Another week in the books, bringing life to a fresh week with new matchups, new drama, and new intrigue. The Rams are coming off a huge, crazy win behind the heroics of Baker Mayfield and are technically still alive in the playoff race (albeit a completely unlikely long shot). There is much to be excited for as a fan of the league this week as the playoff race tightens and time runs out for many teams.
The very first game of the week is the most important one to Rams fans as two rivals square off in an NFC West slug fest. The 49ers are dealing with injury as they often seem to be, losing Deebo Samuel for the unforeseeable future and relying on rookie Brock Purdy to steer the ship. If the Seahawks continue to stumble, the Rams could theoretically tie or pass them for second place in the division. Former Rams to watch: EDGE Samson Ebukam of the 49ers and C Austin Blythe of the Seahawks.
Root for: As much as I hate to say it, the 49ers. They’re impossible to catch but the Seahawks are in striking distance for the Rams in division.
In the first of three Saturday games, the dead in water Colts face the Vikings coming off a loss to their rival Lions. As a fan of football, Matt Ryan simply cannot move or throw anymore and the Colts are a miserable watch. I’d assume the Vikings get back on track here at home behind another stellar Justin Jefferson performance. Former Rams to watch: TE Johnny Mundt of the Vikings and S Rodney McLeod of the Colts.
Root for: The Colts simply to add to their win total as they are close to the Rams record wise and for potential draft order.
The Ravens could potentially be without Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley in this game which wouldn’t inspire much confidence. However, Deshaun Watson of the Browns has been as stale as the rogue potato chip found in the cushions on cleaning day. I’d assume this is a low scoring game with two offenses who will struggle to move the ball. Former Rams to watch: CB Marcus Peters of the Ravens.
Root for: The Browns for the same reason as the Colts - draft order.
I’ve tried my best to like Tua Tagavailoa this year. I wanted to believe that under the right coach and with weapons, he could be a good QB. But after what I saw last week, I just don’t buy it. He folds like a cheap suit under pressure, his arm strength is mediocre at best, and he seems injury prone. Justin Herbert outshined him in a big way last week and I assume Josh Allen will do the same on Saturday. Former Rams to watch: G Rodger Saffold of the Bills.
Root for: Either team in this AFC tilt in a game that doesn’t affect the Rams much at all
It’s quite amazing that the Eagles have rolled to a 12-1 record and are seeing MVP level play from Jalen Hurts. There isn’t a team in the NFL with a brighter future both this season and in those to come. I also love the play of Justin Fields even in a game where he’s likely to face a tough defense and be playing from behind. Former Rams to watch: EDGE Robert Quinn of the Eagles.
Root for: The Chicago Bears for draft order purposes.
I’m actually hyped to watch this game because the Falcons have finally benched Marcus Mariota for the man I placed as the headline photo of this article: Desmond Ridder. I’ve been impressed with him since preseason and have been calling for him to start for weeks. Keep an eye on him both through the air and via the ground. Former Rams to watch: WR KhaDarel Hodge of the Falcons.
Root for: The Saints as they’re tied with the Rams in the overall standings
The Lions are a pet team of mine this season even though as a Rams fan, they shouldn’t be. I just like seeing Jared Goff succeed, I like Dan Campbell a lot as a person, and their offense is just plain fun to watch. This game should be interesting as the Jets have a fantastic defense to limit what the Lions have been doing in recent weeks. This game could come down to the Mike White versus Lions defense matchup. Former Rams to watch: QB Jared Goff, WR Josh Reynolds, DT Michael Brockers of the Lions and S Lamarcus Joyner, DE John Franklin-Myers of the Jets.
Root for: The Jets for draft order and Lions/Rams trade reasons
After going down with an injury last week, Kenny Pickett was replaced by Mitch Trubisky and the Steelers offense was littered with turnovers. If he plays again this week, I’d expect a pedestrian effort and a potential win from the Panthers who are better than their record indicates. Former Rams to watch: G Austin Corbett of the Panthers.
Root for: The Steelers for a potential Rams playoff berth
QB Trevor Lawrence is questionable in this game and could end up sitting out. If so, the Cowboys should have a smooth blowout ahead of them. At 10-3 they have been a dominant force on defense and above average on offense depending on the play of Dak Prescott. There are a lot of exciting players to see in this one. Former Rams to watch: CB Darious Williams of the Jaguars and EDGE Dante Fowler Jr of the Cowboys.
Root for: The Cowboys for draft positioning
The Texans look to be cannon fodder again this week against Patrick Mahomes and the 10-3 Chiefs at home. I’m hoping for Isaiah Pacheco to have a huge game for fantasy purposes but also because I really like him as a pure runner. At best, this game will stay somewhat competitive. I have my doubts. Former Rams to watch: WR Brandin Cooks of the Texans.
Root for: The Texans for draft positioning come season end
Kyler Murray is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. This likely means the Rams have a good chance of not finishing last place in the NFC West however it may hurt their draft position. This could be the most boring game of the slate with the moribund Broncos facing Colt McCoy. Yikes. There aren’t any notable former Rams in this one.
Root for: The Broncos because I’d rather not finish in last place
Mac Jones has been visibly frustrated with his offense under Matt Patricia and the 7-6 Patriots likely face a hungry and embarrassed Raiders team in Las Vegas. This game is one of the bigger toss ups of the week and should be close throughout. There aren’t any notable former Rams in this one.
Root for: The Raiders to drop themselves lower in the draft order.
This game is an intriguing one between two AFC teams with identical records at 7-6. With Mike Williams and Keenan Allen back, Justin Herbert will be hard to beat. The Titans are coming off an embarrassing dismantling by the Eagles and look to rebound despite a dearth of receiving talent. Former Rams to watch: WR Robert Woods of the Titans and RB Sony Michel, TE Gerald Everett, DT Sebastian Joseph-Day of the Chargers.
Root for: The Titans because only one team can rule the roost in Los Angeles
Will Tom Brady and the Buccs continue to slide toward playoff elimination? Lucky for them, their division is by far the worst in the league and remains completely up for grabs. Having said that, Joe Burrow is red hot right now and the Bengals have seemed to find their footing on both sides of the football. Great QB matchup here should lead to some intrigue. There aren’t any former Rams worth discussing in this one.
Root for: The Bengals for playoff purposes
New York Giants @ Washington Commanders (SNF)
The Giants are in free fall and they face a division rival who I believe is the better team. I like Taylor Heinicke better than Daniel Jones and I’m also much more trusting of the Commanders weapons on offense. I’d expect a tough divisional rival game here but look for the Commanders to continue the Giants losing skid. Former Rams to watch: S Terrell Burgess of the Giants.
Root for: The Commanders because the Giants are far worse than their record indicates