The Los Angeles Rams are officially in a funk, having dropped their second consecutive game with their most recent loss coming at the hands of the Dak Prescott-less Dallas Cowboys.
All phases of the team have been a disappointment, but fortunately, they get the perfect get-right game in Week 6 when the Carolina Panthers come to town. The Panthers look like a rudderless squad that is playing for next year after they fired head coach Matt Rhule and starting quarterback Baker Mayfield was ruled out due to injury.
Carolina does boast a vicious front seven that’s capable of generating pressure, but Los Angeles has the advantage in multiple areas and should be able to snap their losing streak.
Rams Offense vs. Panthers Defense
McVay made the surprise announcement that Cam Akers was ruled out against the Panthers due to personal reasons. Without Akers, Darrell Henderson is in line to handle the bulk of the work, though Malcolm Brown figures to be mixed in for relief.
As mentioned earlier, the Panthers boast an athletic front that is capable of pressuring quarterbacks, meaning Matthew Stafford may not have much time to wait for plays to develop down field. Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee have commanded the vast majority of targets in the short and intermediate areas, but Stafford has to be able to challenge Carolina’s secondary with players like Allen Robinson. The Rams catch a break with Panthers cornerback Jaycee Horn ruled out, meaning Robinson should be more involved in the game plan this week.
Rams Defense vs. Panthers Offense
Los Angeles draws backup quarterback P.J. Walker starting for Carolina this week, which should be the boost the defensive line needs to wreak some havoc. However, this means Christian McCaffrey should be the focal point of their offense so the Rams need to make sure they’re accounting for him on every snap.
Carolina’s receiving threats outside of DJ Moore are underwhelming to say the least, another advantage for L.A. who has their own banged up secondary. Jalen Ramsey has been playing the “Star” role all season, but this could be a game where we see him shadowing Moore to really apply pressure to the Panther offense.
Keys To Victory
1. Take care of the football
Last week got off to a horrendous start when Stafford fumbled which resulted in free points for the Cowboys. This week, the Rams must take care of the football to force an anemic Panthers offense to keep pace on the scoreboard.
2. Offensive line hold up in pass protection
It’s a no-brainer, but a lot of L.A.’s woes have to do with the poor play along the offensive line. The Panthers are a stiff test in both run and pass blocking, but with those areas an emphasis in practice throughout the week the Rams should hopefully hold up better.