Amid all the Aaron Donald drama, there is a football game that will be played on Sunday. The Los Angeles Rams enter Week 1 as unlikely favorites over the Indianapolis Colts thanks to Andrew Luck’s prolonged recovery from a shoulder injury.
As with any game, there are several matchups that have the potential to decide the outcome. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Rams QB Jared Goff vs Colts Secondary
Vontae Davis will watch this game from the sidelines, and that is very good news for Jared Goff. The Colts secondary will feature several rookies on Sunday and the Rams suddenly promising WR corps will be in a position to take advantage.
It will be up to Goff to exploit this mismatch and start to silence his doubters.
Rams DT Michael Brockers vs Colts Interior OL
Michael Brockers is a very large man. Even before considering the absence of Aaron Donald, he was looked at as the anchor in the middle of Wade Phillips’ defense. The Rams will be without both of their projected DE starters this weekend. Donald via his holdout and DE Dominique Easley - who tore his ACL in camp and will miss the entire 2017 campaign.
In their absence, Brockers will be the sole focus for the interior of the Colts OL. He’s talented enough to stay productive in such circumstances, and his play will be a big tipping point for the season opener. With Ryan Kelly injured and already ruled out, I love Brockers’ chances to make a big impact.
Sean McVay vs Sean McVay
The Rams rookie head coach turned some heads when he was hired and announced that he would be calling offensive plays for the Rams. Many veteran head coaches struggle to balance play calling and head coaching duties. Will his dual-hat role be a detriment to the Rams on Sunday?
Rams CB Trumaine Johnson vs Colts WR T.Y. Hilton
This is probably the premier matchup in this game. You have a WR who has made the Pro-Bowl three seasons running taking on the highest paid CB in the NFL - who is playing for a huge contract in 2018. Hilton will have QB Scott Tolzien instead of Luck so that dims the luster on this matchup a bit, but the Colts are woefully thin at WR behind Hilton.
If Tru can contain Hilton, the Colts will be forced to rely on the ageless wonder that is RB Frank Gore and WR Donte Moncrief. That would bode well for the Rams.