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Cleveland Browns vs. St. Louis Rams Game Preview

Who: St. Louis Rams

When: Oct. 25

Where: Edward Jones Dome

Series history (last meeting): 9-10 (Rams 13, Browns 12 in 2011 at FirstEnergy Stadium)

The coach: Jeff Fisher

The stakes: Only one of the Browns' 2015 road opponents had a worse record last season than the Rams. St. Louis is certainly tough and improved, but this is a game neither team can likely afford to lose.

Matchup to watch: Cleveland's O-line vs. St. Louis' D-line - The Rams already had one of the NFL's best defensive lines thanks in part to some shrewd drafting and the emergence of Aaron Donald. And then they went and added Nick Fairley in free agency. The Browns, of course, could have one of the NFL's best offensive lines thanks to the return of Alex Mack and addition of Cameron Erving. This will be the ultimate strength-on-strength matchup in the trenches.

Offseason storyline: The Rams made one of the offseason's biggest splashes when they traded former No. 1 pick quarterback Sam Bradford to the Eagles for Nick Foles, who had his ups and downs as Philadelphia's starter over the past couple of seasons. This has given off the perception of a fresh start in St. Louis, but there's also a sense of urgency to win now after years of missing the playoffs.

Biggest addition: Foles. How can it possibly get bigger than a new QB1? Foles' arrival signals a new era for the Rams, who were patient with the injury-prone Bradford but were ultimately stuck with subpar quarterback play more often than not. Foles has a lot of upside, but he'll be under the microscope in his first season without Chip Kelly's offense setting him up for success.

He gone: Typically it'd be tough to fill the shoes of a player like DT Kendall Langford, who is now with the Colts. But the Rams were in a position to let Langford walk and essentially bring back the same kind of firepower on their defensive line.

The star: DE Robert Quinn has made the Pro Bowl the last two years and is among the NFL's best at his position. He has 40 sacks over the past three seasons and is considered a cornerstone of the Rams' franchise.

The X-Factor: The Rams were behind one of the draft's biggest headlines when they selected Georgia RB Todd Gurley with the 10th overall pick. There's optimism Gurley, who tore his ACL in his final college game, will be ready and 100 percent at the start of the season, but that's something that can't be guaranteed. The Rams are in good shape if he's not, as Tre Mason dazzled during his rookie season, but they'll have a completely different dynamic to their offense with a fully functioning Gurley.

They'll make the playoffs if…: Foles elevates the passing game … speedy playmaker Tavon Austin finds a regular, useful role in the offense … Gurley and Mason provide one of the best one-two punches in the NFL … if the defense is as good as advertised.

The season will go south in a hurry if…: Foles struggles to grasp his new offense and doesn't perform better than previous Rams QBs … the offensive line, which is very young, plays like one of the worst O-lines in the NFL … no one emerges as a No. 1 wide receiver … the NFC West proves to be as daunting as it's been in recent years.

Expert take: "I thought it was something the Rams at least felt they just needed to do to move forward, not to be worrying if Sam Bradford was going to be healthy again." -- Howard Balzer, Sirius XM NFL radio host

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