The Detroit Lions (4-7) finish their three-game homestand by hosting the Los Angeles Rams (10-1) this week. The Rams are fresh off their bye after putting up 54 points against the 9-2 Kansas City Chiefs on a Monday Night Football offensive clinic. Last year, the Rams destroyed the New York Giants 51-17 after their week off.
Here are our game predictions…
Bruce Walker (@smoke25):
Make no mistake about it. The Rams are a formidable foe. Their strength is their offense, which ranks 2nd in the NFL in both rushing and total yards/game, 3rd in points/game, and 5th in passing yards/game. Their defense tends to be middle-of-the-road, allowing an opposing passer rating of 101.5 on the season, which is 7th worst in the NFL. They also activated CB Aqib Talib from injured reserve where he was placed after a week three ankle injury.
Meanwhile, the Lions will still be without RB Kerryon Johnson and have struggled to move the ball with any consistency. While the Rams have allowed opposing passers to be successful, the Lions have let them thrive, allowing passers to average a passer rating of 115.1, which ranks 31st in the league. The Lions started the season at the bottom of the league in run defense and have slowly moved up to 19th, having seen significant improvement since trading for Damion “Snacks” Harrison.
It looks pretty bleak. Terms like, “…coast to an easy victory…”, “…blowout…”, and “…win fairly easily…” are phrases common to see when reading about the Rams chances, especially from California publications. They come into Ford Field as ten point favorites with an expected 55 total points being scored in the game. In that, I’ll take the under.
Plus, this Lions team has been crazy-difficult to predict this year. They have played well against some really good teams and poorly against others. They have also lost to teams that are at the bottom of the league’s power rankings. Their defense is continuing to improve while their offense—which was supposed to be their strength this year—has languished.
Detroit will show up in this game and show a surprisingly strong defense that will slow the Rams offensive juggernaut. They should be able to move the ball against the Rams. It may be a better matchup than people think.
Call me crazy, but I’m going to take the Lions in this one, just because I shouldn’t. And everyone else will be taking the Rams.
Detroit Lions 24 — Los Angeles Rams 21
James Gullett (@gullett_james):
The Lions host the Rams and looking at this game unbiasedly, I don’t see a way the Lions can win. However, I have said this twice before this year and they have come through with a win. Hopefully, they throw it in my face yet again.
The Rams have the best interior defensive line in all of football. The Lions have injuries on their interior offensive line. Add some extra motivation for the Rams DT Ndamukong Suh making his return to Detroit to face his former team. I don’t see the Lions offensive line protecting Matthew Stafford enough to make plays or opening up big enough holes for RB LeGarrette Blount.
With all that being said, the Lions have shocked us all in games no one expects them to win this year — like New England or Carolina — who knows, maybe this will be another one. As far as my pick goes, I’ll take the Rams.
Detroit Lions 17 — Los Angeles Rams 31
Boyd Williams (@patchingbirder):
This appears to be just a mismatch. The Rams are among the best teams in the league offensively. They rank 2nd in both yards and points per game. Detroit’s offense has gone from pretty loaded to largely weaponless. Johnson (declared out), M Jones (IR), and Tate (traded) were our top 3 weapons just over a month ago.
While Riddick and Golladay have the ability to make big plays, the offense is hamstrung.
Stafford’s stats in the seven games pre-Tate trade: 273 ypg, 98.5 passer rating (6 of 7 games were 96 or higher), 14 TD, 6 INT.
In the 4 games since: 232 ypg, 78.0 rating (< 88 in all 4), 3 TD, 4 INT.
Goff, on the other hand, has a 113.5 rating, 322 ypg, 59 TD, 20 INT, and the Lions defense has allowed the second highest passer rating against in the league.
While much has been made about the Rams D-line, it might come as a surprise that the Lions have more sacks than the Rames (32 to 29), a slightly better run D (19 to 21), and overall defense (13 to 20). But the Rams don’t win games with defense. They’re 10-1 despite being 20th in defense because they run up the score like a video game. They can light it up against anybody, and Detroit is not likely to be the exception.
The Lions have done very well against the run lately, but Gurley is likely to break one or two 20+ yarders.
Detroit Lions 20 — Los Angeles Rams 35
Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier):
The predictions before mine did a great job breaking down the matchup. It’s no secret the Rams are one of the most prolific offenses in the league.
On defense, the Lions do boast being the best run defense in the NFL over the past three weeks — after being the worst for a good portion of the year. Unfortunately, the Lions coverage department has fallen off.
The Rams defense has some great players, but are not as great as they look on paper. If the Lions had their full cast of offensive weapons like they did to start the season, I would feel much better about this game. At this point, Detroit just doesn’t have the firepower to keep up.
This could get real ugly, real quick. At the same time, the Lions do seem to play up to their competition. In saying this, I just can’t find a way for the Lions to pull out an upset.
Detroit Lions 17 — Los Angeles Rams 31