After consecutive losses, the Los Angeles Rams will try and right the ship in Week 6, hosting a Carolina Panthers team that is going through big changes. The 1-4 Panthers are coming off a 37-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and will have both a new head coach and quarterback.
Coach Matt Rhule was let go after serving a little less than 21⁄2 seasons of a seven-year contract and a composite 11-27 record. He was replaced, on an interim basis, by Panthers defensive assistant Steve Wilks. This is Wilks’ second stint in Carolina, he served previously fro 2012 through 2017, moving from defensive backs, to assistant head coach, and on to defensive coordinator. He has 11 NFL total seasons under his belt, specializing in the secondary and was the Arizona Cardinals head coach in 2018.
PJ Walker steps in at quarterback for Carolina after injury to starter Baker Mayfield. He has been the Panthers backup since 2020. He has two starts, winning both and over his career completed 62 of 106 passes (58.0%) for 628 yards with two touchdowns. Walker came to Carolina and was reunited with a college coach, the now-fired Matt Rhule, after standing out in the now-defunct XFL.
On offense, the Panthers are led by running back Christian McCaffrey. After two injury-filled seasons, he seems to back to full speed. Over his first three years, he averaged over 2,000 yards of all-purpose yardage. So far in 2022, McCaffrey has 324 yards on 72 carries (4.5) and two touchdowns. He has added 188 yards receiving on 26 catches and a TD.
Overall defensively, Carolina is in the bottom half of the league, better against the pass than run. Linebackers Shaq Thompson (34) and Frankie Luvu (32) lead in tackles and edge Brian Burns, who has been speculated as a possible future Ram, has four sacks, six tackles of loss and six quarterback hits.
The line keeps moving, typically in favor of Carolina, but for now the Rams are 9.5-point favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Rams have had numerous issues on offense, but for the second consecutive week they have an opportunity to get the run game on track. The Panthers have given 689 yards on the ground, an average of 138 yards per game. Even without the inactive Cam Akers, L.A. should be able to find success on the ground if they stay with it.
How to follow the game
Date: Sunday, October 16
Kickoff: 1:05 p.m. PST
Location: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca.
Watch it live: Fox (regionally) and DirecTV Sunday Ticket
Live stream: Sling TV, L.A. Rams official app, NFL Plus, Hulu Live, fubo TV, DirecTV STREAM (formerly known as AT&T TV), and many others.
Listen: ESPN LA 710 AM and affiliates, KLSD 1360 AM (San Diego), KKUU HD2 (Palm Springs), KTIE 590 AM (Riverside), KAVL 610 AM and 106.7 FM (Lancaster), KSMA 1240 AM and 99.5 FM (Santa Maria), and KMET 1490 AM (Banning), 93.1 Jack FM, and Tu Liga 1330 AM and affiliates, KTMZ 1220 AM (Pomona), KWAC 1490 AM (Bakersfield), KGST 1600 AM (Fresno), KCAL 1410 AM (Riverside), and KXLM 102.9 FM/KOXR 910 AM (both in Oxnard/Ventura).
Current betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook
Line: LA Rams -9.5 -105 / Carolina Panthers +9.5 -115
Over/under total: 41.5 -110
Money line: LA Rams -450 / Carolina Panthers +360