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The 11-4 Los Angeles Rams are on top of the NFC West while enjoying a four-game win streak, their playoff spot clinched as QB Matthew Stafford continues to learn and master HC Sean McVay’s tricky offense that now includes playmaker WR Odell Beckham Jr., this Rams team poised to challenge the Packers and Cowboys for the number one playoff seed in the NFC.
Most of the almost dozen Baltimore Ravens who were on the Covid-19 list are now back on the field, but the most important factor, #8 Lamar Jackson, could be a scratch for this one based on how he looked limping around in practice this week, so now it will most likely be backup Tyler Huntley under center, not necessarily a bad thing given how well he runs the Ravens’ offense.
These two cross-conference rivals have faced each other 7 other times, with the Baltimore Ravens winning 5 of those games and the Los Angeles Rams winning 2 of the games.
One of the reasons the Rams went on a three-game losing streak starting back in Week 9 was their 16th ranked defense was struggling to keep opponents out of the end zone, Los Angeles allowing those teams to score 28, 31, and 36 in those three losses, tough totals to outscore.
Since that three-game slump it’s been all wins starting since Week 13 where the defense has kept opponents to 7, 23, 10, and 23 points while tying for fourth most sacks in the league with 42 of them, a squad that seems to be gelling as more of the playmakers get healthier.
Watch for DT Aaron Donald and LB Von Miller to excel in this one, two pass rushers who love to disrupt plays and take down running backs, with players like CB Jalen Ramsey and S Jordan Fuller having their back for any deep threats that the Ravens QB tries to target.
Though Ravens QB Lamar Jackson (ankle) is listed as questionable for this one, a game time decision by he and his coaches and medical staff, judging by the videos of him at practice this week limping around after his throws looking like he couldn’t put a lateral move on right now.
That most likely means Tyler Huntley will start under center, the now healthy backup who had to sit out last week due to Covid, not a bad situation given how close Huntley’s skill set and game plan resembles the injured starter he is filling in for again.
Huntley the second-year QB has started two games already and is 1-1 for his efforts, so far with 86 completions for 743 yards and 3 touchdowns with an interception along with 29 carries for 168 yards and 2 TDs, a dual-threat similar to Jackson that will be tough for the Rams to defend.
The Rams made two valuable midseason pickups that proved the front office was all in on a playoff and Super Bowl run, the first being star LB Von Miller who is already making defensive waves for L.A. and the other is veteran receiver and showman Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham was not fitting in the offensive scheme of his prior team, the Cleveland Browns, where he was asked to run precise routes with exact timing, his improvisational skills not appreciated when it meant that he was not open when and where he was supposed to be on the field.
Now with QB Matthew Stafford and HC Sean McVay in charge of the offense, a deep threat playmaker like OBJ makes sense, the two already figuring out how to work him in, so far in 6 games with 20 receptions for 248 yards and 4 touchdowns with more to come soon, most likely.
After the Ravens lost two of their key running backs to injury early in the season – J.K. Dobbins (knee – ACL) and Gus Edwards (knee – ACL) – HC John Harbaugh knew he would have to depend on the depth of his running back room that includes three key backs to be rotated.
Those are Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray and Ty’Son Williams along with FB Patrick Ricard, a rushing attack that, along with their mobile QBs, are now ranked fifth in the league after averaging almost 138 yards on the ground per game.
Murray the 8-year NFL veteran has been a contributing dual threat out of the backfield, this season with 92 carries for 320 yards and 5 TDs along with 10 catches for 75 yards, a key part of this rushing attack that keeps defenses shifting and second-guessing all game.
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|Rams vs Ravens Information|
|What||Los Angeles Rams vs Baltimore Ravens|
|Where||M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD|
|When||Sunday, January 2, 2022; 1:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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