Lions vs. Rams: 5 burning questions for the Week 7 matchup

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Detroit is making its first-ever trip to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles to face the Rams in their new home. The Week 7 matchup pits Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford against their old teams, and those two teams are experiencing very divergent 2021 seasons.

Goff and the Lions are the NFL’s only winless team after six weeks, while Stafford and the Rams are 5-1 and looking like a legit contender. To help break down what the oddsmakers have deemed Detroit’s lowest chance to win a game since 2009, I turned to Rams Wire editor Cam Da Silva for a few questions.

How much of an impact has Matthew Stafford made on the Rams?

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He’s made a massive impact. Not only has he been a better quarterback than Jared Goff, but he’s elevated everyone around him and really freed up Sean McVay as a play-caller. The Rams are taking more shots downfield, which has caused Cooper Kupp’s yards-per-reception average to spike from 10.6 in 2020 to 14.2 this season.

Stafford has been excellent on third-and-long, too, a situation where McVay was typically conservative with Goff under center. The offense puts far more pressure on opponents with Stafford in charge.

The Rams lost a lot of defensive talent this offseason, including Michael Brockers to the Lions. How effectively have they replaced guys like Brockers, John Johnson, Morgan Fox, etc.?

(AP Photo/Lon Horwedel)

They haven’t truly replaced any of them, to be honest. They still don’t have a great No. 3 cornerback after losing Troy Hill in free agency, and now with Darious Williams on injured reserve, they even lack a true No. 2 cornerback for the time being. A’Shawn Robinson, a familiar name for Lions fans, hasn’t made much of an impact as Brockers’ replacement, and Taylor Rapp has been a downgrade from Johnson at safety.

The Rams are getting by, but those losses have been felt.

What is the view from afar on Jared Goff now that he's no longer with the Rams?

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Rams fans are kind of torn on him. There’s a contingent that is happy he’s no longer the Rams’ quarterback, while simultaneously ignoring what he accomplished in Los Angeles. Then there’s also a group of fans who will defend him until they’re blue in the face, refusing to accept that he was nothing more than an average quarterback the last two years.

We’re seeing many of the same issues in his game this season as we saw for the last two years, which makes the upgrade to Stafford that much more noticeable.

Is there anything about the Lions that concerns you from a matchup standpoint?

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Not a whole lot, but the fact that the Rams don’t have Williams at cornerback could be troubling. The Lions can capitalize on Robert Rochell’s inexperience, especially on deep shots and double-moves.

The Rams also shot themselves in the foot too many times in recent weeks with penalties and third-down inefficiency, so if the Lions can take advantage of Los Angeles’ mistakes, they could hang in there.

Who wins and why?

I really don’t see the Rams losing this game. They got off to a slow start against the Giants and actually trailed 3-0, but then proceeded to score 38 unanswered and blew the doors off New York. As long as the Rams don’t make any costly self-inflicted mistakes and turn the ball over, this one won’t be particularly close. Rams 31, Lions 17.

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I really don’t see the Rams losing this game. They got off to a slow start against the Giants and actually trailed 3-0, but then proceeded to score 38 unanswered and blew the doors off New York. As long as the Rams don’t make any costly self-inflicted mistakes and turn the ball over, this one won’t be particularly close.

Rams 31, Lions 17.

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