Rams host Titans in showdown between conference co-leaders
TENNESSEE (6-2) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-1)
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EST, NBC
OPENING LINE: Rams by 7 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Titans 6-2, Rams 4-4.
SERIES RECORD: Rams lead 8-5.
LAST MEETING: Rams beat Titans 27-23 on Dec. 24, 2017, at Nashville.
LAST WEEK: Titans beat Colts 34-31, OT; Rams beat Texans 38-22.
TITANS OFFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (4), PASS (21), SCORING (6).
TITANS DEFENSE: OVERALL (22), RUSH (8), PASS (24), SCORING (T-20).
RAMS OFFENSE: OVERALL (5), RUSH (19), PASS (4), SCORING (5).
RAMS DEFENSE: OVERALL (21), RUSH (11), PASS (21), SCORING (10).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Titans 0; Rams plus-6.
TITANS PLAYER TO WATCH: OLB Harold Landry III. With 8 1/2 sacks through eight games, Landry has asserted himself as one of the top pass rushers in football. He has at least one sack in five consecutive games, but extending that streak will be a challenge as the Rams have allowed a league-low eight sacks.
RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: LB Ernest Jones. Coach Sean McVay said the decision to trade starter Kenny Young to Denver on Oct. 25 was made in part to create more playing time for Jones, and the rookie from South Carolina rewarded that belief with nine tackles, one tackle for loss, a half-sack and an interception in his debut start against the lowly Texans.
KEY MATCHUP: Titans C Ben Jones vs. Rams DL Aaron Donald. After losing star RB Derrick Henry to a season-ending foot injury, there will be even more pressure on Jones and Tennessee’s offensive line to open holes in the run game. Maintaining balance is a must, considering the Titans have already allowed QB Ryan Tannehill to take 24 sacks. It seems like it’s been a slow start for Donald, but he still has five sacks. The addition of OLB Von Miller from the Broncos should make it that much harder for opponents to double-team Donald, which can only bolster the NFL’s most productive pass rush.
KEY INJURIES: Titans WR Julio Jones looks set to play after sitting out against the Colts because of a hamstring injury. … DT Jeffery Simmons was the headliner among six Titans who missed practice on Wednesday, with another five players limited. … Rams LT Andrew Whitworth (knee) and DT Sebastian Joseph-Day (chest) are expected to return after sitting out against Houston. … QB Matthew Stafford (back) and WR Robert Woods (foot) should be good to go despite missing practice time early in the week.
SERIES NOTES: This will be the Titans’ first game against the Rams in Los Angeles. As the Houston Oilers they went 1-2 in Southern California, with the last meeting coming on Nov. 4, 1990. … Tennessee scored a series-high 47 points against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 13, 2009. … The Rams had a 5-2 record against the Titans in their previous iteration as the Oilers. ... The St. Louis Rams beat the Titans for the 1999 NFL championship.
STATS AND STUFF: Tennessee is the only team in the NFL to win a road game this season after trailing by 14 points. The Titans did it against Seattle in Week 2 (33-30, OT) and Indianapolis last week. … Titans WR A.J. Brown has 18 receptions for 288 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. It is the second time in Brown’s career he has back-to-back games with at least 100 yards receiving (Week 13-14, 2019). … Tennessee’s nine wins by three points or fewer over the past three seasons are the most in the league since 2019. … OL Rodger Saffold III has started 39 of 40 games since signing with the Titans as a free agent. He played his first nine seasons with the Rams. … Rams WR Cooper Kupp leads the league in yards receiving (924), touchdown catches (10), and targets (90; tied with Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill). He is second in receptions (63) and third in yards after the catch (366). … Los Angeles has allowed touchdowns on 46.4% of opponents’ red-zone drives (13 of 28) this season, which ranks fourth in the league. … OLB Leonard Floyd has 6 1/2 of the Rams’ NFL-leading 25 sacks.
FANTASY TIP: Brown has been an absolute maestro at producing big plays, as his 10 receptions of at least 50 yards and seven touchdown grabs covering at least 50 yards top the NFL since coming into the league in 2019. While the Rams expect to get CB Darious Williams (ankle) back from injured reserve and can always turn to Jalen Ramsey as shutdown cornerback, it only takes one play for Brown to justify his WR1 billing.
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