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The Cheat Sheet: Lions have little firepower to compete with Rams offense

Everything you need to know for Rams vs. Lions Week 13.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It feels like the only shot the Detroit Lions have on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams is to win a shootout. But after placing Marvin Jones Jr. on injured reserve this week, losing Kerryon Johnson to a knee injury, and trading away Golden Tate, the Lions have little firepower to compete with the Rams offense.

What could have been one of the better offenses on paper before the season, just hasn’t worked out for the Lions.

Unfortunately, the Lions will probably spend the beginning of their offseason looking for someone to recharge the offense and will begin to rebuild that side of the ball.

This game may do nothing but leave Lions fans dreaming of someone who can come in and turn around the Lions as Sean McVay has done with the Rams.

Opponent snapshot

The Los Angeles Rams’ come to Detroit with a 10-1 record. With a win, they can clinch first place in the NFC West two years in a row. Todd Gurley is second in the NFL in rushing with 1,043 yards and leads the league with 13 TDs. And Aaron Donald is the NFL’s top sack leader with 14.5 through 11 games.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Rams’ biggest threat

Todd Gurley

Make no mistake, the Rams high-flying offense goes through Todd Gurley. Although he’s coming off an injury, Rams coach Sean McVay says he should be good to go on Sunday.

“He’s feeling good. Really, when I said that he had tweaked it a little bit, that was more of a result of some of the things that happened early,” McVay said on Monday. “Todd continued to push through, did a great job. I thought he made a real big impact in some of the screens and different things later on and then had a couple tough, physical runs that ended up influencing the outcome of the game in a positive way for us. He’s feeling good. I think the bye week served him really well and he’s a tough player. We expect him to be ready to go and 100 percent.”

Gurley is no doubt an effective runner, but he also is vital to the Rams passing game. So far this season he’s had 43 receptions for 441 yards and four touchdowns. He’s the type of player that can take a simple screen pass and completely flip the field.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rams’ weak link


If there is one thing standing in the way of the Rams’ Super Bowl hopes and dreams, it’s their defense.

That may seem hard to believe with stars all across the field, but the numbers tell a different story:

  • Opponent passer rating of 101.6 (27th)
  • 119.9 rush yards per game (21st)
  • 252.6 pass yards per game (19th)
  • 8.1 yards per attempt (27th)
  • 29 sacks (t-14th)

The one clear strength to the Rams defense is the ability to create turnovers. They’re tied for fifth in total turnovers (20) and third in turnover differential.

Bottom line

I could see how some might see this as a trap game for the Rams. They’re coming off their bye week, traveling across country, and playing a below .500 team. But none of that will matter. The Rams will breeze into their 11th win of the season.


Rams 34 Lions 17

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