LAFB has been speaking about the potential of a Rams vs Lions playoff game and a Jared Goff-Matthew Stafford showdown all season long and now it is just hours away. The Los Angeles Rams will head to Detroit to take on Jared Goff in what will be Matthew Stafford‘s return to the franchise he built a name with. However, while the drama sets the stage, it isn’t the feature presentation. Here’s a look at both teams as they head into what they hope is just another step up toward the Super Bowl.
Rams vs Lions Preview
The Los Angeles Rams have been ice cold and red hot at times this season. At this point, it is clear that Kyren Williams serves as arguably the biggest engine of the offense. Once the run gets going teams have trouble stopping the Rams. Since November 26th, the team has scored less than 28 points just once.
Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, and Kyren Williams sat out of Week 18. As such, this could be the healthiest and well-rested that they have been in quite some time. However, it also opens up a risk of the offense starting sluggishly on Sunday.
Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has gotten looks from other teams as the offseason coaching searches have kicked off. The biggest worry for the unit is that Morris takes his eye off the ball, leading to a lackluster performance in the team’s biggest game of the season. The defense also saw some key players receive extra rest in Week 18 with Aaron Donald and Ernest Jones both getting the day off.
As such, one worries that the unit could have a bit of a lull in the early part of the game as Donald and Jones knock the rust off. That said, since December 17th, the unit has managed to get the job done. However, there have been some leaks at times in the last month, which is worrisome against opponents that are only expected to get more difficult.
Amon-Ra St. Brown missed the cut for the Pro Bowl and will be coming into the game with something to prove. Aside from him, Jared Goff is one of the only players on the team who might be more angry and motivated than nervous. The Detroit Lions don’t make a habit of getting to the playoffs and, once here, playoff experience looms large. Put simply, the team has very little on the offensive side of the ball.
In terms of injuries, tight end Sam LaPorta is listed as questionable as is wide receiver Khalif Raymond.
As a unit, the Lions have been hot more times than cold in the latter part of the season. The Cowboys held them at bay by giving up just 19 points, but the Lions also have scored 42 points and 30 points twice since December 16th. There’s a lot of work ahead for Raheem Morris.
The team’s defense has been nothing to sneeze at. The Lions haven’t given up more than 25 points since December 3rd. While Goff, LaPorta, and Gibbs have soaked up a lot of the praise this season, the team also has a formidable unit holding opposing offenses in check as well.
Looking beyond recent performance, the strongest part of the team is their run defense, which ranks second in the NFL in yards allowed per game. This sets up the Rams for a big test with Kyren Williams. However, the team’s passing defense ranks 27th, which opens the door for Matthew Stafford to slice and dice.
One interesting wrinkle to give Rams fans a boost about the team’s chances against the unit is who they surrendered the most points to in a game. On November 12th, the Lions surrendered 38 points to the Los Angeles Chargers. Could they do the same against the Chargers’ roommates?