Detroit News scouting report: Lions at Rams

Detroit News

Lions at Rams

► Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. Sunday, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California

► TV/radio: Fox/97.1

► Records: Lions 0-6, Rams 5-1

 Line: Rams by 16

James Hawkins of The Detroit News breaks down the Lions’ Week 7 matchup with the Los Angeles Rams:

Key matchup


Stafford is on pace to set several career highs and is airing it out like he did during his best seasons in Detroit. He ranks second in the league in passer rating (116.6) and fourth in passing yards (1,838 yards), one of only two QBs to rank in the top five in both categories. He’s also averaging a career-best 9.2 yards per pass attempt, has produced 27 pass plays of 20-plus yards and has 16 touchdown passes, which ranks third behind Patrick Mahomes (18) and Tom Brady (17).

Much of that success can be credited to the pass protection he’s received and the fact he isn’t taking a lot of hits, getting sacked just six times. Lions defenders Trey Flowers and Austin Bryant are well aware of what Stafford is capable of when he gets time in the pocket and understand how imperative it is to make their former teammate feel uncomfortable.

“You definitely have to affect him,” Flowers said. “So doing our part is getting after him a little bit, rushing smart, rushing aware. … He understands where his escape routes are and where he has to step up to be comfortable.”

Added Bryant: “You cannot give this guy a lot of time to throw the ball because as y’all have seen for the past 12 years, he’s threaded people. … He can thread you up, man, put it wherever you want it.”

Rams to watch

Aaron Donald, DL: A one-man wrecking crew, Donald is arguably the best lineman, defender and overall player in the NFL. He’s been downright dominant through his career and has dominated the Lions every time he’s faced them. In three previous encounters, he has tallied 12 QB hits, nine tackles for loss, six sacks and a forced fumble.

Cooper Kupp, WR: Stafford’s favorite target has been one of the most productive wideouts in the NFL this year. He leads the league in touchdown receptions (seven), is tied for the league lead in receptions (46), ranks second in receiving yards (653) and catches of 20-plus yards (11), and is third in yards after the catch (265). Kupp has recorded at least seven catches and 92 yards receiving five times in six games and is set up to keep piling up big numbers.

Jalen Ramsey, CB: The four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro is the star of the secondary. He’s been targeted 37 times this season and allowed 25 receptions, per Pro Football Focus, and leads the team with five passes defensed. Given Detroit’s lack of playmaking threats at receiver, the Lions likely won’t throw his way often.

Facts and figures

► Jared Goff hasn’t won a game he started without Sean McVay as his head coach. In four seasons with McVay in Los Angeles, Goff went 42-20. But during his first season with the Rams under Jeff Fisher and first season with the Lions under Dan Campbell, he’s a combined 0-13 as a starter.

► The Lions haven’t snapped the ball on offense with the lead this season, becoming the fourth team since 1991 to do that in the first six games. They’ve gone scoreless in the first half in three of the past four games and haven’t scored a touchdown before halftime since their opening drive in Week 2 at Green Bay.

► Over the first four weeks, opponents were averaging 396.8 total yards of offense (273.3 passing, 123.5 rushing) and 24.8 points per game against the Rams’ defense. Over the past two weeks, the Rams have held foes to 307.5 total yards (231.5 passing, 76 rushing) and 14 points per game.

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins

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