logan Mankins, LB Jerod Mayo, CB Devin McCourty and WR Matthew Slater (special teams).

The Patriots have 5 New England natives on the roster they are: TE Aaron Hernandez (Bristol CT); OL Donald Thomas (New Haven CT); DE Ron Brace (Worcester MA); LB Niko Koutouvides (Plainville CT) and OL Jamey Richard (Weston CT – IR).  They have 14 players who played for a New England school or a Big East Conference member.  They are CB Will Allen (Syracuse – IR); DE Ron Brace (Boston College); WR Deion Branch (Louisville); RB James Develin (Brown – Practice Squad); RB Tony Fiametta (Syracuse – Exempt List); DE Justin Francis (Rutgers); S Stephen Gregory (Syracuse); DE Chandler Jones (Syracuse); CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers); OL Donald Thomas (UConn); OL Matt Tennant (Boston College); TE Alex Silvestro (Rutgers – Practice Squad); OL Jeremiah Warren (South Florida – Practice Squad) and NT Vince Wilfork (Miami).

The Patriots have 6 retired numbers: 20 – Gino Cappelletti, 40 – Mike Haynes, 73 – John Hannah, 78 – Bruce Armstrong, 79 – Jim Lee Hunt and 89 – Bob Dee.

Rams Team Notes

Here is the Rams roster, depth chart and injury report for the game.

2012 Rams Schedule/Results

The Rams all-time record is 516-510-20 and they are 19-24 in the playoffs with their last playoff appearance coming in 2004. That season the Rams went on the road and beat the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card game but lost to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional game. 

The Rams have appeared in three Super Bowls losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots and beating the Tennessee Titans (XXXIV).

The Rams also won two NFL Championships in 1945 as the Cleveland Rams and in 1951 as the Los Angeles Rams.

This is St. Louis’ first International regular season game.

The Rams will play one home game per season in London at Wembley Stadium in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

St. Louis is 2-3 vs. New England as the home team in the series.

The Rams are 26th in the NFL in points per game with 18.6.  While they allow 20.1 points per game good for 10th in the NFL.

The St. Louis defense has sacked the opponents quarterback 21 times this season, while their quarterbacks have been sacked 21 times.

St. Louis is EVEN in turnover differential, tied for 14th best in the NFL.  The offense has given up 6 INT and 3 fumbles, while the defense has 8 INTs and 1 fumble recovery.

The Rams are 30 for 88 (34.1%) in 3rd down efficiency and 4 for 7 (57.1%) on fourth down attempts.  Opponents are 34 for 91 (37.4%) in 3rd down efficiency and 2 for 4 (50%) on 4th down attempts.

Rams Staff Notes

Read what St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher had to say to the New England media about the match up.

Jeff Fisher in his 18th season as a NFL head coach is 145-124.  He is 3-4 in his first season as a head coach with the Rams; he was 142-120 in 17 seasons with Tennessee and Houston.  He is 5-6 in the playoffs all with Tennessee/Houston for an overall record of 150-130.

He is 1-5 vs. New England (including the playoffs) in his career all with the Titans franchise.

Fisher is 4th in regular season wins among active coaches with 145.

He is one of nine current NFL head coaches with NFL playing experience having played as a defensive back and punt returner for five seasons with the Chicago Bears.

Gregg Williams was supposed to be the Rams new defensive coordinator under Fisher this season but was he suspended for at least the entire season by the NFL for his part in the bounty program as the defensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints.

Williams was replaced by Dave McGinnis who is Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator.

Rams OL Coach Paul Boudreau, Sr. held the same position with the Patriots from 1997-98.  He also coached at Boston College.

Rams Asst. OL Coach Andy Dickerson was an operations assistant with the Patriots from 2004-05.  He played and coached at Tufts University.

Rams RB Coach Ben Sirmans held the same position at Boston College from 2007-11.  He also played and coached at the University of Maine.

Rams Asst. Special Teams Coach Paul Boudreau, Jr. attended Boston College and coached at Brown, Mass Maritime and Northeastern.

Rams Possible Starters

Offense:

  • LT: Hunter
  • LG: Sh. Smith
  • C: Turner
  • RG: H. Dahl
  • RT: B. Richardson
  • TE: Kendricks
  • WR: St. Smith
  • WR: Givens
  • WR: Gibson
  • QB: Bradford
  • RB: Jackson

Defense:

  • DE: Long
  • DT: Langford
  • DT: Brockers
  • DE: Quinn
  • LB: McIntosh
  • LB: Laurinaitis
  • LB: Dunbar
  • LCB: Finnegan
  • RCB: Jenkins
  • S: C. Dahl
  • S: Mikell

Rams Players Notes

Sam Bradford is in his 4th season with St. Louis after being the top overall draft pick in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma.  He has a career record of 11-22.

He has never played against New England in his career.

He was ranked in the preseason by ESPN’s Ron Jaworski as the 20th best quarterback in the NFL.

This season Bradford has completed 131 of 219 passes (59.8%) for 1592 yards.  He has 7 TDs and 6 INTs for a passer rating of 81.5.

RB Steven Jackson is the Rams all-time leading rusher with 9,473 yards.  Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson (7,245) and Marshall Faulk (6.959) are 2nd and 3rd all-time.

Jackson has rushed for 1,000 yards in seven consecutive seasons.

Jackson has the most rushing yardage among active NFL running backs.

LB James Laurinaitis leads the team in tackles with 87 (61 solo).

DE Robert Quinn leads the Rams in sacks with 7; DE Chris Long is second with 4.  They each have 12 QB hits a piece to lead the team.

CB Cortland Finnegan has a team leading 3 INTs for St. Louis.

Rookie CB Janoris Jenkins leads the Rams with 9 passes defensed in 2012.

TE Matthew Mulligan is a native of Bangor ME. 

On Wednesday the following players were on the injury list.  WR Brandon Gibson (illness); LB Mario Haggan (thigh); T Wayne Hunter (back); T Roger Saffold (knee) and DE Eugene Sims (knee) did not practice.  WR Danny Amendola (shoulder) and DT Matt Conrath (knee) were limited in practice.  

On Thursday the following players were on the injury list. T Wayne Hunter (back); T Roger Saffold (knee) and DE Eugene Sims (knee) did not practice. WR Danny Amendola (shoulder); DT Matt Conrath (knee); LB Mario Haggan (thigh) and TE Mike McNeil (knee) were limited in practice. WR Brandon Gibson (illness) had full participation.   

St. Louis captains for 2012 are QB Sam Bradford, RB Steven Jackson, LB James Laurinaitis and RB Brit Miller (special teams).

The Rams have 3 players who played for a New England school or a Big East Conference member.  They are TE Matthew Mulligan (Maine); RB Isiah Pead (Cincinnati) and LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (Boston College).

St. Louis has 8 retired numbers they are: 7 – Bob Waterfield; 28 – Marshall Faulk; 29 – Eric Dickerson; 74 – Merlin Olsen; 75 – Deacon Jones; 78 – Jackie Slater; 80 – Isaac Bruce and 85 – Jack Youngblood.

Next Week

The Patriots will have their bye week.  When they return they host the Buffalo Bills on November 11 at Gillette Stadium.  Kick off is at 1 p.m. on CBS.

Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMichaelsII

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