This may be an LA Rams team that never expected to be in the Wild Card Round of the 2024 NFL Playoffs, but now that they are here, this Rams team is completely in its element. The Rams have been here before, five times before, in the past seven seasons. And of all the stars on the Rams roster, there is only one man on the Rams roster who has shown up and scored in the postseason for the Rams offense in 2017 and in 2021.
That lone player is Rams All-Pro wide receiver Cooper Kupp.
Yes, tight end Tyler Higbee has been here before. And right tackle Rob Havenstein has been here before. But when it comes to win or go home, the LA Rams quarterbacks looked for Cooper Kupp. That list includes both starting quarterbacks in the Sunday Night Football game of the NFL Playoffs: Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff, and LA Rams QB Matthew Stafford.
Both quarterbacks played in the Super Bowl in the past for the LA Rams.
Some may expect Kupp to be less involved in this game, as he has been a bit 'off,' all season, both in fighting off injuries while simultaneously trying to rediscover the chemistry that he held with Matthew Stafford in the 2022 NFL Playoffs.
And I think that is something that could happen.
In the 2022 NFL Playoffs, Rms WR Cooper Kupp caught 33 of 42 passes thrown his way for 478 yards and six touchdowns. But that was then. What makes me think that he is capable of returning to his prime form for this game?
Well, we know that the Detroit Lions' pass defense has struggled against the pass this season. They are, in fact, the 27th-ranked secondary in the NFL in 2023. They have allowed an average of 247.4 passing yards per game, 28 passing touchdowns, and generated only 16 interceptions. Perhaps their greatest vulnerability is their weakness to the long ball. And it just so happens that LA Rams Matthew Stafford is the master of the long pass.
But who will be on the receiving end of thos long passes? I believe that the Rams will test the Lions secondary by throwing to Kupp. The Lions know that rookie WR Puka Nacua is the most dangerous weapon on the Rams roster. And the Lions know that the Rams boast a super-swift receiving threat by the name of Tutu Atwell. Even veteran WR Demarcus Robinson has been on a hot streak of late, scoring in four of the last five games that he played in 2023.
Kupp rested in Week 18. Kupp played in only 12 of the Rams 17 games in 2023. But Cooper Kupp's four 100+ receiving yards game came against the Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, and Washington Commanders. Perhaps more importantly, Kupp found the endzone in five of the last six games in which he appeared for the Rams.
Much like Matthew Stafford embraces the villain role, Kupp loves to play the hero for LA Rams fans. The stage is set, and Kupp is ready. Now all that remains is for Rams fans to get set, and watch Cooper Kupp go.