The Los Angeles Rams have placed every chip they had left in their pocket and moved them to the middle of the table as 31 other teams watched Les Snead once again flip the NFL universe on its head when he completed yet another trade. Von Miller is a Ram. If you told me that it was possible heading into Week 9’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday Night Football that the Rams would have two future Hall of Famers playing on the same line I would say you were crazy, yet here we are.
But Snead has made the impossible seem possible once again. Whether or not these moves will pay off is yet to be known and a win over the 6-2 Titans will help solidify LA’s chances of proclaiming that they have the best roster in football. However, these are not the Titans of last week, as Derrick Henry will miss the remainder of the season. That has pushed the Rams to being 7-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, and yet we know that Tennessee is not a team that can be overlooked.
The Rams should see a lot of A.J. Brown on Sunday night, but perhaps also hear Miller’s name shouted out multiple times during the game as well. Those and two more bold predictions for Week 9’s tilt against Tennessee.
Von Miller get his first pair of sacks as a Ram
General Manager Les Snead sent shockwaves through the National Football League when it was announced on Monday morning that eight-time pro bowler and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller would be joining Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd on the Rams defensive line. After just a week of practice in his new home Miller will make his first appearance in a Rams uniform during Sunday night football. All eyes will be on Miller in unfamiliar colors and with the stage perfectly set for the 10 year veteran I predict he ends the night with two sacks.
Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris may take it easy on Miller in his first game and limit his snaps but more than likely we will see Miller a lot on third downs and obvious passing downs. The future hall of famer is known for making quarterbacks pay when they hold the ball for too long. With Jalen Ramsey in the backfield and Darious Williams coming back from injury Miller should have plenty of time to do just that.
With the addition of Miller on the defensive line the Rams now pose a disturbing problem for enemy offenses. It is a pick your poison type of grouping. If they decide to double or even triple team Donald Miller and Floyd will simply just have to win their one-on-one matchups. No matter how many tight ends or running backs an offense brings in as extra blockers between the three players one is bound to break through the line. The Titans will be the first ones to face the trio and their one hope to negate the pass rush just hurt his ankle and is out for possibly the rest of the season.
After two weeks of poor special teams play the unit looks well improved
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for the special teams unit. The Detroit Lions were able to stay in the game against Los Angeles in Week 7 when they stole three possessions with a successful onside kick and two fake punts that went for first downs. Though the Rams had the game in control last Sunday against the Houston Texans they failed to recover an onside kick for the second week in a row.
LA has also not been able to firmly put their trust into a return specialist this season. They have cycled through players during both kickoffs and punts and after watching DeSean Jackson walk out of the building this week and with Tutu Atwell out for the rest of the season after undertaking shoulder surgery there are more questions at the position then there were at the beginning of the season. Cooper Kupp has been the sure-handed choice to call fair catches but more than likely is not expected to attempt a return any time soon as he continues to re-write history. It may take a practice squad member getting activated ahead of Sunday’s matchup to indicate who will be returning kicks.
Regardless of the issues they have been having on that side of the ball I believe that they will be much improved this week. Los Angeles has one of the best coaching staffs in the league and will have an answer for the weaknesses they have shown. Against the Titans the Rams will avoid the costly mistakes on special teams as kicker Matt Gay continues to his streak of making field goals.
Ryan Tannehill is forced to air out the ball a lot
The unfortunate news that one of the NFL’s best could be out for the rest of the season was released after Derrick Henry sustained an ankle injury last weekend against the Indianapolis Colts. The Rams will instead take on newly signed free agent Adrian Peterson and fifth year journeyman Jeremy McNichols.
Ryan Tannehill hand off to Adrian Peterson: pic.twitter.com/D2BKysi9Ah— Ben Arthur (@benyarthur) November 4, 2021
With Henry out of the game and the Rams offense sure to put points on the board Tennessee will more than likely be playing from behind and head coach Mike Vrabel will have to abandon the run game early leaving the match in the hands of Tannehill who has only thrown over 300 yards once this season. Due to the Rams high powered offensive attack and some unfortunate injuries I believe that Tannehill will drop back to throw 40+ times on Sunday.
In 2021 the Titans ninth year veteran has only attempted more than 40 passes twice this season—in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks in a victory and in Week 4 against the New York Jets in a loss and finished below 100 QBR in both games. The Titans offense is predicated on the run but when trailing from behind are not afraid to turn to the pass game. Against the Rams it may be there only hope of staying in the game.
Rams convert on every red zone trip
Though last weekend was a complete blowout by the third quarter it could have been even more lopsided if not for a couple of red zone mishaps. Matthew Stafford just barely missed Darrell Henderson on a fourth-and-1 at the three yard line in the first quarter and then was not able to punch it in a second time when he let a pass sail high out of the reach of Kupp in the end zone at the nine yard line.
The Rams currently rank 10th in touchdown conversion rate at 65.79% in the red zone after eight weeks which is an increase of 7.98% from last year. Over the last three games they have shown steady improvement, scoring touchdowns 75% of the time within in the 20 yard line. As Stafford has become more in tune with his pass catchers the percentage rate has steadily climbed and I believe this week against the Titans it will hit an all time high as the Rams score a touchdown on every red zone trip.
Darrell Henderson looks to be in for a monster game pic.twitter.com/rkWdbXWOu2— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 31, 2021
Tennessee has also not been very good at stopping teams in the red zone. They have allowed 18 touchdowns this season which puts them near the bottom third of the league in red zone defense. They also have allowed opposing teams to get the red zone often as the opposition have ran plays 93 times within the 20 yard line against them. With so many weapons for McVay to utilize and exploit the mismatches I expect that on Sunday it all comes together for both play caller and quarterback.
What are your bold predictions for Sunday night’s matchup? How excited are you to see Von Miller in a Rams uniform? Let me know in the comments below!