5 key matchups to watch in Rams vs. Texans

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Looking at the Texans’ roster, it’s clear they’re not a team with many star players. They’re in a complete rebuild, which is why so many young and unproven players have gotten the chance to play bigger roles this season.

The Rams, on the other hand, boast a star-studded team led by Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and Matthew Stafford. And so the individual matchups may not be the most intriguing when these two teams take the field on Sunday.

Here are five matchups we’re watching, including Ramsey against Brandin Cooks.

Jalen Ramsey vs. Brandin Cooks

Ramsey isn’t going to shadow Cooks, seeing as he hasn’t followed a single No. 1 receiver all season. However, Cooks can play in the slot and on the outside, as can Ramsey. There’s no question Cooks is the Texans’ top receiver, being targeted 64 times in seven games. That’s 40 more than any other player on the team, and 49 more than the next-closest wide receiver, Nico Collins.

Cooks has exceptional speed, which the Rams know well, so taking away deep shots is critical. The Rams have no better player to take Cooks away than Ramsey, so it would seem prudent for them to stick their top corner on Cooks in key spots.

Terrell Lewis vs. Geron Christian Sr.

Christian has replaced Laremy Tunsil at left tackle and he’s done a surprisingly good job. He’s only allowed one total pressure in 124 pass-blocking snaps and still hasn’t given up a sack. On Sunday, he’ll go up against Lewis, assuming he’s able to recover from his rib injury and suit up against the Texans.

Lewis is a handful for every tackle due to his size and explosiveness off the line, really coming into his own this season. Leonard Floyd will be a consistent source of pressure on the other side, but if Lewis can give Christian some trouble off, it’ll make life difficult for whichever quarterback suits up for the Texans.

Cooper Kupp vs. Tavierre Thomas

Thomas has played the most snaps in the slot for the Texans this season and has a respectable coverage grade of 67.9, according to Pro Football Focus. That’s best on the team as he’s given up just five catches for 25 yards on eight targets.

He’ll face his biggest test yet on Sunday when Kupp lines up across from him because there’s no receiver in the NFL playing better than No. 10 on the Rams. Kupp is a good bet to catch at least seven passes for 100 yards and another touchdown on Sunday.

Rob Havenstein vs. Charles Omenihu

Omenihu has the most pressures (16) of any player on the Texans despite only playing five games and getting 105 pass-rush snaps. He moves around quite a bit, flipping sides from the left to the right, but he’ll likely get most of his opportunities against Havenstein at right tackle.

Havenstein is having one of his best seasons yet, so there’s no major reason to worry about this matchup from a Rams perspective, but Omenihu definitely adds a spark to Houston’s otherwise lackluster defense and pass rush. He’s a player to watch this weekend.

Austin Corbett vs. Maliek Collins

Right next to Havenstein, Corbett will have his own difficult matchup. He’ll get Collins for most of the game, needing to slow down Houston’s top interior rusher. Collins has 15 pressures but only one sack this season and aside from a handful of missed tackles, he’s been a solid defender in the middle of the Texans’ defensive line.

Corbett has done a nice job all season and shouldn’t have too much trouble with Collins, but he shouldn’t sleep on the former Cowboys defensive tackle. Collins has some pass-rush moves in his repertoire.

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