Lions vs. Rams preview: 5Qs with Turf Show Times

Pride of Detroit

“Ram it! Yeah, we’re gonna ram it, just ram it! Yeah, we rock in LA, so let’s Ram it today.” Back in the day a bunch of teams made music videos. That was the Rams version. Sadly the Detroit Lions didn’t make one. This doesn’t have much to do with today’s article, but it’s a friendly reminder that the Rams are going to ram it on Sunday and the Lions are not.

The Los Angeles Rams are one of the hottest teams in the league this year. They’re on track to make the playoffs and have a deep run once they’re there. This Sunday, they have what can only be described as a tune-up game against the 0-6 Lions. The Lions would have to morph into the 1980 U.S. hockey team if they want to pull off a miracle in LA.

We were curious about the Rams and if that miracle might be possible, so we got in touch with our pal Kenneth Arthur from Turf Show Times to see if he thought the miracle was possible. Here’s what he had to say:

1. How are you guys enjoying Matthew Stafford? Not that we care. I swear we don’t care. Does he talk about us at all?

“I think the Matthew Stafford life is a pretty good one, so long as he’s surrounded by talent. You would know better than I would, as far as what that looked like during Detroit’s most successful seasons with Stafford, but I think the biggest missing ingredient for him was Sean McVay. The Lions, of course, had Calvin Johnson and other good talents on offense for many years, and Stafford had a few highly productive seasons and was consistently good enough to never question if he was the franchise quarterback. I think goes underrated during the national conversation about Matthew Stafford and how successful he was with the Lions, because any quarterback who is the centerpiece of that many rebuilds must have been doing something right. Why focus so much on his playoff record without also bringing up that Jim Schwartz and Matt Patricia never won a playoff game? Jim Caldwell hasn’t coached a playoff win since working with Peyton Manning in 2009. Now (Stafford) is playing for a coach with playoff trips in three of the last four years, three playoff wins, and Super Bowl experience.

I would also say it is interesting that Schwartz came from the Titans, Caldwell from the Colts and Ravens, Patricia from the Patriots… I imagine there is some amount of work that needs to be done from more closely studying and preparing for certain coaching styles and franchise tendencies, and even stadium quirks, that comes with experience of coaching in the NFC. If two head coaching candidates were otherwise equal, but one had 15 years in the AFC South and the other had 12 in the NFC, including four in the NFC West, and the other three teams have otherwise stayed the same for quite a few years now, there’s probably a level of comfort with McVay as his head coach. Here’s this guy who you know can look at 12 of the 17 games on the schedule, and he’s already done years of homework on them. He’s known for being the smartest guy in the room, he has helped recruit and develop some of the league’s best assistant coaches. This has to feel like a bit of relief for Stafford and with all due respect to the Lions and to his teammates. Perhaps not so much as respect to the head coaches—I wish them well. Maybe for the first time in a long time, Stafford has a ton of confidence in his head coach and that’s helping him relax.”

2. What are the Rams strengths?

“Aaron Donald probably has the most strength on the team, if that’s what you mean. If that’s not what you mean, then the answer is still Aaron Donald.

I think it can be hard to identify LA’s strengths on defense because one week they’re playing Tom Brady and not doing too bad, the next they’re getting sliced up a little bit by Geno Smith, and then the next it’s light’s out for Daniel Jones which might not have been all that surprising actually. It will probably be easier to focus on the weaknesses with regards to the defense. Offensively, the Stafford to Cooper Kupp connection could be the best attribute of any NFL team so far this season. Kupp’s had an historic six-game start and whether or not that will regress and lead to a slump, or if it’s the start of something great because Stafford is the quarterback now, is yet to be decided. I would also give credit to the offensive line and for Stafford’s awareness because he’s tied for the lowest sack rate in the NFL.”

3. What are their weaknesses?

“Jalen Ramsey could be the most valuable cornerback or defensive back in the league (he better be, he’s the highest-paid defensive back in the league) but it’s a dire situation at cornerback otherwise. Darious Williams was the starter but recently went on injured reserve. David Long started the season as the other pseudo starter at cornerback but wasn’t good and Sean McVay made a change to rookie Robert Rochell. It’s a tough assignment for a first year player out of Central Arkansas. The team called up Donte’ Deayon from the practice squad, a personal favorite of mine, but he’s had a hard time getting into regular season action because he’s considered undersized for the position. But some may remember him from 2020 Hard Knocks as the star of that season, if you were one of the 1,624 viewers that year. Deayon did pretty good though and like I said, I do like him. He’s a bit of a heartbeat out there. Safety Taylor Rapp has had many struggles in coverage, and that upset Daniel Jones, so he threw two interceptions to him last week and Rapp was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week. That is not a sentence many fans have expected to read in their lives, but Rapp’s got good attributes too and that’s why he starts—former free safety John Johnson III called plays for the defense last year but signed with the Browns. Rapp took his spot as starter and second-year safety Jordan Fuller is now calling plays.

Offensively, I think the run game is sound, but injuries have been an issue and Darrell Henderson, Sony Michel is a solid duo but won’t be confused with Chubb and Hunt.”

4. What are the chances of a Jared Goff revenge game? Yes I laughed a little bit when I typed this.

“The same argument that a lot of Rams fans make for this game (and probably forever until the end of time I guess) is that the Rams lost to the 0-13 Jets last year. I just think that getting rid of Jared Goff prevents that from happening again. I believe that the issue is now on the other side of the field. That doesn’t mean I’m guaranteeing a Rams win, but the biggest thing between the Rams and a Super Bowl win from 2017 to 2020 is now on the other side of the field.”

5. Who’s winning this thing?

“I think if I picked the Lions, fans on both sides would ask what kind of bullshit I’m up to. I wish on you picks 1 and 32 in the 2022 NFL Draft, sir.”

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