Can Rams quarterback Jared Goff stand up to Baltimore’s defense?
The Ravens have taken down three top quarterbacks during their winning streak – Russell Wilson, Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson. Only five quarterbacks have thrown for more yards than Goff (2,783), who helped lead the Rams to the Super Bowl last season. When he gets in a rhythm, Goff can throw with the best, but he has also thrown 10 interceptions and fumbled nine times. Fresh off perhaps their best game of the season, the Ravens’ pass rushers and secondary will hunt for turnovers.
Rams safety Eric Weddle vs. Ravens offense
Weddle, who played three seasons with the Ravens, knows plenty about Baltimore’s players and defensive schemes. Just like he was in Baltimore, Weddle is the quarterback of the defense. He’ll try to guess what the Ravens will do prior to the snap and he often guesses right, putting his teammates in better position to stop plays. Weddle helped the Ravens win many games, but he’ll be trying to ruin their Monday night.
RB Todd Gurley’s workload.
He had a season-high 25 carries for 97 yards and one touchdown against the Bears defense, which, similar to the Ravens defense, entered last Sunday’s game with a top 10 run defense. It’s a small sample size, but it showed the Rams were able to lean on him against one of the league’s best run-stopping teams.
On defense for the Rams
The number of risks taken, or if they opt for a more cautious approach instead.
Blitz and the load the box often in an attempt to prevent Jackson from beating you with his legs – or Ingram’s effectiveness in the run game – and L.A.’s defense is still vulnerable to an explosive play through the air via Jackson’s arm. Sit back and try to prevent the deep ball, and Baltimore rides its run game.
There’s a balance somewhere in between the two methods, and that will be something to keep an eye on.
How will the Ravens block Rams’ Aaron Donald? Rex Ryan trusts Greg Roman and Co. to find a way - Mike Preston
“He is built like a brick house and strong as hell,” said former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, now an NFL analyst for ESPN. “There is no question he is the best defensive player in the league, and certainly the league’s most explosive. You can’t block him one-on-one. Impossible.”
“He makes moves in tight areas better than anybody, probably, in the league, with the way he rushes the passer, and also in the run game,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “So, the challenge is blocking him.
“The other thing we have to do is know where he’s at. He’s been everywhere on the defensive line. So, yes, that’s a big one, but not just him. They have a heck of a front, really good linebackers.”
“Greg Roman has run into these types of players in the past. I’ve seen him wreck [Houston Texans star] J.J. Watt a couple of times,” Ryan said. “You can run a lot of wham blocks, where the tight end comes across the formation to block him. You can run a lot of traps inside with the tight ends. Greg might chip on him in pass protection with a back, which a lot of people don’t like to do. I can assure you Greg is not going to let him ruin his day.
“Donald can’t be handled one-on-one. When he starts winning the battles, then Lamar has to do his thing. He either has to move or release the ball.”
NFL picks, predictions for Week 12: Packers outplay 49ers; Ravens run over Rams; Browns make it 3 in a row - Todd Haislop
Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have put together four consecutive strong defensive performances, but it’s hard to imagine their slowing down the rushing and scoring freight train that is Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. On the road but in a favorable, prime-time slot, expect the NFL’s hottest team to keep rolling.
Pick: Ravens 28, Rams 23