4 players to watch in Rams vs. Texans on Sunday

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Emotions were running high for the Los Angeles Rams last week when they hosted the Detroit Lions at SoFi Stadium. It was Matthew Stafford’s first game against the Lions, while the Rams faced their former quarterback in Jared Goff.

Los Angeles would be able to secure a win over Detroit, improving their record to 6-1 on the season. After defeating the winless Lions, the Rams will not get an opportunity to square off with the 1-6 Houston Texans in Week 8.

With the Arizona Cardinals losing on Thursday night to the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles can’t afford to let Sunday’s game be a trap game versus Houston. Even though the Cardinals would hold the lead over the Rams due to them beating Los Angeles in Week 4, Los Angeles could inch closer to seizing the division lead with a win on Sunday.

Just like last week, the Rams are massive favorites versus the Texans on the road. Los Angeles began the week as the biggest favorite of any NFL team in Week 8, and that has held true as they enter Sunday as 14.5-point favorites. In a game where the Rams should be able to dominate throughout, here are four players to watch against the Texans.

Tyler Higbee

I’ve listed the wide receivers on the Rams quite often this season, and for good reason. Cooper Kupp is having a historic start to the season as he’s on pace to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record.

Robert Woods may be slightly forgotten in the offense, but he isn’t a slouch. And the emergence of Van Jefferson has been fun to watch. That being said, don’t forget about Tyler Higbee at the tight end position.

Higbee has been somewhat quiet in the past two weeks, combining for 10 receptions that have resulted in only 82 yards. The good news for Higbee is that the Texans have permitted 18 receptions, 241 yards, and a league-high five touchdowns to tight ends in the past month. Don’t be surprised when Higbee finds the end zone for the third time this season on Sunday.

Terrell Lewis

Terrell Lewis has been a key contributor off of the edge this season for the Rams, especially since Justin Hollins went down with an injury. The second-year edge defender has been able to remain healthy, and he’s having a breakout season as a result.

Through the first seven weeks, Lewis has racked up 16 combined tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, and a forced fumble. The Alabama product will be spending most of his time lined up across from Geron Christian Sr., who has been filling in for an injured Laremy Tunsil.

Of the 197 offensive snaps that Christian has logged, he’s allowed zero sacks and has committed two penalties for the Texans. While Christian has performed well in relief of Tunsil in recent weeks, Lewis will want to give Christian his first sack allowed on the season in Week 8.

Rob Havenstein

Forgotten among the play of guys like Stafford and Kupp, is the elite play from the offensive line of the Rams this season. Following the team’s win over the Lions, it was discovered that the Rams have the lowest sack rate and the best pass-blocking grade of any team in the NFL through seven weeks.

One of the biggest reasons why the offensive line is dominating is the contributions from Rob Havenstein. Havenstein has been tremendous this season, giving up just one sack on 442 offensive snaps for Los Angeles.

It just so happens that Jonathan Greenard, who leads Houston with six sacks this season, lines up at the left end spot. Havenstein is going to see plenty of Greenard on Sunday, with Charles Omenihu also subbing in at left end. The Rams are going to need Havenstein to keep Greenard off of Stafford on Sunday if they want to take care of business on the road.

Ernest Jones

At the beginning of the week, the Rams turned some heads when they traded Kenny Young and a seventh-round pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a future sixth-round pick. Young was beginning to show he was the best inside linebacker on the roster, only to be traded due to what Sean McVay is calling a “financially driven” move.

With Young no longer manning the middle, rookie Ernest Jones is expected to be the starter alongside Troy Reeder. Even though he may not start the game with the starting defense, Raheem Morris made it clear to say Jones is essentially a starter.

Jones was selected by the Rams in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of South Carolina. Los Angeles has lofty expectations for Jones, as evidenced by them trading Young in the first place. The first-year linebacker will get his first real taste of NFL action on Sunday versus the Texans.

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