At this time a week ago, it almost seemed unfathomable that the Los Angeles Rams would lose to the New York Jets. But last Sunday, the Rams would hand the winless Jets their first victory of the season, stripping them of the No. 1 overall pick that quarterback-needy teams are coveting due to Trevor Lawrence.
In the dispiriting performance against New York, Los Angeles was quickly put into a 13-0 hole after a costly interception by Jared Goff. Goff and the offense would never seem to find a rhythm throughout the contest, allowing the Jets to escape with a narrow 23-20 win.
Following their gut-wrenching loss to the hapless Jets, Sean McVay will have to rally the troops to square off with the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16. As a result of losing to New York, Los Angeles now needs to take care of business in the final two weeks if they hope to win the NFC West.
Similar to the first meeting between the Rams and the Seahawks, there are quite a few positional battles that could be the difference in a win or loss. Besides the second installment of Jalen Ramsey against D.K. Metcalf, let’s take a look at a couple of other matchups to keep an eye on during Sunday’s bout with Seattle.
Robert Woods vs. Shaquill Griffin
Last Sunday against the Jets, the Rams were unable to get anything going offensively. Goff struggled to survey his reads in the passing game, which led to relatively quiet games from both Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods.
Luckily for the wide receivers of the Rams, they get an opportunity to face an improved but somewhat misleading secondary in the Seahawks this week. After a historically awful start against the pass, Seattle’s pass defense has actually been the best in the NFL over the past month.
However, their past four games have come against non-lethal pass offenses in the Carson Wentz-led Philadelphia Eagles, the Colt McCoy-led New York Giants, the Sam Darnold-led New York Jets, and the Dwyane Haskins-led Washington Football Team.
Heading into Sunday’s pivotal division tilt, Woods will likely draw Shaquill Griffin in coverage, who is someone that Woods should have the upper-hand on. Griffin has allowed 38 receptions on 61 targets this season while also conceding a 92.6 passer rating when targeted through the air.
Darrell Henderson vs. Seattle’s front seven
Besides losing to the Jets in a disheartening fashion, things got even worse when the Rams discovered that Cam Akers suffered a high-ankle sprain in the loss. The rookie second-round pick will be sidelined for Sunday’s contest with the Seahawks and will likely miss the final week of the regular season as well.
With the unfortunate injury to Akers, Darrell Henderson is expected to be given an expanded workload in the backfield. While Los Angeles will want to attack Seattle’s lackluster pass defense, Sean McVay would be wise to run the ball as much as possible to relieve some pressure off of Goff.
Back in Week 10 against the Seahawks, Henderson rushed for only 28 yards and a touchdown in the Rams’ impressive win at home. Seattle boasts the third-best run defense in the league, surrendering only 94.6 rushing yards per game this season.
Even though Akers is a massive loss for the Rams — especially with how he’s performed in recent weeks — Henderson has a chance to prove that he can be a dynamic option out of the backfield moving forward. It will be up to Henderson and the offensive line to have an effective rushing attack in Week 16 against Seattle’s stout front seven that is led by Bobby Wagner.
Jalen Ramsey vs. D.K. Metcalf
When the Rams and Seahawks first met in Week 10, all eyes were on the much-anticipated matchup between Jalen Ramsey and D.K. Metcalf. Looking back on their previous meeting, it’s apparent that Ramsey bested Metcalf, preventing the second-year wideout from producing any explosive plays.
Despite having loads of success in previous games, Metcalf was limited to two catches on four targets for 28 yards in the first game against the Rams. Though, it’s important to note that when Ramsey covered Metcalf in Week 10, the freakish wide receiver was held to zero receptions on two targets.
Ahead of his second clash with Metcalf, Ramsey understands that the Rams acquired him to ‘stop guys like him (Metcalf)’. As for Metcalf, he’ll be motivated to make sure that he avoids having an unproductive outing for the second time against Ramsey this season.
Throughout the season, Ramsey has found himself tasked with having to cover the opposing team’s best pass-catching option. But this time around, his upcoming bout with Metcalf might be the most important one of the year given the circumstances in the NFC West.