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Rams Rooting Guide: What to watch for in Week 13

What are the other, more fun teams up to this week?

NFL: Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into Week 13, Rams fans have entered a foreign, almost forgotten mindset. The 2022 Los Angeles Rams are looking toward next season already and will be spectators for the playoffs. This has changed the nature of these posts for me but as an avid fan of the NFL in general, I’ll continue to give a few reasons why each game should interest any fan base. Regardless, it’s always productive to pay attention to what other teams are doing, which players are having success entering free agency, and to keep a finger on the pulse of the league as a whole.

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (TNF)

These two divisional rivals have had some classics recently and there could be intrigued in a week where Josh Allen is clearly playing through injury and Mac Jones is coming off of his best performance of the season. Divisional matchups tend to be more contested and I’d expect the Patriots to keep this close until the end despite a talent discrepancy. Von Miller won’t be active this game due to injury.

Former Rams to watch: G Rodger Saffold of the Bills.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Atlanta Falcons (10:00 PST)

This game is a true toss up with two teams playing very uneven football on offense. The Steelers are stumbling through Kenny Pickett’s rookie mistakes week after week and the Falcons still refuse to bench Marcus Mariota despite a clearly anemic passing attack that should be much more effective on paper. I’d expect this to be a relatively defensive game with a few turnovers.

Former Rams to watch: WR KhaDarel Hodge of the Falcons.

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears (10:00 PST)

This game would have a lot more intrigue if Aaron Rodgers and Justin Fields were fully healthy. However, they aren’t and both are questionable and likely to miss this one. The greatest rivalry in the NFL will be watered down with a matchup of Jordan Love versus Trevor Siemian.

Former Rams to watch: EDGE Justin Hollins of the Packers (he had a sack in his debut last week).

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Detroit Lions (10:00 PST)

These two teams have both gotten hot in recent weeks with Trevor Lawrence appearing to finally turn a corner with that tremendous potential. The Lions narrowly lost last week but have been playing good football on offense. I expect this to be a high scoring game. Injury to Travis Etienne could mean some real snaps for ex-Ram Darrell Henderson. Let’s see if he looks better without horns.

Former Rams to watch: RB Darrell Henderson, CB Darious Williams of the Jaguars and QB Jared Goff, WR Josh Reynolds, and DT Michael Brockers of the Lions.

New York Jets @ Minnesota Vikings (10:00 PST)

Zach Wilson has been relegated to the bench long term with the emergence of backup Mike White. The Jets have quietly been one of the most talented teams in the league this season and could look to stun the Vikings who are on track to contend for the top seed in the NFC.

Former Rams to watch: S Lamarcus Joyner, DE John-Franklin Myers of the Jets and TE Johnny Mundt of the Vikings.

Washington Commanders @ New York Giants (10:00 PST)

QB Taylor Heinicke has led the Commanders out of the darkness and into playoff contention and they look to prove they’re a more legitimate contender than the division rival Giants who have stumbled recently. This is a game that won’t garner as much attention as it should but could end up being the true gem of the week.

Former Rams to watch: S Terrell Burgess of the Giants.

Tennessee Titans @ Philadelphia Eagles (10:00 PST)

On paper, this is the obvious marquee matchup of the week. Both of these teams have proven to be powerhouses and lock horns in an AFC matchup where both will look to establish the power running game. I suspect a Titans upset here but I wouldn’t recommend putting money on it.

Former Rams to watch: EDGE Robert Quinn of the Eagles and WR Robert Woods of the Titans.

Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens (10:00 PST)

The biggest letdown team of the NFL season (beside the Rams) travels to Baltimore to face the Ravens who are in the center of the AFC playoff race. I expect the Broncos to the lamb heading to slaughter here as they’ve shown a complete lack of pulse on offense and Russell Wilson is half the player he was when terrorizing the NFC West years ago.

Former Rams to watch: CB Marcus Peters of the Ravens.

Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans (10:00 PST)

I’m most excited to watch this game as an NFL fan. Deshaun Watson will make his Browns debut against his former team. There is plenty of drama and intrigue in this one but I primarily want to see how Watson plays after missing so much time. He has a talented offense at his disposal and he’s taking on a hapless defense.

Former Rams to watch: WR Brandin Cooks of the Texans.

Miami Dolphins @ San Francisco 49ers (1:05 PST)

I love this matchup because the apprentice (Mike McDaniel) takes on his former master (Kyle Shanahan). Both teams employ very similar offensive schemes and have similar pieces. This game could be heavy in points but the Niners do have a clear advantage on defense. Can Tua, Tyreek, and Waddle stack up enough points to win?

Former Rams to watch: EDGE Samson Ebukam of the 49ers.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals (1:25 PST)

A rematch of last season’s AFC championship will involve two teams coming off wins with marquee QBs in Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow. This is another great game on a great slate of games and one that NFL fans will surely be tuning into. WR Ja’Marr Chase could be back this week. There aren’t any notable former Rams taking the field in this one.

Los Angeles Chargers @ Las Vegas Raiders (1:25 PST)

The best football team in Los Angeles travels to Las Vegas to play the desperate Raiders. One more loss and the Raiders are likely to be watching the playoffs from home. I could see this game ending in a multitude of ways but I tend to assume Justin Herbert will find a way to win especially as WR Keenan Allen returns to form.

Former Rams to watch: TE Gerald Everett, RB Sony Michel, DT Sebastien Joseph-Day of the Chargers.

Indianapolis Colts @ Dallas Cowboys (SNF)

I don’t see the Colts being able to stop the juggernaut Cowboys at Jerry World. Dallas has a better offense, a better defense, and is simply operating at peak levels. The Colts have struggled on offense with an aged Matt Ryan behind center and an ineffective Jonathan Taylor.

Former Rams to watch: EDGE Dante Fowler Jr of the Cowboys and S Rodney McLeod of the Colts.

New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (MNF)

The final game of the week 13 slate sends the uninspiring Saints to Tampa Bay to play a mediocre Buccaneers team. I’d assume Tom Brady gets back in the win column here and it’s a pivotal game for him if the Buccs want to contend for the playoffs. There aren’t any notable former Rams in this one.