The Los Angeles Rams (5-3) are coming off their midseason bye week into hostile territory on November 10. The Rams will face the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4) at Heinz Field. The Rams are coming off a 24-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals after traveling overseas for a home game in London, England’s Wembley Stadium.
The Rams’ cannot let up at all on the Steelers because a win won’t come easy. Pittsburgh is coming off a 26-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts. They extended their winning streak to three consecutive games so far. Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph has done a solid job stepping in for injured Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh lost their first three games, but Rudolph and the Steelers defense showed strong showings the following weeks.
The Rams struggles continue to be their running game and offensive line, although there has been significant improvement in the last few weeks with the promotion of rookie David Edwards at left guard. Running back Malcolm Brown is expected to play after recovering from an ankle injury. Darrell Henderson led in rushing yards against Cincinnati with 11 carries for 49 yards. Todd Gurley added a 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and had similar stats with ten carries for 44 yards. The Rams will need a solid running game to alleviate the workload from Jared Goff. An offensive balance will be the key to winning against the Steelers and down the road.
Goff had 17 completions on 31 attempts for 372 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp was the x-factor, catching seven passes for 220 yards and one touchdown.
The Rams offensive line will face a tough Steelers pass rush led by defensive lineman Cameron Heyward and Javon Hargrave. Linebackers Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt have a combined 13.5 sacks. Former Ram Mark Barron will also be a factor on the defense with 24 solo tackles, one sack and one interception. The Rams O-line will need to step up to give Goff time to throw in the pocket.
Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and linebacker Devin Bush lead in team interceptions. Fitzpatrick has four picks so far this season. One of them was a 96-yard touchdown return against the Colts.
The Rams defense is stacked and returning is linebacker Clay Matthews after suffering a broken jaw against the Seattle Seahawks. Matthews has six sacks so far this season after only playing in three games. Linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. leads the squad with 6.5 sacks and linebacker Cory Littleton leads the defense with 66 total tackles. The defensive front led by tackle Aaron Donald will create a problem for the Steelers offensive line. Donald has five sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
The defensive backfield will also give Rudolph a problem. Cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill and Nickell Robey-Coleman along with safeties Eric Weddle and Taylor Rapp will be a strong matchup with Steelers receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson. Tight end Vance McDonald had the only receiving touchdown against Indianapolis.
Pittsburgh’s Jaylen Samuels appears to be the only healthy running back. He was held to eight carries for ten yards and no touchdowns.
The Rams are steeped in tradition with the Steelers rivalry. They faced Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XIV and fell 31-19. The Rams lead the all time series at 15-9-2.
Rams head coach Sean McVay holds a 10-0 record against the AFC since taking over the head coaching position.
Kickoff is a 1:25pm (PT) on FOX.