After the Los Angles Chargers got a playoff-clinching win against Indianapolis in primetime it’s time they take on the Rams for the Battle for LA. Even though this matchup isn’t the thriller many thought it would be when the schedule was released, both teams are looking to keep it close. The last time these two teams met Philip Rivers and Jared Goff led the teams, so there’s been a lot of change on both sides. Let’s review the matchups, keys to win, and some stats to note in this intra-city matchup.
Matchups to Watch
Pass Rush vs Rams O-Line
The Rams offensive line struggles have been a big reason why this season hasn’t gone their way. They’ve played myriad combinations due to injuries or other reasons resulting in a shaky unit. When they’ve played the past couple of games, however, the same combination has looked decent. The Chargers should be expecting Joey Bosa back from injury. With both Khalil Mack and Bosa on the defensive line, it should be a matchup for the Bolts to exploit.
Rams Secondary vs Chargers Passing Game
The Bolts passing game has been one of the league’s best when airing it out, but the same can’t be said for the Rams secondary. Jalen Ramsey has been the only stable aspect of their unit despite him having a down year. It’s comprised of an interesting mix of rookies and mediocre veterans. It’s certainly a matchup to exploit considering the Bolts have one of the best WR duos in the league.
Leonard Floyd vs Trey Pipkins
Leonard Floyd has had a slow start to his year, but in the second half of the season, he’s really warmed up. He’s the Rams primary pass rusher with Aaron Donald sidelined with a knee injury so all focus should be on him. Pipkins will have a challenge on the edge with Floyd being the Rams sole pass rush contributor these past few weeks.
Keys to Win
Short Passing Game
The Rams run a defensive scheme where the defensive backs play a lot of off-coverage, meaning they’re separated 5-7 yards from the receivers. This allows for receivers running slants and quick routes to get a solid chunk of yards before being met by a defender. Utilizing this in the game plan, the short passing offense like wide receiver screens and slant routes should allow for an easy few yards every time.
Ekeler as a Receiving Option
Austin Ekeler should pose a pretty big threat in the receiving game. The Rams have struggled against catch-and-run players like Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel. The Chargers love to run him as an easy check down for Herbert and it should be a good matchup against the Rams defense. Using him as a check-down option when the defense is playing two-high shell coverage on the back end should be a good option for Herbert when other receivers are covered and let Ekeler do the rest
Stats to Know
The Chargers are 7-1 in their past eight games when listed as the favorite
The Chargers have allowed the 6th least rushing yards in their past three games
Cam Akers has averaged 75 yards a game in the last three games
Under Baker Mayfield, the Rams have had a different leading receiver in every one of his starts