clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Los Angeles Rams versus Minnesota Vikings: Matchups to watch revisited

Oh baby. Let’s check out the matchups and how they fared!

Minnesota Vikings v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams continue to live up to the hype by rattling off win after win. Though the defense’s performance wasn’t up to par, the special part of the team is that another phase can help pickup the slack.

Last weeks matchups to watch were interesting, so let’s take a look at them:

CB’s Sam Shields/Nickell Robey-Coleman vs WR’s Adam Thielen/Stefon Diggs

Last week’s matchup to watch:

As you can probably notice, I didn’t list Marcus Peters here as I think it’s probably the wisest decision to keep him out this week and have him full-go in week five. Now, Shields and NRC are no slouches. In very limited time Shields has managed to intercept a pass and generally play well in coverage. As for NRC, he’s one of the leagues best nickel corners who plays with a tenacity and physicality that can’t be matched. Both will need to be on their “A-games” as Thielen and Diggs are two of the best receivers in the league. Currently, Thielen is fourth in the league with 338 yards on 32 receptions with a touchdown. Across from him Diggs has registered a 16-reception, 188-yard, and three-touchdown statline.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Thielen and Diggs won this matchup. Now, it was a bit different in the game than posted here as Marcus Peters did play. As for the two cornerbacks on this list, they didn’t do great. NRC had an admirable game as he simply wasn’t targeted that much, but Shields really struggled. It’s not even a major knock either as Thielen and Diggs are one of the leagues best duo’s at WR. Still, let’s hope for a rebound performance from the defense who allowed 31 points last night.

RG Austin Blythe vs DT Sheldon Richardson

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Austin Blythe is one of the biggest surprises this Rams team could have imagined. Taking over for suspended starter Jamon Brown, Blythe has been a brilliant plug-and-play option at RG. Not only that, but he’s been absolutely outstanding - arguably the leagues best right guard through three games. This week he’ll have a tough matchup with Sheldon Richardson coming to town. Richardson only has one sack on the season but we all know the impact a player can have outside of a statline (see: Donald, Aaron). Luckily for the Rams, they’ll have some familiarity with Richardson as he was on the Seattle Seahawks’ team last year.

Blythe: 1, Richardson: 0. Not only was Austin Blythe once again brilliant, the entire Rams’ offensive line was. Jared Goff was upright all day outside of one sack and the running game averaged five yards a pop. Blythe continues to make progress moving forward and not looking back. At this point, the thought of Jamon Brown regaining his job sans injury seems nearly impossible.

QB Jared Goff vs FS Harrison Smith/MLB Eric Kendricks

Last week’s matchup to watch:

You may ask, what the heck is this matchup? Well, this is going to be a cat-and-mouse game if there ever is one. Jared Goff is obviously the leader of the Rams offense as he has the freedom to make calls at the line and identify coverage’s/players prior to the snap. Harrison Smith and Eric Kendricks are the two guys who’ll do the same for the Vikings (mainly Kendricks). Smith is one to watch out for as he is as versatile as they come regularly being found all over the field and playing robber against QB’s with his high football IQ.

Jared Goff didn’t just toast these two, he picked apart and demolished every single Vikings defender. Going 26/33 for 465 yards with 5 TD’s and 0 INT’s, Goff was absolutely masterful. He made multiple pin-point passes. He was slinging dimes all over. He was outsmarting the Vikings defense play-after-play. It doesn’t get much better than this performance as Goff managed to put out some quarterback porn.

Rams’ DL vs Vikings’ OL

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Yup. As with most weeks, the Rams’ defensive line is going to be absolutely crucial in this game. Last years matchup with the Vikings was so frustrating because the Rams got so much pressure on Case Keenum but regularly let him break sacks and extend plays only to move the ball downfield. Hopefully this time around the defensive line is able to connect more by roughing up Kirk Cousins and potentially logging a few sacks. If there’s ever a week for the DL to get on track, it’s this one.

This matchup felt like a tale of two halves. In the first, the Vikings’ offensive line did a tremendous job keeping QB Kirk Cousins upright and letting him operate cleanly. Things began to take a turn towards the end of the game though, and that likely has to do with the Rams’ defensive line knowing the Vikings were in a passing situation with nearly no threat of the run. DT Aaron Donald registered two sacks on the night, Ndamukong Suh managed his second on the season rushing off LE, and rookie John Franklin-Myers put the game on ice with a strip-sack that finished the game.

Head Coach Sean McVay vs Head Coach Mike Zimmer

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Two of the leagues best play callers get to face off again after the Vikings were victorious in 2017. McVay is an offensive savant and will definitely have a innovative gameplan for the team who just got smoked 27-6 by a rookie QB in Josh Allen. On the opposite side, Zimmer is one of the leagues best defensive coaches and has trademarked the “double-a gap” style of play. Whether that means an aggressive blitz package with solid man coverage in the back-end or a strong four-man pass rush with the LB’s dropping into coverage, the Rams will need to communicate.

Yeah, Sean McVay won this battle. Absolutely everything the Rams ran worked. They were effective running the ball, screens went for big yardage, the deep passes tore up the Vikings, and the Rams by my count only registered one single 3-and-out. Masterful.