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Game Scout: Jaguars at Rams

The SportsXchange

Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4) at St. Louis Rams (1-3)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis - TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker

*Keys to the game: Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert might want to get the ice tub prepped pre-game. Jacksonville has allowed 18 sacks, traded LT Eugene Monroe midweek and is asking rookie Luke Joeckel to contend with Rams DE Robert Quinn, who enters with five sacks on the season. The Jaguars desperately need RB Maurice Jones-Drew (2.4 yards per carry) to find some running lanes if they harbor any thoughts of being competitive on the road. Gabbert does get WR Justin Blackmon back from suspension, but Jacksonville struggles to push the ball downfield with the offensive line incapable of establishing the pocket. The only team averaging fewer rushing yards per game than the Jaguars' 49 is St. Louis at 47.2 as the backfield committee led by Daryl Richardson continues to flounder. QB Sam Bradford has plenty of weapons to attack Jacksonville's defense with, but the Jaguars can keep it interesting if they're able to apply some pressure and produce a few turnovers.

*Matchup to watch - Jaguars RT Austin Pasztor vs. Rams DE Jake Long: An undrafted rookie in 2012, Pasztor is expected to get the start with Joeckel moving over to the blind side. He'll have his hands full with Long, a Pro Bowler who plays with a non-stop motor. Expect Pasztor to get significant help from TE Marcedes Lewis and chip blocks from running backs.

*Player spotlight - Jaguars DE Jason Babin: He leads the Jaguars with 2.0 sacks and is the team's lone consistent pass-rushing threat. However, he was also penalized three times last week, including one that nullified an interception.

*Fast facts: The Jaguars are 7-32 in their last 39 games and 2-18 in the last two seasons. ... Rams WR Tavon Austin is averaging just 4.8 yards on his 37 touches this season.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

With difficult upcoming road trips to Houston and Carolina, St. Louis must take care of an inferior opponent clearly planning for 2014 already. As long as QB Sam Bradford receives decent protection and avoids turnovers, the Rams should be able to move the ball with relative ease even minus a strong ground game.

*Our pick: Rams 27-16
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