Rams At Steelers Preview: L.A. Looks To Continue Win Streak Coming Out Of Bye Week
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams are looking to pick up where they left off prior to the bye week as they get set to hit the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10.

Los Angeles was finally able to get the 2019 NFL season back on track with two straight wins following an abysmal three-game skid. They are now looking to put the finishing touches on a favorable part of the schedule by getting a winning streak going in Pittsburgh.

The Rams will have their work cut out against a Steelers team that is already in the midst of a three-game winning streak following a slow start to the year. Regardless, they will need to make it happen if they hope to potentially take back control of the NFC West in the second half of the season.

Rams Offense vs. Steelers Defense:

The Rams have opted to take a cautious approach with wide receiver Brandin Cooks’ recovery after suffering his second concussion within the span of a month in Week 7. His only activity in Pittsburgh this week was meeting with a specialist and his absence undoubtedly leaves a notable void in the receiving corps for quarterback Jared Goff.

The Steelers are sporting a clean bill of health on the defensive side of the ball and are anxious to play their part to stay undefeated during their recent three-game homestand.

Rams Defense vs. Steelers Offense:

Los Angeles is planning to welcome linebacker Clay Matthews back into the mix after being sidelined with a broken jaw following their Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Matthews’ return comes just in time now that linebacker Bryce Hager is going to be placed on injured reserve and he will be looking to make his presence felt once again after registering 6.0 sacks prior to the injury.

Look for Aaron Donald to get going early for the Rams as well playing in his hometown. He may not be putting up the stats he did last year, but he is still the most dominant force in the league.

Pittsburgh’s offense was dealt a significant blow this week with running back James Conner being ruled out for Week 10 with a shoulder injury. Guard Ramon Foster and fullback Roosevelt Nix have also been ruled out, which undoubtedly deals a crushing blow to the run game.

3 Keys To Victory:

1. Force Mason Rudolph To Make Plays

Although Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph has shown some promise since being thrust in as the starter following the season-ending injury to Ben Roethlisberger, there is no question that this offense has lacked some explosiveness with the latter’s absence. The onus will fall on the Rams to try and force the second-year quarterback to try and make the right decisions under some hounding pressure.

With Conner and Foster ruled out, the Steelers are going to have some trouble moving the ball against a defense that is allowing the eighth-fewest rushing yards per game (96.9). If they can find a way to contain Rudolph’s check-down options in the passing game, Los Angeles could be poised for another dominant outing.

2. Limit Turnovers

It is no secret that the Steelers lack serious firepower on offense, yet they have still managed to win three straight. That is because their defense has done a tremendous job of giving them more than enough chances to capitalize by forcing the second-most turnovers in the NFL this season (22).

Goff has been prone to committing turnovers against teams that are able to generate consistent pressure. He will need to make sure he does not do Pittsburgh any favors by gifting them with a couple of possessions early on.

3. Establish Run Game

While the Rams have managed to get their offense back on track in recent weeks, they still have yet to show any signs of establishing a decent run game. They are still a middling running team heading into the second half of the season and will need to at least show they are capable of getting running back Todd Gurley going when it is necessary.

The Steelers just allowed 139 yards on the ground to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9 even with a backup quarterback at the helm for most of the game. This would be an ideal opportunity for them to lift the restrictions off Gurley and let him show why he is still one of the most talented backs in the NFL.