Heading back into the state of California is a good feeling for the Los Angeles Rams who already have four wins there (three at home, one on the road).
This week is the end of the rounds as the Rams will officially have played every divisional rival as the San Francisco 49ers are the opponent in week seven.
Let’s take a look at the matchups to watch:
CB Marcus Peters vs WR Marquise Goodwin
After suffering an injury that looked much worse than it turned out to be, Peters toughed it out and started in the consecutive three weeks following. Two weren’t so good obviously, but the most recent versus the Denver Broncos was much better. And it comes on good timing because the Rams CB’s will play against one of the most dangerous deep threats in the league in Goodwin. On MNF versus the Green Bay Packers, Goodwin registered four receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams cornerbacks will need to make sure they keep everything in front as Goodwin has legitimate track speed.
ILB’s Mark Barron/Cory Littleton vs TE George Kittle
The explosiveness for the 49ers’ offense doesn’t end with Goodwin as George Kittle is a dangerous tight end. He’s already racked up 27 receptions for 429 yards and a touchdown. Luckily for the Rams, they have a ton of team speed and coverage ability in their linebacker group. In week 17 last year, Littleton struggled in coverage versus Kittle though he looks to be improved this season. Also, Mark Barron is one of the better (best?) coverage linebackers in the league as his skills transferred well as a converted safety.
DT Aaron Donald vs QB C.J. Beathard
Is it time for Aaron Donald’s first three-sack game of the season? I think and hope it will be. After starting the first three weeks without any sacks (well, one that was called back on penalty) AD has hit his stride with four sacks in his last three weeks. This week he gets a quarterback who loves to hold the ball and can generally struggle to make decisions. If Donald can work his magic like he usually does, I could absolutely see him wreaking havoc on Beathard all day long.
Rams ILB’s vs FB Kyle Juszczyk
You might be thinking “Huh?” here, but seriously, I listed a fullback. The 49ers run more 21 personnel than any other team in the league making Juszczyk a focal point in the run game. He only has one carry for 12 yards, but he does have 17 receptions for 227 yards and a touchdown. Not only that, but he’s a tremendous blocker with a ton of speed, power, and football IQ. The Rams’ linebackers need to stay on their p’s and q’s with Juszczyk as he can be a sneaky dangerous weapon. Not only that, but they need to be aggressive taking on his blocks and making plays in the backfield.
OG’s Rodger Saffold/Austin Blythe vs DT DeForest Buckner
Rodger Saffold sustained an injury against the Denver Broncos which knocked him out of the game and caused Blythe to slide over to LG, but he’s expected to return and play Sunday. That’s a good thing for the Rams because Saffold and Blythe are probably the best guard duo in the league right now, and DeForest Buckner is a superb interior defender who already has 4.5 sacks on the season.
WR Robert Woods vs CB Richard Sherman
According to Pro Football Focus, Richard Sherman leads the league with an average of 0.14 yards per snap allowed in coverage. Somehow Sherman is still playing well, which means whoever of the Rams’ WR’s lines up on him will have their hands full. The Rams leader in receptions and yards right now is Robert Woods, so I presume he’ll probably draw Sherman majority of the time. Woods himself is a tremendous player who seems to grow and expand every week. This battle is going to be one of two heavyweights, though I look for Woods to threaten Sherman with his lack of speed.