Contenders or pretenders?
We’re getting to the point of the football season where teams are put into one of those two categories.
I’m not sure yet where to put the St. Louis Rams.
When you have a good defense, like the Rams do, you always have a chance. At the same time, you need some kind of offense.
The Rams had more sacks (nine) than completions (seven) in last week’s 17-3 win over Arizona.
I’m not complaining. A win is a win, especially when we’re talking about the Rams.
The loss of receiver Danny Amendola for possibly six weeks worries me. Someone else, whether it’s Steve Smith, Brandon Gibson or Chris Givens, better step up.
Another thing that worries me about the Rams is their upcoming schedule.
The Rams need to find a way to win Sunday at Miami. As we know, winning on the road is a major issue for this team.
Following the Dolphins, the next three games are against the Packers (home), Patriots (London) and 49ers (road), so going to 4-2 this week is important if we’re thinking about contending for a playoff spot.
Win or lose, the Rams are a much different team under Jeff Fisher. The team plays hard for their coach. It’s nice to finally see some tough, hard-nosed defense.
Speaking of defense, that’s about the only thing Mizzou has done decently this season.
Sheldon Richardson is having a great season at defensive tackle. Cornerback E.J. Gaines will be in the NFL one day.
Overall, the MU defense has played well enough to win most games.
Missouri’s special teams, with the exception of the punt return unit, is horrible. How is it that MU can’t find a punter, kicker and long-snapper?
The offense is really struggling. Quarterback James Franklin isn’t healthy. The offense line is beat up, forcing younger and inexperienced players into action.
Mizzou doesn’t have a prime performer at wide receiver like it has in the past, such as Jeremy Maclin or Danario Alexander.
Freshman Dorial Green-Beckham was a big-name recruit, but has yet to prove anything with the Tigers. T.J. Moe has had good seasons in the past, but can’t seem to get the ball this year.
I’m not sure if the spread really works against SEC defenses. Those slow-developing running plays are being eaten alive by speedy defenders.
Here’s the bottom line. This is Mizzou’s worst football team in a long time, probably in all the years Gary Pinkel has been in Columbia. It doesn’t matter what conference the Tigers are in; SEC, Big 12, Big 10, they’d still be losing.
Top-ranked Alabama visits Columbia this Saturday in a nationally televised game. Backup quarterback Corbin Berkstresser, a redshirt freshman, will start for the Tigers.
This is going to be ugly.
On to brighter topics, like high school football.
We have two games remaining in the regular season and then district play begins.
It’s going to be quite a battle to determine the Class 4 District 3 champion.
Six of the eight teams currently have winning records. Five teams are 5-2 or better. There’s a chance seven teams will have winning records when district play begins.
We know that Sullivan and St. Clair both are very strong. Borgia is up and down, but is more than capable of getting hot.
Westminster showed us something by winning last Friday at Borgia. We know Ladue will be fast and athletic.
The team I’ve been keeping an eye on all season is Priory. The Rebels have scored at least 28 points in all seven of their games. They put up 28 points in a loss at John Burroughs, one of the best teams in Missouri. They hammered Westminster 49-14 and beat a good Mater Dei, Ill., team last Saturday, 56-21.
If the season ended today, we could be looking at a Sullivan-Priory district semifinal game.
It’s going to be an interesting district to follow. I honestly have no idea who’s going to win it.
Washington is in good shape in Class 5 District 4.
The Blue Jays currently are less than two points behind Camdenton for second place in the standings.
Remember the top two teams in Class 5 receive first-round district byes. Wins over Zumwalt East and Howell North could push the Jays into the No. 2 spot behind Lebanon.
Camdenton has games remaining against Joplin and Glendale.