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Los Angeles Rams X-Factors To Watch Against The Texans

The Los Angeles Rams are heading to NRG Stadium to take on the hapless Houston Texans. The Texans are 1-6, are starting a third-round rookie quarterback, traded away their top rusher, and have a disgruntled receiver. That is not a recipe for success. The Rams need to blow them out and make a statement after letting the Detroit Lions scratch and claw their way to a near victory. This is the final “easy” game before a tough AFC opponent and a division rivalry game. The Rams need to continue to win to keep pace in the NFC playoff race. Let’s look at the x-factors to watch against the Texans.

Make The Rookie Uncomfortable

Davis Mills took over as the starting quarterback due to an injury. He has thrown 7 interceptions in 6 games on 9 turnover-worthy plays. He has also taken 15 sacks. His play has been very Jared Goff-esque. When under pressure his completion percentage falls to 51.4%. Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd need to continue leading the defense and force Mills into giving up the ball.

The Texans tackles have done a solid job in pass protection. However, the interior offensive line has struggled at times. Meanwhile, the Rams have one of the best pass-rushing units in the NFL led by Donald. If the edge rushers can challenge the tackles consistently, then eventually the interior pressure will get to Mills and result in a tough offensive day for Houston. Pressuring Mills into mistakes will be one of the most critical x-factors this week.

Eliminate Cooks

Brandin Cooks is the Texans leading receiver by a very wide margin. In addition, Mills loves to throw the deep ball despite the relative lack of success. Cooks makes up 34% of the Texans receiving production. As such, Raheem Morris should let Jalen Ramsey do what he does best and shadow the number one receiver. Ramsey is the best cornerback in the NFL and he can take away the Texans best offensive player all on his own. Talk about a tough situation for a rookie quarterback who really wasn’t ready to start in the NFL yet.

Unfortunately for Mills, the Texans don’t have a reliable option to throw to outside of Cooks. There is not another receiver with over 150 yards for Mills. Taking away Cooks will result in a really tough day for the rookie signal-caller. Raheem Morris’s willingness to let Ramsey shadow Cooks and how that matchup plays out will be one of the most interesting x-factors to watch.

Let Stafford Fire Rockets

Matthew Stafford is the engine of the Rams offense. He is in the MVP discussion and rightfully so. He’s on pace for 5,270 yards and 46 touchdowns. He has made 13 big-time throws compared to just 5 turnover-worthy plays. Houston, we have a problem. Stafford is one of the best deep-ball throwers in the NFL and the Texans safeties have given up a total of 467 yards and 7 touchdowns to quarterbacks. Meanwhile, the rest of the Texans secondary isn’t very good either. Sean McVay should attack via the air constantly. Allow Stafford to throw rockets against the Texans until NASA decides he should work for them.

As has become customary, with Stafford firing laser-fired darts, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods should again have big games. Stafford’s ability to carve up the Texans’ secondary will be one of the most exciting x-factors to watch on Sunday.

Joshua Kollack

Author Joshua Kollack

I am a husband and father of three of the coolest kids on the planet. We also have a Yellow Lab named Luna. My “regular” job is as a nurse. I was involved in sports journalism in high school and studied mass communications before nursing school. I played offensive and defensive line from the fifth grade through high school. I have been a huge football fan since I was young and I grew up a fan of the St. Louis Rams. I’m also a fan of the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Lakers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and Illinois Fighting Illini. I’ve been following the NFL Draft since I was 10 and enjoy scouting prospects. When I’m not working I am spending time with my family or traveling.

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