The 10-1 Rams are a clear cut favorite over the 4-7 Lions, and they should be. First year Head Coach Matt Patricia has struggled to get any lick of consistency from his squad and the Rams are simply among the elite teams that the Lions likely wont be able to knock off.
Let’s take a look at the matchups to watch:
CB Aqib Talib vs WR Kenny Golladay
The triumphant return of the Rams’ #1 cornerback will likely go down Sunday as it sounds like Talib will take the field for the first time since week three versus the Los Angeles Chargers. Talib will likely jump right in and cover the Lions’ top receiver in Kenny Golladay who is a tall/long/strong receiver with vice grips for hands and a knack for making contested catches. The Lions traded Golden Tate and had another receiver go to injured reserve in Marvin Jones Jr. Talib plays best against receivers like Golladay who aren’t small and shifty, so he could come out strong in his return.
DT’s Aaron Donald/Ndamukong Suh vs OG’s Frank Ragnow/Kenny Wiggins
This is likely to be the most fun and best matchup of the game. Aaron Donald currently leads the league with 14.5 sacks and should have his sights set on the single-season sack record (and not just for a defensive tackle) of 22.5 sacks. Donald has faced Stafford and the Lions twice in his career and has a total of four sacks in those two contests (three of which came in one game). Ndamukong Suh will visit the home/team that drafted him in 2010 when the Rams chose to go QB Sam Bradford instead and sounds poised to give it his all. The Lions’ interior duo of Ragnow and Wiggins have not graded well according to Pro Football Focus with Ragnow having a 65.1 grade (29th rated guard) and Wiggins a 53.5 grade (59th rated guard). Look for the Rams’ defensive tackle duo to dictate this game and ruin many drives.
LT Andrew Whitworth vs DE Ziggy Ansah
Jared Goff’s blindside protector has had more inconsistencies recently but is known to bounce back strong. Big Whit fetches a dangerous pass rusher in Ansah who is riding in with a sack in two consecutive games. Ansah has only played in five games this year by way of injury.
WR Robert Woods vs CB Teez Tabor
It’s tough to guess which receiver gets to draw the easy assignment in Tabor, but I’ll go with Robert Woods fetching most of Tabor’s coverage. Woods is a route running extraordinaire with glue for hands. With that being the case, Woods is closing in (904 receiving yards) on his first 1,000-yard season in his six-year career. Tabor has been an absolute mess this year as his PFF grade is a paltry 29.2 which ranks as the 114th-best cornerback.
TE Gerald Everett vs SS Quandre Diggs
The Rams’ secret weapon in Gerald Everett has officially been released. Everett is coming off the best game of his short career last week against the Kansas City Chiefs in which he reeled in three passes for 49 yards and two touchdowns, both of which gave the Rams a lead late in the game. Diggs is a versatile defender for the Lions who can be inconsistent. It’ll be interesting to see whether Head Coach Sean McVay makes more of an effort to get the ball into Everett’s hands.