The Los Angeles Rams should feel great about their chances to knock off the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon, coming into this game as 17-point favorites. The team won’t take the Jets lightly, though, even despite their 0-13 record.
The Rams have the advantage at just about every position, but New York still has some talented players on both sides of the ball. Here are four key matchups to watch as the Rams get set to square off against the Jets in Week 15.
(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Crowder is the Jets’ best receiver, but don’t expect Jalen Ramsey to shadow him. Crowder is a smaller, quicker receiver, whereas Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims possess bigger frames on the outside, which makes them a better matchup for Ramsey. Hill typically plays in the slot when Ramsey and Darious Williams are outside, which will put him on Crowder throughout the game. Hill has done a nice job in the second half of the season and there’s no reason to believe he can't win this matchup with Crowder. If L.A. can take away Crowder with just single coverage, it’ll stunt the production of New York’s offense even further because he’s a catalyst in the passing game.
(AP Photo/Corey Perrine)
Williams is quietly having a very good season for a terrible Jets team. He has an overall grade of 78.9 from Pro Football Focus, which puts him among the best interior defenders in the NFL. He has six sacks, 13 QB hits and nine tackles for loss, more than doubling each of those stats from last year in one fewer game played. Edwards has stepped up at left guard and played well, but this will be a big test for the second-year lineman. Williams has a great combination of speed and power on the interior, and as a result of his skill set, he leads all defensive tackles with a run stop win rate of 49%. Edwards must keep Williams out of the backfield, especially when the Rams attempt to run the ball to the left side.
Brandon Staley vs. Sam Darnold
(AP Photo/Greg Beacham)
Darnold has played exceptionally poorly this season. He’s completing just 58.4% of his passes, has just five touchdowns and nine interceptions and is averaging an unsightly 4.7 yards per pass attempt. His skill players haven't given him much help, but Darnold isn't reading defenses correctly, is making inaccurate throws and committing costly turnovers for the Jets. Staley leads arguably the best defense in the NFL, with L.A. ranking first in total yards allowed and first in passing yards against. With four extra days to prepare for Darnold, he’ll be sure to throw mixed coverages at the young quarterback in an attempt to fool him – which hasn’t been hard to do this season. Unless Darnold has a career game on Sunday afternoon, the Jets are going to do very little against this Staley-led defense.
Justin Hollins vs. Mekhi Becton
(AP Photo/Jennifer Stewart)
Becton has lived up to the hype at left tackle this season, playing at a very high level for a rookie. He’s earned a 75.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, allowing six sacks and committing five penalties in 521 snaps played. Hollins has provided a spark for the Rams at outside linebacker opposite Leonard Floyd, dominating against the Cardinals and then showing up again against the Patriots. Hollins’ length and athleticism typically give left tackles trouble, but Becton has the skill set to match it. This will be a fun battle to watch on the outside, with Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Samson Ebukam also mixing in.