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Los Angeles Rams X-Factors To Watch Against The Titans

The Los Angeles Rams will welcome the Tennessee Titans to SoFi Stadium for Sunday Night Football. The Rams sit at 7-1 while the Titans are sitting at 6-2. Derrick Henry is out for quite some time with an ankle injury which is a huge loss for a Titans team built on running the ball. Meanwhile, the Rams lost Sebastian Joseph-Day to a pectoral injury. The Titans are a tough team despite their struggles this season and cannot be overlooked. Let’s discuss the x-factors to watch against the Titans.

Shut Down The Titans Run Game

Typically the Titans offense is fueled by Henry. It is unfortunate that he is out for this game as it would have been fun to see how Raheem Morris’ defense responded to such a powerful runner. However, with Henry out the Titans signed future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson was just signed early this week so it remains to be seen how many carries he will get. It should be noted he has not been on a team for the last ten months. Meanwhile, Jeremy McNichols has only carried the ball 7 times this season and only has 57 career carries.

Shutting down the Titans would make life hard for the Titans as their offense generally flows through the run. After a stellar performance by rookie linebacker Ernest Jones last week, it will be important to see him have another good game. The Rams will also need Greg Gaines to step up and fill the big role left by Joseph-Day. Gaines also had a great game last week and figures to be an important player moving forward. How the Rams perform against the run will be one of the more intriguing x-factors to watch this week.

Continue Good Offensive Line Play

It has been a pleasant surprise that the Rams have fielded one of the best offensive lines in football this year. They’ve opened holes for Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel as well as kept Matthew Stafford clean. They must continue their stretch of dominance this week as the Titans will be coming for them. Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons are both impact players on the defensive line. The Rams should stay balanced with Henderson and Michel despite the offense being pass-oriented.

It will be important for the offensive line to open up lanes for the running backs to keep the Titans honest. Meanwhile, protecting Stafford is paramount especially after him sitting some this week with back soreness. The last thing Sean McVay needs is to lose Stafford for any amount of time with some important games coming up in the near future. How the offensive line responds to a talented Titans defensive line will be one of the most important x-factors in this game.

Stress Tannehill

With Henry out, the Titans will have to rely on Ryan Tannehill a little more than they have this year. Tannehill has only thrown 10 touchdowns to his 7 interceptions. When under pressure his passing grade falls 40 points. The Titans have a solid offensive line and Aaron Donald and Rodger Saffold have some familiarity. That battle could be fun to watch. However, the Titans’ right guard, Nate Davis, is out with a concussion-Davis has struggled this year in pass protection and now his backup Dillon Radunz will get an opportunity. Radunz is a talented rookie but he has only seen 41 snaps this season and being baptized by Donald is a tough assignment.

Leonard Floyd has been great this year as well. He was always a good run defender and last year he broke out with double-digit sacks. This year Floyd is again on pace for double-digit sacks and looks even better as a pass rusher. Meanwhile, Les Snead and the Rams added Von Miller in a blockbuster trade recently. Miller is an elite edge rusher and his combination of burst and power will make the Rams defensive line the best in the NFL. Considering Morris’ defense already led in pressures and sacks, Miller makes an already strong group even scarier.

The defense also has rotational rushers in Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Terrell Lewis both of whom have been great when they’re on the field. Pressuring Tannehill will be key to forcing turnovers and stalling the Titans’ offense. Keeping Tannehill from getting in a rhythm will mean A.J. Brown and Julio Jones can’t get in a rhythm either. How the Rams plan and execute stressing Tannehill will be one of the most important x-factors in this game.

Big Performance For Stafford

At this point, it is no secret that the offense is led by Stafford and Cooper Kupp. I imagine that the duo continues their streak of dominance this week as well. Robert Woods and Van Jefferson are both making great plays as well. Stafford should target Janoris Jenkins and Elijah Molden a lot this week. Both cornerbacks have given up 3 touchdowns each and neither guy has made many plays on the ball. The one player I would avoid is safety Kevin Byard who has 4 interceptions and 5 pass breakups.

Tyler Higbee and Henderson may serve an important role in the passing attack this week as well. Titans linebacker David Long has allowed 31/39 targets to be completed. Again, probably the most important thing will be to recognize where Byard is and avoid him. The Rams passing attack with Stafford will be the most exciting x-factor to watch against the Titans.

The Rams prepare to take the field with Von Miller for the first time.

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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