1st Stance: Offense
The Bears are a modern-day conundrum; on the one hand, they are 5-1 and leading the NFC North. On the other hand, they have only a 12 point differential (PF 128 and PA 116) through week 6. So who are they? They changed QBs at the week 4 mark from Mitch Trubisky to former Rams and Superbowl MVP Nick Foles but are struggling on the O-line to block to protect or to gain rushing yards. The Bears gained an average of 2.5 yards per carry against the Carolina Panthers last week (ranked 31st against the run). And yet, they are winning, even if it is ugly. Even Foles will pile on by saying “would you rather win ugly or lose pretty?”
The Rams offense should be well rested after their bye week, which is the only way that I can try to explain what happened against an injured division rival. Taking nothing from the 49ers, the Rams helped to beat themselves in a prime-time slot and the offense was a big part of that loss. Only real bright spot from the last game was Darrell Henderson – he is getting great blocking but is grinding out yards himself:
Darrell Henderson is thriving despite defenses loading the box against him https://t.co/lCQ9HwpfUg
— Rams Wire (@TheRamsWire) October 21, 2020
Hard edge to the Rams here – although the Bears are winning ugly, they are not doing it with offense and the Rams offense is legit per PFF:
I think we doing alright Ramily haha https://t.co/8ddAskcWLk
— JBro | SoCal Designs (@JBroFronk) October 21, 2020
2nd Stance: Defense
The Bears defense will be the best defense the Rams will have faced to this point. No knock on the Bills defense, but the Bears defense is stout. To put it simply, the Bears are 5-1 because of the defense, period. They are holding their opponents to ~57% completion percentage (number 1 in the NFL) and have only 4 passing TDs surrendered in the air which is astounding considering they have played against Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady and Teddy Bridgewater (ok, and Daniel Jones). Additionally, they have allowed the fewest (9) TDs this entire season. Any team with a talent like that of Khalil Mack is going to be tough to scheme and execute against.
The Rams are doing some outstanding things on defense and are ranked number one in net yards per pass attempt (at 5.4 NY/A). Improvements obviously need to happen in run defense and the linebacker corps, interestingly enough the 2nd quarter has been an issue as well but the second half this season has been LIGHT OUT:
NFL points allowed
1: Ravens 17.3 (6 games)
2: Cardinals 18.7 (6 games)
3: Steelers 18.8 (5 games)
3: Dolphins 18.8 (6 games)
5: Rams 19.0 (6 games)
— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) October 20, 2020
#Rams Defense Points Allowed Per Quarter:
1st: 4.0 (9th) – Last Year: 4.1 (T-11th)
2nd: 10.7 (27th) Last Year: 7.2 (18th)
3rd: 1.7 (4th) Last Year: 4.4 (T-9th)
4th: 2.7 (1st) Last Year: 7.1 (9th)
— DOWNTOWN RAMS [DTR] (@DowntownRams) October 21, 2020
This could be a low-scoring, ugly affair and that favors the Bears as they have been winning ugly. As both defenses are on a roll and basically a coin flip, this is a push for this week.
3rd Stance: Special Teams
The Rams made a move this week to bring in “Cobra” Kai Forbath to shore up the kicking game and it remains to be seen how he will be utilized, but the Rams fans base is excited as the Samuel Sloman experience has been rocky at best. While it is unlikely that Forbath will debut for the Rams in this game, he would be available if necessary.
The Cowboys signed him last year on December 9th, and he didn't miss a kick for the rest of the season. Made 10-of-10 field goals and 10-of-10 extra points.
Smart move. https://t.co/q8guLssQ44
— Rams Brothers (@RamsBrothers) October 20, 2020
The Bears kicker, Cairo Santos, was named special teams’ player of the week last week, so he is on a roll. If special teams was all about the kickers, the Bears would clearly have an edge but this game is likely to come down to field position and there is no one better in the game than Johnny Hekker at pinning opponents deep and this is likely to be a key to the game. As this looks to be a major factor, edge to the Rams this week in special teams.
4th Stance: Intangibles
- Coaching: Sean McVay versus Matt Nagy. They have faced each other twice, both earning a split. McVay has had more NFL success to this point, edge to McVay.
- Trend/Mojo: The stock is up for the Bears as they just keep winning. The Rams stock, on the other hand, is down coming off the loss from last week. Mojo is with the Bears for this matchup.
- NEW CATEGORY: Tweet of the week from Jourdan Rodrigue – If you are not following Jourdan, you are missing out, she is the BEST. If you are not subscribing to The Athletic, you are REALLY missing out as she goes deep into Rams coverage that you should not miss.
And to be slightly more specific, this year the Rams have 21 days to activate him to their 53-man. He will certainly be back in time for Seattle, barring any setback, because there is added leeway with the bye week. https://t.co/MvUZZFiC4x
— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) October 21, 2020
This is great news for the Rams and will absolutely help their defense against the run and allow for more exotic looks and packages. A’Shawn Robinson could possibly play as early as Monday night!
- Key Injuries: As of posting
- Questionable for this week: Sherrick McManis (DB, hamstrong), Buster Skrine (CB, ankle), Akiem Hicks (DE, illness), Rashaad Coward (T, finger), Deon Bush (DB, hamstring)
- Injured reserve, expected return this week: Eddy Pineiro (K, groin)
- Injured reserve: James Daniels (G, pectoral), Tarik Cohen (RB, knee – ACL), Michael Joseph (CB, undisclosed), Darion Clark (TE, undisclosed), Artie Burns (CB, knee – ACL)
- Los Angeles
- Questionable for this week: Darrell Henderson (RB, thigh), Tyler Higbee (TE, hand)
- Injured reserve, expected return this week: Joe Noteboom (G, calf)
- Injured reserve, expected return week 10: Obo Okoronkwo (LB, elbow), Jordan Fuller (SS, neck)
- Injured reserve: Justin Lawler (LB, foot), Travin Howard (LB, knee – meniscus)
- Weather is irrelevant as the game is at SoFi stadium
- Total non-sequitur: Shout out to Mike Greenberg – love the “Greeny’ plan for the NFL Playoffs – any team that wins the division but finishes < .500 should go on the road, and I agree. Keep the integrity of the structure, but don’t reward the subpar performance with a home game.
Through week six, points scored/allowed are telling and help form the prediction for this game:
Points scored and allowed vs their schedule averages
Top right= good O, good D
bottom right= good O, bad D
top left= bad O, good D
bottom right= bad O, bad D
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) October 21, 2020
Rams win this one 27-16 and get their mojo back.
Author’s note: One of our own needs your prayers!
Please #Ramily we ask you send what ever prayers or positive vibes you can our way. One of our DTR family members needs them big time! 🙏
— DOWNTOWN RAMS [DTR] (@DowntownRams) October 21, 2020