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3 reasons Baker Mayfield and the Rams can upset the Raiders

How Baker Mayfield, Josh Jacobs, and Tutu Atwell could be the difference in Thursday Night Football matchup

Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams are enduring a six game losing streak, uncharted territory for a Sean McVay football team. Nevertheless, there are five more games to be played for the defending champions and they will surely do all that they can to finish a disappointing season on a high note and first on deck to start the turnaround is Josh McDaniels.

Newly acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield could make his Rams debut in the primetime lights of Thursday Night Football against a Las Vegas Raiders team on a three-game winning streak. How could McVay coach his team to an upset victory? What could go wrong in a desperately needed moment of hope?

Here are three reasons that the Rams will put an end to their losing streak, but also three reasons that they will lose a seventh straight football game:



Carolina Panthers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

In a somewhat surprising move, the Carolina Panthers waived former number one overall pick Baker Mayfield on Monday. The Rams claimed Mayfield, opening the door for a possible start in Thursday’s game against Las Vegas because McVay doesn’t feel strong about his other options.

Mayfield has struggled this season, as he has posted an absurdly low QBR of just 18.3. With that being said, Baker has shown that he has the ability to play solid football in this league in the past, so the Rams seem to be giving a man with a lot to prove a crack at reviving his career.

The Rams have switched between quarterbacks John Wolford and Bryce Perkins since Matthew Stafford began battling injuries, and both Wolford and Perkins have shown that they may not be NFL-caliber quarterbacks. Mayfield will provide more experience at the position than Wolford and Perkins combined, along with some actual arm strength to push the ball down the field and open up the opportunity for more splash plays for the offense.

When the Rams defeat the Raiders, expect Baker Mayfield to add something to the offense that has been missing since Stafford went down.


Seattle Seahawks v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Last week, Rams fans saw a little glimpse of what Tutu Atwell can offer to a struggling offense that has lacked big plays as of recent. Atwell undoubtedly has game-breaking, unteachable speed at the receiver position and, although undersized, proved he is capable of creating some real separation along with making tough catches.

Atwell had a total of 6 touches for 71 yards in last week's loss to the Seahawks, a career-high in touches for the second year man out of Louisville. With the possibility of newcomer Baker Mayfield getting the nod at quarterback, Atwell will be able to show his full capabilities with a quarterback that can uncork the ball 50+ yards downfield, opening up the opportunity for Atwell to explode against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL.

When the Rams win, expect Tutu Atwell to have the best game of his young career thus far.


Houston Texans v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Raiders have averaged 29.7 PPG over the duration of their three-game winning streak, with Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams leading the way in an offense that has began to find its groove. Jacobs has emerged as a threat not only on the ground but as a receiver as well, adding another weapon for Derek Carr to look to on top of one of the best receivers in the NFL in Davante Adams.

Although the Rams have given very few things for fans to be excited about, the run defense is something has been able to excel during such a tough season. Ranked fourth in the NFL in the fewest rushing yards given up through 12 games, L.A. should be able to neutralize Jacobs on the ground. Through the air, however, is an entirely different story, as the Rams are ranked 21st in pass defense while allowing quarterbacks to complete 68.5% of their passes (ranked 30th in the NFL)

Completely stopping players at the level of Adams and Jacobs is nearly impossible but, with that being said, the Rams can find ways to prevent the two from taking over the football game.

When L.A. finds a way to end the Raiders winning streak, expect Jacobs and Adams to be somewhat neutralized en route to a Rams win.



New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In my eyes, the trio of Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs, and Davante Adams will make or break this football game. When they are firing on all cylinders, the Raiders offense can be extremely tough to stop, especially with a defense as short-handed as the Rams defense is right now.

Last week, the L.A. defense gave up an absurd 367 yards through the air, as Geno Smith completed 72% of his passes during an outstanding performance. While the Raiders do not possess a receiving duo like D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, one could argue that a single Davante Adams is as good as a solid duo, so the Rams will most definitely have their hands full when it comes to defending Las Vegas.

If the Rams lose a seventh straight game, expect the Raiders trio of stars to have a field day with a struggling defense.


NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Las Vegas Raiders Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most notable weaknesses of the 2022-2023 Los Angeles Rams is their revolving door of an offensive line, a group that has struggled ever since kickoff back in week one. This week, they will have a tall task, as Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders presents one of the biggest challenges they have faced thus far.

Crosby, a fourth year player out of Eastern Michigan, has established himself as one of the best defensive players in the NFL and has racked up a total of 10.5 sacks this season, good for fourth most in the league. The Rams have given up a total of 42 sacks this season, which is tied for the second most given up in the entire NFL, not ideal against one of the leagues best pass rushers.

If the Rams lose again, expect Crosby to have his way with one of the worst offensive line units in the NFL.


NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest, Wolford and Perkins have done all they can to contribute to one of the worst offenses in the NFL. However, sometimes in life, even your best is not good enough, and that seems to be the case for both guys.

With the acquisition of Mayfield, many fans are wanting him to start against the Raiders even if he’s only been on the team for 48-72 hours. That tells you all you need to know about the quarterback situation, as it seems every drive with either Perkins or Wolford is as difficult as can be due to their respective limitations.

If the Rams do wind up losing their seventh in a row, expect JWolford or Perkins to be leading the offense in yet another loss.