Rams Could Be In For a Long Sunday Hosting Panthers
By Julio Mejia
Despite coming off a productive bye-week and facing a 2-5 Panthers team, the Rams might be coming home to face their toughest matchup of the season.
On paper, the Los Angeles Rams are only one game below .500, coming off 3 straight losses that could have easily swung in their favor if not for a play here and there, most notably late game interceptions thrown by Case Keenum. The Rams are also coming off a much needed bye week which could only help the team regroup after those tough, heartbreaking loses and the thousands of miles of travel over the past month.
All that being said, the Carolina Panthers have not exactly looked sharp, aside from Cam Newton‘s postgame outfits, and will be entering Week 9 on the road with a 2-5 record. Their receiving has been subpar at best with really only two offensive threats in Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin being thrown to by a struggling Newton. The Panthers pass defense has been a giant gaping hole in their game since the departure of Josh Norman.
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For all intents and purposes, this seems to be a very winnable game for the rested Rams; however herein lies the problem. This far into the season, the Rams have only found any sort of success in the passing game, and this week will likely follow suit.
The Panthers have an elite run defense so far, and coming off a week of shutting down the league’s best running back in David Johnson. They will be faced with the meager task of defending the lowest yards-per-carry back in the league in Todd Gurley. In other words, the Rams will have to rely on Keenum to get it done through the air, and considering he has thrown 10 interceptions, three of which have been returned for a touchdown, it is a recipe for disaster.
The bright side is that if the Rams fall behind too far for a conceivable comeback, the fans and reporters might be in for a treat in seeing Jared Goff under center for the first time this season to start the process of developing into an NFL quarterback.
Additionally, another loss may pump the breaks on the Jeff Fisher extension talks and force the front office to re-evaluate the coaching situation.