KC Chiefs 2014 schedule preview: Beating the St. Louis Rams

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing the series of early looks at the Chiefs 2014 opponents, we stay in the NFC West. Can the Chiefs beat their cross-state rivals, the St. Louis Rams?

Let's check in on John Dorsey after letting multiple starters slip through the cracks during the past week.

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Yep, he totally meant to do that.

Look, I'm not saying he should have paid as much as those players wanted but acting like the Chiefs wanted to lose that many contributors is just asinine. Regardless of whether the long-term payout is positive, this week sucked -- and there's no way to logically dispute that. That said, this article and future schedule preview articles will take into account the profound ... suckiness of this past week.

As a refresher, here are the Chiefs 2014 opponents.

HOME: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks

AWAY: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers

Previews completedArizona CardinalsSan Francisco 49ers

Today we look at the St. Louis Rams. Let's get started.

Team: St. Louis Rams

2013 record: 7-9

Biggest offseason priority: Finding any way to not be Mitch McConnell campaign ad-bad on offense

Last game against the Chiefs: Todd Haley and the Chiefs beat a pretty decent Rams team in St. Louis by a score of 27-13.

Passing Game

Who has the advantage when the Rams pass the ball?

If you include Jeff Fisher and Kellen Clemens mom, you know how many people are happy with the fact that Kellen Clemens was responsible for roughly half of the Rams passing attack last year? One -- maybe. Although I'm not sure that any such dissatisfaction is exactly eased with the promise of the return of Sam Bradford -- a guy who's been the worst possible combination of injury-prone and a 6'4, 224-pound model of mediocrity.

Sure, saying the Chiefs passing defense "is a little suspect" is like saying that a root canal "isn't that much fun", but is anybody here really worried about the Rams moving the football through the air? Just putting eleven warm bodies on the opposite side of the ball virtually guarantees that they won't do much damage.

Comparing the two team's stat sheets doesn't do justice to the truth of the matter. The Chiefs were a team learning a new playbook with new players leading the way -- the Rams had the same players and same head coach as the year before. Look at the last eight games for both teams, and there's a clear difference -- a difference that gives even the Chiefs passing defense some hope.

Advantage: Chiefs

Who has the advantage when the Chiefs pass the ball?

On the other hand, the Chiefs seemed to prove -- at least at the end of the season -- that with Andy Reid calling the plays and Alex Smith slinging the ball around, they are capable of doing more on offense. Is Smith the best QB in the league, or even in the top five? No, but if everybody on the team played as well as he did down the stretch, the Chiefs would have had a good shot at homefield advantage -- and a possible victory or two -- in the playoffs.

Like every other team in the NFC West, the Rams finished the year in the top 10 of rushing yards allowed, but unlike most of those teams, they were significantly worse when defending the pass. They weren't exactly awful, but when you combine their stats with the fact that they didn't exactly face the league's best QBs on a regular basis, you get the clear picture that they were solidly below average.

Advantage: Chiefs

Running game

Who has the advantage when the Rams run the ball?

All things considered, the Rams weren't that bad at running the ball effectively last year. They started a 5'8 former Vanderbilt running back, and still managed to put up near-mediocre numbers on the ground in the best defensive division in the NFL.

The Chiefs stop the run about as well as Taco Bell stops the runs, and Jeff Fisher is pretty smart, so I don't like this matchup very much.

Advantage: Rams

Who has the advantage when the Chiefs run the ball?

The homer in me wants to say that the Chiefs have a clear advantage here, but it's actually really close. As I mentioned earlier, the Rams were a top 10 running defense last year, and they played a number of otherwise unspectacular offenses that are nonetheless extremely proficient at running the ball.

Still, the Chiefs have Jamaal Charles, so they're set, right? Actually, remember that suckiness we talked about earlier? That should worry you -- at least a little. It might not matter against teams that aren't so good at stopping the run, but when you're talking about trying to run against a team like the Rams, losing some of your mainstays on the offensive line is certainly less than optimal. Before this week I probably would have given a slight edge to the Chiefs, but I just can't do it now.

Advantage: Even

Who has the advantage on Special Teams?

As I've said in each previous article, the Chiefs have the advantage here until something changes drastically.

Advantage: Chiefs

Who has the coaching advantage?

This is a close one, and there are a lot of similarities between Fisher's tenure in Tennessee and Big Red's time in Philadelphia. I'm kind of tempted to call it dead even, but Fisher-coached teams haven't finished above .500 since 2008.

Advantage: Chiefs

Who has the overall advantage in the matchup?

This largely depends on how the Chiefs core players react to the roster shakeup, but until something changes, I like the good guys in this one.

Advantage: Chiefs

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