On the flip side, Washington is coming off a disappointing season opening loss to NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles. You better believe they’re looking to avoid an 0-2 start at the hands of the the Rams upstart Rookie head coach.
Here are matchups to key on if the Rams are going to win the McVay Bowl.
Aaron Donald vs ‘Football Shape’
Everyone associated with the holdout situation has played two cards this week. First, they will assure you that Donald is in great shape and will be ready to roll this weekend. Immediately following that, they will tell you that ‘football shape’ is different than being ‘in shape.’ Somewhere in there they will also mention that Donald’s snaps will be monitored.
How much Donald will be held back remains to be seen, but his snap count will reveal a lot about how Sean McVay and Wade Phillips plan to re-incorporate him into defensive gameplans.
Sammy Watkins vs Josh Norman
Watkins has integrated into the offense at a pretty quick pace since being traded to the Rams 5 weeks ago. He will likely see a lot of Norman on Sunday. Norman is widely regarded as one of the top CBs in the NFL and Watkins will have his work cut out for him. I give the edge to Norman here, but Sammy may be able to bust a big play or 2 given McVay’s propensity to use the long ball and Washington’s suspect safeties.
Kirk Cousins vs Wade Phillips’ Pass Rush
To say that the Rams Defense impressed in Week 1 is a huge understatement. They held the Colts to three FGs and notched TWO touchdowns in addition to a safety. They’ll face a much more competent Washington offense in Week 2.
Cousins struggled against the Eagles in Week 1 and I think the combination of Wade Phillips and McVay’s familiarity with Cousins will make for a looooooong day for Cousins.