It’s the holiday season, but it hasn’t been a very merry 2022 campaign for the Los Angeles Rams who won’t be making a postseason appearance.
The number of injuries the Rams have sustained is almost comical at this point, and they’ll be shorthanded once again when they take on the Denver Broncos on Christmas Day in SoFi Stadium. Just like Los Angeles, Denver came into the year with high hopes with Russell Wilson riding in Bronco country but they’ve also fallen off the wayside.
What looked like a thrilling matchup in the offseason will instead be a game against two underwhelming teams who already have an eye toward next season.
Rams Offense vs. Broncos Defense
The hits along the offensive line and receiver room keep on rolling as Brian Allen and Ben Skowronek were ruled out for the rest of the season after both players suffered calf injuries against the Green Bay Packers.
Baker Mayfield is set to draw his second start as John Wolford was also ruled out with a neck injury. Mayfield might have an even tougher time moving the football as the Broncos defense has been their silver lining. Denver’s defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is very familiar with Sean McVay’s offense after spending five seasons in L.A., so he should be well-prepared going into the game.
Rams Defense vs. Broncos Offense
The Rams gave Wilson plenty of trouble when he was with the Seattle Seahawks, but the quarterback will catch a break as Aaron Donald will not suit up due to his high ankle sprain. However, the defensive line has shown some signs of life last week against the Packers, particularly Leonard Floyd who was disruptive in rushing the quarterback.
While Wilson has largely struggled to throw the football, he’ll have at least one excellent receiver in Jerry Jeudy to target. Courtland Sutton is arguably the Broncos’ best position player though he is questionable to play because of a hamstring injury.
Denver could look to run the ball, though that might play into Los Angeles’ favor especially if Latavius Murray is unable to go.
Keys to Victory
1. Feed Cam Akers
Cam Akers has come alive in recent weeks and has begun to take over the Rams backfield. The Broncos boast an excellent pass defense led by Patrick Surtain II, so gaining yards on the ground should be the way to go.
2. Hold steady in the red zone
Los Angeles has been one of the best teams in the league at limiting opposing touchdowns in the red zone. While the Broncos have largely struggled to score, they’ve been better at converting on opportunities recently.