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Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders: Matchups to watch revisited

Lets take a look at who won the matchups mentioned prior to the game

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the game on Monday Night Football, I had my matchups to watch in the Los Angeles Rams’ game vs the Oakland Raiders.

All turned out to be major wins for the Rams, so let’s take a look at the matchups and how they fared.

Battle #1: RB Todd Gurley vs. MLB Derrick Johnson

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Gurley is a man amongst boys simply put. After destroying the league last year, look for the Rams running back to start out hot in week one vs the Raiders. The Raiders simply lack speed on the defensive side of the ball, and that’ll be exposed by soon-to-be 36-year old linebacker Derrick Johnson. The Rams should run the ball early and often stretching the Raiders defense both vertically and horizontally (outside zone runs). Lastly, the Rams should look to expose Johnson in space by motioning Gurley around and letting him use his open field speed and great catching ability.

Yeah, the Rams won this one. Gurley had 23 total touches gaining 147 yards — majority of which came in the second half — and a touchdown. Gurley was tremendous as usual on the night. The outside zone the Rams run worked well, either gaining large amounts of yards on the ground or allowing the offense to work a heavy play action passing game that tore the Raiders’ secondary apart.

Rams 1 - Raiders 0

Battle #2: WR Brandin Cooks vs. CBs Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The entire stable of Rams receivers will be dangerous in this game (Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp), so I don’t mean to single out Cooks. The best part about the potential for Cooks in this game is his electrifying speed and ability to alter defenders’ gameplans because of it. If (more like when) the Rams can get their running game going, look for the offense to set up a few playaction deep shots to Cooks (particularly on the post).

Simply put, Brandin Cooks was a major problem for the Raiders’ secondary. Even though he only registered five receptions for 87 yards, his impact was downright dominant. Cooks drew two pass interference calls that gained around 80-90 yards in total. Not only that, but he also had another post or two where he had a defender beat deep but an overthrown pass by QB Jared Goff negated the win.

Rams 2 - Raiders 0

Battle #3: Rams’ DL vs. Raiders’ OL

Last week’s matchup to watch:

The Raiders will start a rookie first-round pick at LT in Kolton Miller. In base downs, he may get some reps vs DT Aaron Donald. Good luck son. Moving forward, the interior battle is going to be a display of insane talent on both sides. The Raiders’ interior offensive line is loaded with LG Kelechi Osemele, C Rodney Hudson and RG Gabe Jackson. The Rams’ trio counters as Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers. This is going to be one hell of a matchup throughout the game. Look for both sides to win some battles.

Even though the Rams only registered one single sack, the defensive line absolutely dominated the game. You’d be silly to think the Rams’ defensive line didn’t impact the game and completely stifle the Raiders’ gameplan which was clearly centered around not allowing the Rams’ defensive line and secondary to win the game. Among that, the defensive line drew multiple holding calls and had another Aaron Donald sack negated due to hitting the quarterback low.

Rams 3 - Raiders 0

Battle #4: CB Marcus Peters vs. QB Derek Carr

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Peters has played the Raiders five times in his career; he’s registered four pass deflections, two interceptions, and a forced fumble in those games. Peters is a skillful and smart gambler at the cornerback position. Not only that, but he has the most elite ball skills in the NFL today. Carr knows all this as Peters is a former Kansas City Chief — a division rival. Look for these two to try and outsmart each other based on their familiarity with each other.

Oh yeah, the funnest part of the game came here. Marcus Peters (and the remainder of the Rams CB trio) were hardly tested in the game as the Raiders’ gameplan was to clearly avoid attacking the star-studded trio. Instead, they picked on the LB’s and SS John Johnson III in coverage. Peters’ impact even extended into the run game where he held contain on the edge and made multiple tackles on his cousin, RB Marshawn Lynch. Obviously the best part of the night was when Peters was in coverage vs TE Jared Cook — he essentially ran the route for the tight end, picked the pass off, and took it 60 yards back the other way for a defensive score in his hometown of Oakland.

Rams 4 - Raiders 0

Hell of a start for the Rams. Lets see how they can improve as they face-off with a division rival in the Arizona Cardinals in week two.