A Look at the Rams' Week 3 Matchup Against the Cincinnati Bengals

Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals
Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Aaron Donald
Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

Defensive Rankings

When the Bengals have the football

We know that at full strength, both the Rams and Bengals offenses are more than capable of scoring. Even with the possibility of an inexperienced quarterback by the name of Jake Browning potentially starting for the Cincinnati Bengals, a win is not guaranteed.

This matchup may very well come down to one of two things: Whoever has the ball last, or whichever defense can capitalize on a mistake. The Rams' defense is still very very young and does have some weaknesses.

Rookie outside linebacker Byron Young is a rising star next to All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, but will the rest of the team be able to stop the dangerous duo of Bengals wide receivers Ja'Maar Chase and Tee Higgins? Honestly, I am not sure.

LA Rams CB Derion Kendrick is the biggest weakness in the Rams' secondary posting a PFF grade of 44.3 ranking him 92nd of 98 qualifying cornerbacks. I predict he will line up against Tee Higgins and I do not think he will win that battle. Hopefully, the coaches saw what we saw through two weeks and we get to see more of rookie CB Tre Tomlinson this week instead.

If I'm Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris, I am lining up CB Ahkello Witherspoon across from Chase and providing safety help in the form of a double team. Ultimately, the Rams' key to success is going to be applying pressure on the young QB on the other side which eliminates the dangers of the Chase/Higgins tandem.

When the Rams have the football

On the opposite side, the Bengals have had their fair share of defensive difficulties as well. The biggest struggle for the Rams' offense will be airing it out against the Bengals' defensive backs. The Bengals' secondary is actually one of the strongest in the NFL where only one of their starters ranks outside the top 30 of their position.

Luckily, the Rams' offense is already primed to beat this setup. In order to succeed, the Rams will need to open their playbook with the run. When dropping Stafford back to pass, the Rams need to hit short, quick route passes, and take the occasional deep shot with play-action passes.

Luckily for the Rams, the Bengals rank 27th in sacks and are terrible at stopping the run. If Head Coach Sean McVay is smart, as we know he is, he will run the ball down their throats, and newly featured running back Kyren Williams should have a career day. The Rams' defense is also without a turnover this season, but I think that changes in Week 3.

Here is a comparison where the two teams rank defensively:

Total Defense: 6th
Passing: 5th
Rushing: 24th
PPG Allowed: 12th

Total Defense: 28th
Passing: 10th
Rushing: 31st
PPG Allowed: 19th

Advantage: Rams