With Jahvid Best on the physically unable to perform list--it's not an injury so much as the lingering effects of post-concussion syndromes--and Mikel Leshoure suspended for two games to start the 2012 season, the Detroit Lions will have to rely on Kevin Smith as their starting running back in Week 2 vs. the St. Louis Rams. That's good news for the Rams, who for all their trouble with injured defensive backs really distinguished themselves, in 2011's lost season, by having one of football's worst run defenses. (Things are compounded to start the 2012 season by an injury to rookie DT Michael Brockers.)
Of course, the Detroit Lions aren't exactly well-known for their exploits out of the backfield; under former Rams coach Scott Linehan they ran the ball just 356 times in 2011. But if the Rams' defense seemed to struggle last year in a very particular way, allowing one big, back-breaking rush after holding the other guys' offense to a hard-fought draw through three downs. If they can avoid that, at least, against Kevin Smith and the Lions' diminished run attack, they'll have a sliver of a chance against Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and company.
For more updates on Sunday's Rams vs. Lions game, and up-to-the-minute score, fantasy, and injury updates, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis's Rams-Lions storystream.