The Los Angeles Rams take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 13 of NFL action. Following division wins against the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals, the Rams will be going for their third straight win. So far this season, Sean McVay and co. are 4-1 against the NFC West, but just 1-5 against everyone else.
With a win on Sunday, the Rams will have a chance to take a control of the seventh seed in the NFC Playoff picture. As it stands, the Rams are 3.5-point favorites against the Browns according to DraftKings Sports Book. Los Angeles remains healthy since coming out of their bye week while the Browns are dealing with a laundry list of injuries. There will be a good opportunity for the Rams to get their first win this season against an AFC North opponent.
Rams Offense vs. Browns Defense
The Browns defense has been one of the best defenses in the NFL this season. There was some thought that they may be without Myles Garrett against the Rams. However, that no longer appears to be the case. Garrett may not be 100 percent, but it seems like the Browns are expecting him to play.
Reporter: Do you still feel good about Myles Garrett playing this week?— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) November 29, 2023
Stefanski: "I do."
It’s not just that the Browns defense has been good, they have been historically good. They are one of the toughest defenses in NFL history to get a first down against. The key here is with the run game. Back in early October, Todd Monken of the Baltimore Ravens utilized a lot of different motions and trap/wham concepts that led into them being able to run duo. Look for McVay to do some of the same with their own twist.
Matchup to Watch: LT Alaric Jackson vs. Myles Garrett
Garrett may not be 100 percent, but he’s still one of the best defensive players in the league. There’s a reason he’s been a serious contender for Defensive Player of the Year this season. It will be up to Alaric Jackson to block Garrett. Jackson has been inconsistent this season as he’s allowed 29 pressures which is the 15th most in the NFL. Meanwhile, Garrett has 49 pressures which is the 13th most.
Rams Defense vs. Browns Offense
Much like the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Rams defense may need to create opportunities for the offense. Things should work in their favor as the Browns are set to potentially start Joe Flacco at quarterback. Flacco started four games with the New York Jets in 2022 with his last coming in Week 18 in an 11-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The former Super Bowl MVP went 18-for-33 for 149 yards in the loss.
It will be up to the Rams defense to get to Flacco and make him uncomfortable. If they can force Flacco into mistakes, it will set up opportunities for an offense as they go up against a really good defensive unit.
Matchup to Watch: Aaron Donald/Rams Defensive Line vs. Wyatt Teller
Teller is one of the best guards in the NFL. With the need to take pressure off of the quarter, the Browns will likely be looking to run behind Teller with Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt. It will be key for the Rams to mitigate Teller so that the defensive line can make an impact in the run game.
This game could end up playing out relatively similar to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers or Cincinnati Bengals. These are two games against AFC North teams that the Rams lost previously. Have they learned from those losses. In those games, points were at a premium and field position mattered. Taking advantage of turnovers matter. It’s certainly a different brand of football than what the Rams are used to playing.
The Rams have an opportunity in front of them to take control of their own destiny in the NFC Playoff race. That seems unfathomable after a three game losing streak before the bye week. If they can’t get it done in a must-win situation against an injured Browns team, the Rams will have some questions to answer.
Prediction: Rams 24, Browns 16