Rams Vs. Washington Football Team Preview: LA. Looks To Sweep NFC East With Week 5 Road Win
Tyler Higbee, Robert Woods
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams (3-1) managed to get back into the win column against the New York Giants in Week 4. They now look to secure a sweep of the NFC East Division on the road against the Washington Football Team in Week 5.

Rams Offense Vs. Washington’s Defense

The Rams’ high-powered offense was successfully contained by the Giants’ defense after mustering up just 240 total yards in Week 4. Other than the absence of running back Cam Akers, this group was at full strength and still failed to find their rhythm.

With Akers back in the mix this week, there is plenty of speculation regarding how the pecking order will shape up in backfield alongside Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson.

Things will not get any easier against a stingy Washington defense that is giving up the seventh-fewest total yards in the league (338.3). This is amplified by the fact that defensive end Chase Young is set to make his return from a groin injury.

The No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft fit the billing by registering 2.5 sacks with eight total tackles and two tackles for loss through the first two weeks.

Rams Defense Vs. Washington’s Offense

While the offense may be coming off their worst performance of the 2020 NFL season, the Rams’ defense managed to enjoy its best by keeping the Giants out of the end zone in the 17-9 win. However, they still have some key players nursing injuries with Micah Kiser, Kenny Young and Troy Hill listed as questionable.

Regardless, this group should be licking its chops at a favorable matchup versus a bottom-three offense. To make things interesting, Washington has opted to switch things up under center by replacing Dwayne Haskins with backup Kyle Allen following a three-game losing streak.

Three Keys To Victory

1. Take Advantage Of Changes Under Center

While head coach Ron Rivera is hoping Allen can provide a much-needed spark, he should have his work cut out going against a formidable Rams defense. After all, they managed to answer any concerns surrounding the pass rush with five sacks and eight quarterback hits on Daniel Jones.

Players like Morgan Fox, Obo Okoronkwo and Justin Hollins must now prove that they are capable of producing on a consistent basis and the new changes under center in Washington should help them keep a rhythm going. Additionally, rookie outside linebacker Terrell Lewis will be active for the first time for the Rams making his NFL debut, hopefully applying some pressure.

2. Stay Aggressive And Opportunistic

Errant mistakes were part of the reason that Rivera decided to bench Haskins. Of course, it remains to be seen if Allen is the true solution.

Washington’s eight giveaways tie them for the second-most in the NFL. It will be interesting to see if LA.’s defense can look to keep their opportunistic ways going after sealing their last victory on a game-winning interception.

3. Establish Identity On Offense

The Rams’ offense has shown a knack for starting games off with strong, opening drives that feature a healthy balance of misdirection runs and play-action passes. Unfortunately, they have struggled to build off that momentum on the ensuing drives and it ultimately forced them to play catch-up over the last two weeks.

Although this group is versatile enough to make the necessary adjustments as the game goes on, that does not necessarily mean they must go out of their way to play on the opponent’s terms. The onus will fall on McVay to establish a true identity for this offense if they hope to avoid any further debacles this season.

How to watch
Time: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT
Location: FedEx Field