Until Houston Texan’s super-rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson torn his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament), about ten days ago, this game was displayed to be the marquee match up.
While that is no longer the case, this is still a crucial game for the Rams, as they fight to stay ahead of Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. The oddsmakers are picking the Rams by about 11.5, and I believe they have a great chance of covering the spread. But...this is the NFL; you never really know until the game is in the books.
Rams Offense vs Texans Defense
As with the offense, injuries have depleted what looked like a very good Texans defensive unit. The loss of JJ Watt--arguably the second best to Aaron Donald, as the league's best defensive lineman--and linebacker Whitney Mercilius have taken their toll. But former first round draft selection Jadeveon Clowney, is no walk in the park either. He is now playing like the guy the Texans thought they were getting out of college.
But the Houston pass rush still isn't up to par with recent years, and I believe the Rams potentially could have a big day throwing the ball. Their rushing defense is OK, but even so, I favor this matchup for the Rams. I’m optimistic that the Rams will put up 30-45 points, if their offense is clicking on all cylinders . The Texan’s has given up an average of 26 points per game... and while the Rams offense may be of many things, ''average'' is not one of them.
Texans Offense Vs. Rams Defense
If Watson were playing, we could be looking at a shootout in this game, with Tom Savage, not so much. Having said that, you can't overlook this guys either. The have one of the better wide receiver tandems in Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller, two players who can take it to the house if Savage can get them the ball. The Texans quarterback wasn't really able to do much last week against the Indianapolis Colts, and the Rams defense is considerably better than Indy's.
Houston's rushing attack is nothing without Watson in the backfield. Rams linebacker Robert Quinn may miss this game with an illness, but I'm not sure that is a huge deal against this offense. The Rams gave up 17 points last week against the New York Giants, in a game that was really over by the end of the third quarter. Unless Tom Savage plays the game of his life, I doubt that the Texans will top that total, and they may have a hard time matching.
Aaron Donald continues to terrorize opposing quarterbacks, and I'm sure he will introduce himself to the Texans backfield in his usual way this week.
Will Corey Littleton block yet another punt this week? Will Pharoh Cooper return a punt all the way back? Will Greg Zuerlein kick a 55 yard field goal? I don't know. But I do know the Rams have been putting the ''special'' in special teams this year. I expect more of the same on Sunday.
You always worry about complacency and overconfidence in these type of games, but barring a turnover fest, the Rams really should notch a “W” here.
Rams 37 Texans 17