Five games can say plenty about sports teams.
After five games of the NFL and college football season, how do you feel about the Missouri Tigers and the St. Louis Rams? I bet it’s not the same.
What will happen in Game 5 of the NLDS between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday night at Busch Stadium?
Yes, the Rams won last Sunday over Jacksonville, improving to 2-3 on the season.
But anyone who has watched the Rams this season would agree that things aren’t right.
Nothing is clicking on offense, defense or special teams.
“We have to improve, yes. Obviously, you correct wins, losses, and you have to move forward, but I think we can,” said Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher. “I think we did some things we can build on, scheme-wise on both sides of the ball. Defensively, we have to tackle better and we need to learn to rush better with our backers.”
Special teams have been a disaster with one penalty after another.
“Special teams, obviously, the penalties are of a concern, but we addressed it this morning (Monday), each and every one of them,” Fisher said. “It’s frustrating for our returner (Tavon Austin) in that there’s been a number of quality returns called back.”
I’m hearing a lot of talk about Sam Bradford, and if he’s living up to his high expectations.
For Bradford to be successful, he needs help around him. I still have faith, but everyone around him, offensive line, running backs, receivers and coaches, needs to be better.
Five games into the season, I’d have to say the prospects aren’t good for the Rams.
Will they win another division game this season? With a Monday night home game against Seattle (Oct. 28) and road contests against the 49ers, Cardinals and Seahawks, it seems unlikely.
Plus, the Rams have games remaining against Indianapolis, Chicago and New Orleans, just to name a few.
“It’s not easy winning games in the NFL, especially with some of the issues we’ve had in the past month,” said Rams defensive end Chris Long.
It’s not easy winning games in the SEC either, but Mizzou is off to a good start after last week’s 51-28 thrashing at Vanderbilt.
The Tigers have done exactly what they needed to, win their first five games.
Business really picks up starting Saturday with an 11 a.m. kickoff at Georgia. After that, there are consecutive home games against Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Sticking with our five-game theme, the five key games down the road for Mizzou are those three home games and road dates at Kentucky and Ole Miss.
Winning three of those games would be nice, four would be great.
I’m throwing out this week’s Georgia game and the season finale at home against Texas A&M. If you win one or both of those, that’s icing on the cake.
Even if you lose to Georgia and Texas A&M, win three of the five key games and Mizzou is 8-4 and going to a nice bowl game. Win four of those five and the Tigers are 9-3 and playing in a New Year’s Day bowl game.
It will be interesting to see how James Franklin and the Tigers hold up during this rugged SEC stretch.
Five games will decide this Cardinals-Pirates NLDS we’re all enjoying.
With Adam Wainwright on the mound and the Cards at home, you have to like their chances.
The Cardinals have to find a way to get to Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole, who shut them down in Game 2 at Busch Stadium.
The key for the Cardinals offense is leadoff batter Matt Carpenter. He’s had a great season, but has struggled in this series. He needs to get on base and set the table for Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and friends.
The winner of Game 5 advances to the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Game 1 is Friday night, hopefully at Busch Stadium.