Los Angeles Rams X-Factors To Watch Against The Lions

Five Rams Players To Watch For Week 1
SoFi Stadium And The Oculus. Photo Credit: Kirk Morrison | ESPN LA And Rams Analyst

Los Angeles Rams X-Factors To Watch Against The Lions

The Los Angeles Rams are welcoming the Detroit Lions and former-Ram quarterback Jared Goff to SoFi Stadium. In a twist of fate, this will be the first time Goff plays at SoFi with fans in the stands. The Rams are favored by a lot and rightly so, the Lions are terrible and that is an understatement. The Lions are trying to get their first win of the season. Meanwhile, the Rams are trying to go 6-1 to maintain pace with the Arizona Cardinals. Let’s discuss this week’s x-factors to watch against the Lions.

No More Red Jersey For Goff

We all know where this is going, Goff struggles under pressure. Even when he was playing well it was evident to many people. Without Sean McVay to help him and without the playmakers the Rams had/have, Goff just doesn’t stand a chance.

Aaron Donald and the rest of the defense are licking their chops to get the chance to finally lay a hit on the former Ram. The fans should give Goff his flowers. However, the defense should make life Hell for him, they should break his will completely. The Lions are missing a lot of players, as if they weren’t bad enough to add to their struggles.

The Lions have a struggling offensive line despite having some talent in Penei Sewell and Jonah Jackson who have given up 26 and 20 pressures respectively. Taylor Decker is on injured reserve and Matt Nelson is in his place. Nelson has given up 26 pressures. Frank Ragnow is also on injured reserve and Evan Brown is in his spot. Brown is a journeyman undrafted player.

The Rams defense is playing well right now and the edge rushers, in particular, have been coming alive recently. The plan should be to pressure Goff into taking sacks and turning the ball over as he has 10 total turnovers himself in 2021. How the defensive line welcomes Goff back to SoFi will be one of the most critical x-factors to watch against the Lions.

Take Away Goff’s Security Blankets

We know pressuring Goff is the major key here. In addition, Goff struggles when defenses take his security blanket from him. This year that is T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift. The Lions signal-caller only averages 6.3 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, Hockenson and Swift make up 37% of Goff’s target share. They have no proven receivers on offense and Goff has struggled throwing deep anyways.

Raheem Morris’ defense is predicated on making offenses and quarterbacks do things they don’t want to do. Find a way for Jalen Ramsey and the Rams defense to stifle Goff’s favorite targets and force him to throw to his less-than-stellar receivers. Eventually, the negative plays are going to come in droves for Goff if the defense remains relentless. Goff has taken 15 sacks and thrown 9 turnover-worthy passes in just 6 games thus far, he is error-prone and the Rams should look to exploit that as they know his tendencies better than anyone. The Rams ability to take away Goff’s favorite targets will be one of the most important x-factors to watch on Sunday.

Offensive Onslaught

If you thought the Lions offense was bad, well…you’re not going to find it any better on the other side of the ball. The Rams boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFL this year while the Lions have the third-worst pass rush of the 32 teams. They just are unable to pressure quarterbacks. Meanwhile, they are also giving up 4.6 yards per carry to running backs and have allowed 100 rushing yards in 5 games. Darrell Henderson should get his fair share of touches to keep balanced and he may finally get his first 100-yard game.

In addition, Matthew Stafford should have a field day with this Lions secondary. Slot corner A.J. Parker and safety Will Harris are allowing passer ratings of 144.5 and 118.8 respectively. Cooper Kupp and anyone else who lines up in the slot should have a productive day. The Lions secondary is bad all around and those are just the worst of the group.

Amani Oruwariye has 3 interceptions but is also allowing 15.6 yards per reception. Nobody else within the secondary has a single turnover. Robert Woods should get plenty of targets this game as well. The Rams should honestly put up a 40-50 burger in this game. The Rams offensive showcase will be one of the most exciting x-factors to watch this week.

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