What a difference a year makes. The Los Angeles Rams and Jared Goff take on the Minnesota Vikings and Case Keenum in a matchup of two really good NFC teams. The Vikings present one of the toughest defenses the Rams high powered offense will see this season and this game should give us an idea of just how far the Rams can go this year. These are my five Rams to watch.
MLB Alec Ogletree
Ogletree and Mark Barron have settled in nicely with their roles on defense after rough starts. Where Ogletree has really excelled this season has been as a blitzer up the middle, where he has 2.0 sacks. With rookie C Pat Elflein across the field, I think the Rams and Ogletree keep their blitzing trends up as they try to make life uncomfortable for Keenum. In coverage he’ll pair with Barron to help cover Kyle Rudolph, the Vikings 2nd most targeted player. Against the run, Ogletree and the Rams need to ensure that Jerick McKinnon can’t get to the edges and in space.
RT Rob Havenstein
I haven’t given the Rams OL a ton of love in this series but the stakes are now raised. A healthy Everson Griffen paired with Danielle Hunter makes one of the leagues better DE tandems and they’ve combined for 14.0 sacks this season. Havenstein, like many others, has been greatly improved this year in both the run and pass. A breakthrough against the Vikings stout run defense could help propel the Rams to victory as they must stay balanced offensively against this caliber of defense.
CB Kayvon Webster
Last week Trumaine Johnson was highlighted and this week its Webster. He’s going to have to cover Stefon Diggs the majority of the time and will have his hands full as Diggs is starting to regain his form from injury and leads the team with five receiving TDs. Webster is still without an interception this year but has four passes defensed and has played well at times for the Rams top-10 secondary.
QB Jared Goff
Goff has come out of the bye week on fire. After a slow first half against Houston, Goff found his way to his highest yardage total of his career against the Texans with 355-yards and three TDs. The Vikings are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum as Houston and New York but that shouldn’t deter Goff from continuing to push the ball down the field and challenging defenses. Goff and the offense didn’t have a ton of success against a great Jacksonville defense earlier in the year so I’m eager to see how much better Goff and the boys do against another great defense after weeks of more experience.
WR Robert Woods
He can’t keep this up, right? A quarter of Woods’ career TD’s have come in the last two games in which he posted 12 catches for 241-yards and 4 TD’s against the Giants and Texans. The Vikings pass defense isn’t as stout as their run defense but they still aren’t allowing many passing TD’s, having given up just 10 for the year. Woods is clearly in the hottest stretch of his career and the Rams would be silly to not keep going to that well until it runs dry. Woods is up to 59 targets, 39 catches, 622 yards and four TDs in 2017, all of which lead Rams receivers. The big plays aren’t as likely to be there against Minnesota but Woods’ role will remain as a chain mover.