The Los Angeles Rams will travel away from SoFi for the first time this season where they will look to go 2-0 in a bout with the Indianapolis Colts. Against the Chicago Bears, Matthew Stafford had a career-high passer rating of 156.1, Van Jefferson took the second pass of the game for a 67 yard touchdown, and tight end Tyler Higbee had 6 targets—anything can truly happen on Sunday. These are my bold predictions for Week 2, but before we get too far let us see how I did last Sunday:
Prediction 1: Matthew Stafford throws for 400 yards and two touchdowns
Matthew Stafford nearly had a perfect passer rating against the Bears—going 20 for 26, 321 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
Prediction 2: The defense will force two turnovers, get four sacks
LA’s defense got started early when Kenny Young tipped an Andy Dalton that fell into the arms of David Long in the back of the end zone during Chicago’s first drive. In the same quarter Justin Hollins forced a fumble that was recovered by Young. The Rams were credited with three sacks—two from Hollins and one from Donald.
Prediction 3: Darrell Henderson rushes for over 80 yards, Sony Michel scores a touchdown.
Henderson finished the game with 70 yards and a touchdown, averaging 4.4 yards a carry. He also caught one of Stafford’s passes and turned it into a 17 yard gain. Michel, on the other hand, only had one carry for two yards and spent most of his time on the sidelines observing Sean McVay’s offense at work.
Prediction 4: Van Jefferson has more receiving yards than Allen Robinson.
Jefferson’s first reception of the year was good for 67 yards and a touchdown. He had one other reception for 13 yards and finished with a total of 80 yards receiving. Robinson, on the other hand, did not fare so well and only managed 35 yards of receiving.
Now on to this week...
The Rams hold the Colts to under 14 points
The Los Angeles Rams held the Chicago Bears to 386 yards and 14 points to open the season, though that was with Andy Dalton the helm. Carson Wentz can be dangerous with his legs and his arms and has pulled some Houdini-like escapes in his career, but it remains to be seen if Wentz can get back to his prime. It won’t be easy against the Rams either, who just caused two turnovers against the Bears.
Last weekend the Seattle Seahawks did not let Wentz have a Stafford-like appearance in his first game with the Colts, though he was not the reason for his teams loss. Wentz put up respectable numbers, going 25 of 38 with 251 yards and two touchdowns but also had a fumble. Running back Jonathan Taylor could not get anything going on the run game either and was held to just 56 yards rushing on 17 carries which was good for 3.3 yards per carry.
As a whole the Colts ended up with 336 yards total, went 5 of 13 on third down conversions, and turned the ball over on downs three times.
Wentz is a familiar foe for the LA defense and has not fared well in years past. In Week 2 of 2020 the Philadelphia Eagles hosted the Rams and lost 19 to 37. In that game Wentz committed two turnovers, only completed 56.5% of his passes, and was held to 242 yards passing.
Most of the starters on the Rams defense did not play a single down in preseason, so it would be safe to say LA is just getting warmed up—evident by only one Aaron Donald Sack against the Bears. Jalen Ramsey is getting used to his new role in defensive coordinator Raheem Morris’ scheme, but so far has shined in it as he was the lead tackler against the Bears. With one game under their belt, Wentz and company will not be able to overcome the onslaught from the Rams Defense and will be held under 14 points.
DeSean Jackson get his first touchdown of the year
If you were paying any attention to the Rams offseason scrimmages you would know that the Stafford-Jackson connection was looking sensational. Highlights of Jackson putting the burners on against his fellow teammates and catching a perfectly thrown deep ball from Stafford seemed to be coming out weekly.
Yet it was Van Jefferson creating space between him and the Bears coverage catching a perfect ball from Stafford and running in for the score. Then it was Cooper Kupp on an island of his own, 15 yards from the nearest defender, walking in for an easy 56 yard touchdown. Meanwhile, Jackson had only two targets on Sunday night, good for 21 yards.
Sean McVay says he expects WFT-prime DeSean Jackson with the Rams this fall: "What I've been impressed with is I'm seeing the same player. It's never been an ability thing. It's just availability the last couple of years. ... He's going to be a big factor for us this year." pic.twitter.com/BlOQOxvXVv— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) September 8, 2021
Los Angeles did not have to do much more on offense to get the win thanks to their defense, but coach Sean McVay likely had a list of plays he never had to touch in his playbook against the Bears.
Against the Colts though, McVay will set up the perfect scheme to get Jackson behind enemy lines just like he did with Kupp and Jefferson, all Jackson will need to do is make the catch. What we saw in those scrimmages will come to life right before our eyes as Jackson celebrates his first touchdown in a Rams uniform.
Matthew Stafford throws twice the amount of passing yards as Carson Wentz
With Jared Goff traded away to the Detroit Lions in the offseason, the narrative of the first pick vs the second pick in the 2016 draft is over, but in its stead a matchup of Stafford-Wentz will takeover on Sunday. It could be explosive. Or it could be very one sided. I’m guessing the latter and predicting Stafford doubles Wentz’ passing yards.
Matthew Stafford is just getting used to McVay’s offense and still managed go 20-26, 321 yards, and three touchdowns—setting a career high 156.1 passer rating. McVay did not have to delve very deep into his bag of tricks either to beat the Bears, and was able to leave his plans for Jackson and Tutu Atwell on the sideline. The Rams offense has yet to be fully unleashed, will it be in Week 2? If that is the case then the Colts defense will have its hands full, especially after letting Russell Wilson go 18 for 23, 254 yards, and four touchdowns.
In 2020, the Rams doubled their opposing teams passing yards four times—against the Washington Football team in Week 5, the Miami Dolphins in Week 8, and the Arizona Cardinals twice in Week 13 and Week 17. The stat is a testament to just how dominant Los Angeles’ defense was last year. With Ramsey and Donald still cemented in their positions this year, the Rams look to continue their reign of dominance. LA’s defense is just now warming up after shaking off the rust against Chicago—and even then they still managed two turnovers and three sacks.
With the strong-armed Stafford backed up by what could be a repeat number one defense, Wentz and the Colts will not be able to match LA’s explosiveness through the air.
Jonathan Taylor is held to under 50 yards
The one weak spot in the Rams defense last week was their inability to stop the run. David Montgomery went for 108 yards on 16 carries and averaged 6.8 per rush attempt—though the numbers are a bit skewed thanks to a 41 yard rush on the second play of the game. Sometimes the best run defense is a good offense, and the Rams appear to have a great one. Chicago had to step away from the run game early when LA’s offense exploded. If the Rams get ahead early against the Colts, it will be much of the same this week.
It also helps that there is already a blueprint to stop the Colts running attack. Against the Seahawks, Taylor only averaged 3.3 yards per carry—though it could just be an outlier. Last year Taylor finished the season with 1,169 yards rushing and averaged five yards a carry. With an average of 77.9 rushing yards per game Indianapolis has one of the best offensive lines coming into this season. Pro Football Focus believes the Colts have the second best offensive line in the NFL. Last year Philip Rivers only suffered 19 sacks, but in just one game this year with Wentz behind center, the offensive line has already allowed three.
With a week to prepare Morris will have his team ready to stop the run. Regardless of how well the Colts offensive line had played in 2020, this year there seems to be some weaknesses up front for Indy. LA will take full advantage of the film Indianapolis put on display last week and stop Taylor from reaching 50 yards rushing.
What are your bold predictions this week and how did you do last week?