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Scouting the enemy: Los Angeles Rams

The Broncos meet the Rams on Christmas Day. Can the Broncos pull off the win against the defending champs and get back-to-back wins?

Los Angeles Rams v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The last time these two teams met, the Los Angeles Rams were starting the 2018 season off strong at 5-0 entering their game in Denver. The Broncos came out swinging against the undefeated Rams, Case Keenum threw for 322 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders got most of the work torching the Rams' secondary. He finished with seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.

The run game for the Broncos was nonexistent. Defensively, Darian Stewart went off for eight tackles and one interception. Bradley Chubb also had a good game, getting three sacks, but defensively that's where the positives ended for the Broncos.

Rams were about average in the passing game with Jared Goff throwing for only 201 yards and one interception. The X-factor in this game for the Rams was Todd Gurley. The Broncos struggled to tackle him as he rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Despite a fourth-quarter fight, the Broncos fell to the Rams 23-20.

Rams’ offseason moves

Key gains: LT Joseph Noteboom, C Brian Allen, OL Coleman Shelton, WR Allen Robinson, MLB Bobby Wagner

Key losses: OLB Von Miller, CB Darius Williams, NT Sebastian Joseph-Day, OG Austin Corbett, OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

2022 NFL draft: round three: (104) OG Logan Bruss; round four (142) DB Cobie Durant; round five: (164) RB Kyren Williams; round six: (211) DB Quentin Lake, (212) CB Derion Kendrick; round seven: (235) OLB Daniel Hardy, (253) DB Russ Yeast, (261) OT AJ Arcuri

The Rams’ 2022 season so far

After winning the Super Bowl and signing several key players, many people thought that the Rams would fight for another championship. That is far from the case. The Rams sit at a pretty disappointing 4-10 and, like the Broncos, have been plagued by injuries. WR Cooper Kupp, Ben Skowronek, and Allen Robinson are all on injured reserve along with QB Matthew Stafford. Star defensive player Aaron Donald has also missed three straight games with an injury.

The Rams, on offense, will have to hope that players like QB Baker Mayfield, RB Cam Akers, TE Tyler Higbee, and WR Tutu Atwell will step up. Mayfield has thrown for 341 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in two games. Akers has 441 yards on the ground for four touchdowns. Higbee and Atwell combine for 68 catches for 729 yards and only two touchdowns.

Defensively for the Rams, they’ll need Bobby Wagner, Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Floyd, and their safety duo of Nick Scott and Taylor Rapp to step up, assuming Donald is still out with an injury. Wagner currently leads the Rams in tackles with 118 on the year and is second on the team in sacks with five. Ramsey needs no introduction as he is one of the top corners in the league with one interception and 11 pass breakups this season. Their safety duo Scott and Rapp are tied on the team in interceptions with two each.

Tanner’s three keys to victory

  1. The offensive line needs to do its job

The offensive line is really banged up at the moment. With Meinerz getting hurt early in the game against the Cardinals he is currently listed as questionable, making Dalton Risner our only healthy offensive lineman. The offensive line last week was nothing short of horrible as they allowed seven sacks in the game - JJ Watt getting three of them. This Rams team has big-name talent and if Aaron Donald plays this week, the offensive line must do better by any means necessary.

2. Take advantage of the Rams DBs (minus Jalen Ramsey)

Outside of Ramsey, the Rams DB room is banged up pretty badly. Whoever is at quarterback for the Broncos will have to get multiple guys involved in the passing game, even if it means Jerry Jeudy doesn’t have a big game, assuming Ramsey matches up with Jeudy for most of the game. The offense will have to keep an eye on where Ramsey is almost for the entire game and avoid throwing his way.

3. Offense continues their scoring

In back-to-back weeks now the offense not only has put up double-digit points but it has scored more than 20 points in both games. We gave the Chiefs a run for their money and the offense looked really good, especially with Jeudy playing more on the outside. The wideout had the best game of his young career so far. If the offense continues its hot streak on Christmas Day against the Rams, it very well could come out on top.

Tanner’s prediction

Offensively the Broncos offensive line is going to be horrible, and I can see them allowing 5 or more sacks in the game, with the passing game being slow. But I expect the run game will be pretty good and the Broncos will be able to move the ball. Eventually, though, this offense will hit a roadblock and more than likely won’t score another 20 points in this game.

Defensively it will be a nice game for the Broncos. Mayfield will struggle in the game and I can see him throwing in the neighborhood of 210 yards but also an interception or two. Akers will have a pretty nice game, getting around 75 or more yards and a touchdown. I predict the defense clicking really well against this injured Rams offense.

Despite the defense clicking, I think the offense’s struggles will be too much, and the Broncos will fall to the Rams, 20-17.