The Los Angeles Rams are off to their best start in 17 years and will look to further their lead in the NFC West standings.
Their cross-town rivals in the Los Angeles Chargers are likely an inferior opponent when the roster is broken down, though their consistent injury crisis doesn’t help at all. With DE Joey Bosa being ruled out of the game, the Rams’ offensive lineman's jobs just became slightly easier.
Let’s take a look at the matchups to watch for in this game:
LT Andrew Whitworth/RT Rob Havenstein vs OLB Melvin Ingram
Melvin Ingram is one of the best pass rushers in the league. Luckily for the Rams, Andrew Whitworth is also one of the best in the league - though his job is the exact opposite of Ingram. With Joey Bosa ruled out, the Chargers will rely heavily on Ingram (1.5 sacks last week) and blitzes to try and affect QB Jared Goff. Since Ingram moves around the formation, both Whitworth and Rob Havenstein will need to be ready for battle come Sunday.
CB’s Marcus Peters/Aqib Talib vs WR’s Keenan Allen/Mike Williams
This is going to be one of the funnest battles of the entire week three NFL slate. Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib both have plenty of familiarity playing the Chargers as both were division rivals for years. In four years of battles with QB Philip Rivers, Talib only registered one interception though his shutdown coverage ability has been among the leagues best. Peters is a different enigma as he logged four interceptions and a forced fumble in six games against the chargers. Both corners will need to be on their p’s and q’s facing one of the best WR’s in the league in Keenan Allen.
Rams’ DL vs Chargers’ OL
The Rams’ defensive line has been as advertised: simply dominant. They’ve been so good that the opponents’ gameplans have been to simply get rid of the ball as quick as possible and avoid the punishment the Rams’ defensive line is capable of dishing out. As good as that formula has been for the Rams the first two weeks, it’s time to make hay. Philip Rivers loves to drop back in the pocket and throw the ball to every level. The Rams’ defensive line will finally get the chance to actually rush the passer and accumulate some sacks.
WR Brandin Cooks vs CB Casey Hayward
Brandin Cooks is the top dog for the receiving core. Casey Hayward is the top dog for the Chargers’ secondary. This is going to be one hell of a battle from two brilliant football players. Look for both sides to win some battles, though Cooks has shown a penchant for making huge plays with the Rams in his first two games.
K Sam Ficken vs. himself
Sam Ficken is a clear step down from the pro bowl kicker that is Greg Zuerlein. Ficken went 2-for-3 last season with the Rams with a long of just 23 yards. Ficken also went 4-for-5 on extra points. Ficken seemed improved this preseason going 2-for-2 on field goals and 2-for-2 on extra points. Let’s see how Ficken fares in his first regular season game back.
ILB Cory Littleton/SS Marqui Christian vs RB Austin Ekeler
Many people will ask: why not RB Melvin Gordon? Well, I think Ekeler is the more explosive/dangerous player. Gordon is only averaging 5.9 yards per touch with Ekeler averaging 9.3 yards per touch. Ekeler is much more shifty and dangerous as a receiver and Rivers loves to check the ball down. Look out for Littleton and Christian to be in coverage most of the game.