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Los Angeles Rams at Detroit Lions: Matchups to watch revisited

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Aaron Donald resembled a lion hunting a gazelle all Sunday long

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Los Angeles Rams v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

If you didn’t notice, the Los Angeles Rams returned from their bye week with an off performance on Sunday but still did enough for a comfortable win.

The Rams improved to 11-1 and essentially all but ended the Detroit Lions’ hope at anything playoff related as their record dropped to 4-8.

Let’s revisit the matchups to watch:

CB Aqib Talib vs WR Kenny Golladay

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

I don’t believe he drew a ton of Golladay in coverage, but Talib was really solid in his return. He essentially gave up nothing in his coverage and nearly had an interception on a pass that came in so hot it hit him in the chest. Talib was held out of the second half as he was on a snap count. He looks like he’ll be full-go next week against the Chicago Bears.

DT’s Aaron Donald/Ndamukong Suh vs OG’s Frank Ragnow/Kenny Wiggins

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

Ndamukong Suh didn’t make much of an impact as a pass rusher though he did register six tackles and looked good in the run game. Aaron Donald on the other hand was an absolute menace drawing holding calls, racking up two sacks, and another four tackles-for-loss. Donald is on pace to have the greatest statistical season we’ve ever seen from a defensive tackle. Enjoy the history, folks.

LT Andrew Whitworth vs DE Ziggy Ansah

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

I don’t believe Ziggy Ansah’s name was called once outside of a roughing the passer call where he hit QB Jared Goff right on his knees. Andrew Whitworth was spectacular, as per usual.

WR Robert Woods vs CB Teez Tabor

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

Robert Woods was the Rams’ leading receiver on the day with five receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. His contested catch on the right sidelines was absolutely gorgeous. As for Tabor, well, he was inactive.

TE Gerald Everett vs SS Quandre Diggs

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

Gerald Everett was a relative non-factor with only one reception for 7 yards, though he could have registered more. There were two plays where he and Goff couldn’t hook up, one of which would have went for a decent gain. Quandre Diggs on the other hand notched himself an interception which Jared Goff threw into triple coverage, and had a textbook big hit in the current NFL on Robert Woods that was nearly a massive completion.