Beginning the backend of their 2019 schedule, the Los Angeles Rams head on the road to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10. Currently sitting at 3rd place in the NFC West and just outside the playoff picture in the NFC, the Rams have ground to make up, so expect to see urgency from the former NFC Super Bowl representative.
Let’s get into the matchups to watch:
DT Aaron Donald versus RG David DeCastro
Donald returns to his home for the first time as he hails from Pittsburgh and played college ball there (Pitt Panthers). The expectation is that the leagues best player will want to put on a show in his hometown, but it’ll have to come at the hands of one of the best interior offensive lineman in the league in DeCastro. Donald is a certainty for a handful of big plays every game, but this extra motivation may push him to craft the best game he’s ever played.
RT Rob Havenstein versus EDGE T.J. Watt
Watt — just like his brother J.J. — is a superstar, but in a different sense. T.J. is a more athletic and speedier/lighter player than his brother. Watt is up to 7.5 sacks on the season with 31 combined pressures, which tops the league. He’ll have a ton of reps against Havenstein on the right side, and that feels like a clear advantage to the Steelers in this instance. Big Hav will need to return to 2018 form, simply so the offense isn’t derailed due to a lack of time for QB Jared Goff.
WR Cooper Kupp versus CB’s Mike Hilton/Cameron Sutton
The Steelers like to deploy two players in the nickel. The first is Hilton, who they prefer to use in run support, but especially as a blitzer because he might be the leagues best blitzing DB. When in passing situations, they trot out Sutton as he’s the superior coverage defender. Regardless of who’s in coverage, neither stands much of a chance when covering Kupp one-on-one as the Rams’ safety blanket has taken the next step into stardom post-ACL injury.
Rams RB’s versus ILB Devin Bush
The rookie linebacker has been a weapon in the run game and a source of big plays for the Steelers, but he’s struggled mightily in coverage. The Rams don’t use their running back trio of Todd Gurley, Malcolm Brown, and Darrell Henderson very much in the pass game, but they should test the waters against the rookie early and often.
CB Jalen Ramsey versus WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
JuJu may not suit up in this one as his foot injury has rendered him a limited participant in practice, but he’s the Steelers’ best offensive player and should be shadowed by Ramsey if he does play. JuJu isn’t a burner and has lacked the same explosive plays he became known for in his first two years (probably due to QB), but he’s still a very capable weapon who plays with a ton of physicality. Ramsey won’t back down from anyone, making this one of the more intriguing matchups for football lovers.