The Los Angeles Rams will travel the country to face the Baltimore Ravens at home and many hope to redeem themselves, because the favorites of 4.5 points according to DraftKings Sportsbook. That might have been two years ago, but the last time these two teams met on the grill, Baltimore absolutely embarrassed the NFC champions in a 45-6 win.
The Ravens face the Rams in Game 17 now added.
In their last meeting (2019), Lamar Jackson became the first player to throw five touchdown passes on his Monday Night Football debut.
He did it despite not playing the last 14 minutes and 43 seconds of the game.
– Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) March 31, 2021
Lamar Jackson threw a touchdown pass on 25% of his throws, ending the game with 169 passing yards, 95 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the air in just 20 attempts. Running back Mark Ingram wouldn’t be beaten by his quarterback that day, ending the game with 111 rushing yards on 15 attempts, a ridiculous 7.4 yards per carry average. Jared Goff has been pulled over twice, including one by former Rams player Marcus Peters, who was traded in a nasty breakup with the Ravens midway through the 2019 season.
The loss would be one of seven that would keep Sean McVay and his team from making the playoffs for the first time in his career after just one season taken out of a super bowl appearance. The loss to Baltimore can be seen as one of his worst games as a head coach, but you can bet he’ll be looking for revenge on them this time around. Here are my bold predictions for McVay’s revenge match.
Jake Funk, not Cam Akers, is option number two behind Sony
The injury bug hasn’t been kind to the Rams backfield this season. After losing Cam Akers to what appeared to be a late-season injury at the end of OTAs, they also lost seventh round Jake Funk in mid-October, and will more recently be without Darrell Henderson after tearing up his MCL. Akers and Funk both made miraculous recoveries and are expected to back Sony Michel with Henderson moving to an injured reserve designation, but I predict it will be Funk who will replace Michel instead of Akers, and the rookie gets his first touchdown of his career against the Ravens.
Los Angeles has already cashed its ticket to the playoffs and currently sits atop the NFC West. While they may improve their standings slightly, the addition of an additional playoff team that started in 2020 means only one team can get a pass in the early rounds of the playoffs. After losing against the Green Bay Packers This season, the Rams are unlikely to be able to push for the top seed, making it less likely that they will put Akers on the field for less-than-meaningful games. Instead, I think the plan for him is to get a run or two to boost his confidence while avoiding putting his health at risk before the playoffs start.
With Akers on the sidelines for what should be the bulk of the game, Funk will be the one to take on the role of Sony’s replacement, although that doesn’t mean much. Last week Sony had every rush attempt in the backfield except for two attempts, a 17-yard run which resulted in Henderson’s injury and a single Funk attempt which resulted in a loss of one meter, but it will be different this week.
After watching the Cincinnati Bengals had a record-breaking performance against the Ravens last week, I think the Rams will have no problem scoring points against the decimated Baltimore defense.
With an early lead that LA never gives up, Funk will have a good chance of getting away; a run over the goal line should be just the attempt he needs to get his first touchdown in the regular season.
Von Miller adds two bags to his CV
When the news broke, former Super Bowl MVP and future Hall of Fame member Von Miller was joining the Rams in an exchange between them and the Denver Broncos, many salivated at the idea of ââputting him next to Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd, so much so that we forgot that he would need time to acclimatize to his new team. Miller may not add much to his career sack tally so far, but over the six weeks he has steadily increased his playing time as he gains confidence. Against the Vikings, he played 89% of the snaps, the highest percentage he has been on the court since being traded to LA.
His best game as Ram came in Week 15 against the Seattle Seahawks. Miller finished the game with a sack, six combined tackles and two QB hits against one of the league’s most mobile quarterbacks, Russell Wilson. His performance was what many expected him to get from the start, but he may have peaked just at the right time with the playoffs looming in the distance.
With the possibility of rain this Sunday, a classic freezing day in Baltimore, and Tyler Huntley as the Ravens’ starting quarterback, it’s likely John Harbaugh will often entrust his offense to his backfield. The focus on running will give the defensive line plenty of opportunities to make hard-hitting plays, but it will be Miller who makes the most of it. I believe Miller is getting his marquee game as a Ram this week against the Ravens, and predict that the Miller not only gets two sacks, but is the main Los Angeles tackle at the end of the game.
Rams burned by the X factor Mark Andrews
The Ravens have had a quarterback carousel playing for them this season due to injuries and Covid-19 regulations. No matter who throws the ball, however, tight end Mark Andrews always seems to be successful on game day. Currently, he’s the hot hand having delivered three straight performances from over 100 yards, his most recent against the Bengals. He finished the game with 125 receiving yards and one touchdown, giving him his fourth touchdown in just three games.
He could have the chance to set up his fourth straight 100-yard game this weekend against the Rams. LA will be without its starting linebacker, rookie Ernest Jones, and may also have lost Taylor Rapp for at least this week after missing practice on Thursday, although recent reports have made him expect to play. Even with Rapp on the pitch, Rams defenders will have a tough time facing Andrews.
Raheem Morris may have to rely on star defensive back Jalen Ramsey to cover the Baltimore star tight end. Ramsey has seen the action in the cover against the post this season, most memorable in Week 10 against 49ers tight end George Kittle.
It doesn’t matter who changes coverage against Andrews, I predict the tight end of the fourth year will muster another 100+ yard performance and add a touchdown to his hot streak this weekend against LA.
Stafford shields the ball, throws three touchdowns
Matthew Stafford drew a lot of criticism this week after throwing three interceptions against the Vikings. The veteran QB has been dazzling at times – repeatedly throwing head-scratching turnovers in his own turf, but also showing off his elite arm talent and incredible blind passes during the occasion.
After watching the strip the Ravens put on last week, which saw Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow burn the secondary for 525 yards and four touchdowns, I think this will be one of those games that will remind us of how good the Rams quarterback can be – I predict Stafford will end the game without a single turnover and find his receivers for three touchdowns in the day.
What are your bold predictions this week? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!