Let’s face it, the Rams playoffs hopes are 99% over with, barring any sort of miraculous run. Nevertheless, there are still games to be played for the defending champions, with the next one coming against perhaps the best team in the NFL in Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The last time these squads faced off, it was one of the greatest shootouts in NFL history, as the Rams defeated K.C. back in 2018 in a 54-51 barn burner. However, this time around, the game will not have those same fireworks, as injuries to key players make it nearly impossible for the Rams to have, even remotely, the same success that they found against the Chiefs in 2018.
Bryce Perkins will most likely make his first career start in place of Matthew Stafford, so the offensive approach that McVay decides to take will be interesting to see. With an offense as high-powered as the Chiefs, L.A. will need to find a way to put some points on the board if they want a chance to win this game.
Here are 3 reasons the Rams WILL shock the NFL landscape and defeat the Chiefs, as well as 3 reasons they will get destroyed by a superior football team:
3 REASONS THE RAMS WILL WIN
1) CONTROL THE CLOCK, DOMINATE TIME OF POSSESSION
The fact of the matter is that the Rams have an uphill battle this Sunday, as there are very few routes to victory and they’ll have to play nearly perfect to win the game. The number one priority for L.A. is quite easy to figure out, and that is to minimize the amount of time that the Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense is on the field.
The way to do that is to try and put together long and methodical drives, making plays like small three yard gains a priority as opposed to the big shots down the field. The Chiefs have only had to defend a total of 230 rushing attempts this season, which is third fewest in the entire NFL. This means the K.C. offense has done a good job of getting ahead early, forcing teams to turn to the air-attack to try and keep up.
The Chiefs run defense is middle of the pack in terms of yards per carry against them (4.4), so there is definitely something there that the Rams can exploit. With a QB as dangerous on the ground as Bryce Perkins, I fully expect L.A. to run the ball a vast majority of the ball game.
If the Rams want to win this week, they’ll have to play ball control football and try to shorten the game as much as possible.
2) TOUCHDOWN FROM DEFENSE AND/OR SPECIAL TEAMS
As said before, there are simply very few paths to a Rams victory this week against a team as good as the Chiefs. Los Angeles will need some big plays to put pressure on K.C., and not just from their offense.
The Rams have not had a defensive or special teams touchdown all season long, and there is no better time to have a breakthrough than on the road against a superior opponent with your third-string quarterback running the show offensively.
If the Rams want to beat the Chiefs. they’ll need points from at least 2⁄3 phases of football.
3) BRYCE PERKINS MAGIC
Without Matthew Stafford, the Rams offense has looked even more elementary than it already has this season, as John Wolford’s spot start was horrible and Bryce Perkins stepping in mid-game for Stafford last week was tough to watch.
Nonetheless, this will be Bryce Perkins’ first opportunity to start a game in the NFL, as well as his first chance to take first team reps in a gameplan centered around his strengths. Sean McVay will certainly have his work cut out for him this week in terms of gameplanning, but it will be incredibly interesting to see what he does to give his QB the best chance to succeed.
If the Rams find a way to win this week, expect Bryce Perkins to play out of his mind en route to a massive upset.
3 REASONS THE RAMS COULD GET EMBARRASSED
1) PATRICK MAHOMES + TRAVIS KELCE = UNSTOPPABLE
There is a reason that the Chiefs have been to four straight AFC Championships, as a matter of fact, there are two. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, two of the best in the game at their respective positions.
Mahomes is leading the NFL in both passing yards (3,265) and passing touchdowns (28), making a case to add another MVP trophy to his young career. His favorite target, Travis Kelce, is having his best season of his career at the age of 33, leading all tight ends in receiving yards (855), receptions (69). Kelce is also leading the entire NFL in receiving touchdowns with 11 touchdowns in just ten games thus far.
The combination of those two has been incredible to watch, and their next victims will most likely be the Los Angeles Rams. If the Rams get blown out this week, expect Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to continue to dominate.
2) CAN BRYCE PERKINS THREATEN K.C. DOWNFIELD?
One glaring concern in watching Bryce Perkins, thus far, has been his lack of ability to sit in the pocket and throw accurate balls more than ten yards down the field. When Perkins took over against New Orleans last week, the offense moved more towards keeping Perkins on the move, as he seems to be much more comfortable outside of the pocket.
However, Chiefs defensive coordinator (and former Rams head coach) Steve Spagnuolo is one of the best in the game, and he will certainly put together a plan that will force Perkins to prove that he make plays from the pocket under pressure. Now, I am not saying Perkins is incapable of being efficient from the pocket, I just have yet to see it in his short time on the field.
If the Rams lose tomorrow, expect Bryce Perkins to have a tough time against a tricky Kansas City defensive unit.
3) THE CHIEFS ARE SIMPLY BETTER THAN THE RAMS
This may seem way too straightforward, well, that’s because it is. The Rams season has been an absolute nightmare, while the Chiefs season has been almost the complete opposite. The Rams are 3-7 while the Chiefs are 8-2, one team is good while the other is bad.
Sometimes, football is much more simple than some folks like to make it seem, and sometimes teams are just overmatched. This game feels like it is one of those, as the Chiefs are just much better than the Rams are right now. If the Rams get embarrassed tomorrow, expect the mismatch to be extremely apparent all game long.