The Los Angeles Rams enter Week 13 in the midst of a losing streak, but also a new phase of football. The Rams have lost six of their last seven games, as quarterback Jared Goff was given the reigns two weeks ago. Now making his third start, he and Todd Gurley face off against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Week 13 certainly has come with a lot of baggage for Jeff Fisher and the Los Angeles Rams. After entering halftime only down by a touchdown, the team was shutout 21-o in the second half. Although Goff threw three first half touchdowns, the offense was shutout in the second half. Facing the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome, Drew Brees annihilated the secondary of the Rams.
With the team preparing for Week 13, Fisher and legendary Rams’ player Eric Dickerson got into an exchange. Dickerson was apparently stepping over his boundary are critiquing Fisher, which resulted in him stating he won’t come to another game as long as Fisher is coach.
That storyline has taken much of the headlines this week, as the Rams are reeling right now for a victory. Virtually out of playoff contention, the Rams would need to win out and defeat their divisional opponents to have any shot at the postseason.
However, the team must also realize that the conclusion of the 2016 season should be used to fully prepare the combination of Goff and Gurley for the future.
As far as injuries are concerned, the Rams remain one of the healthiest teams in the NFL. No player has been officially ruled out, as only five players showed up on the injury report. Wide receiver Tavon Austin remains doubtful for tomorrow, while he battles a chest injury. Robert Quinn and Tim Barnes remain questionable, but as expected to play.
The Patriots enter 13 on the verge of the worst news of the season: tight end Rob Gronkowski has been put on the season-ending IR after his back surgery.
Entering the 12th game of the season, the Rams own the ninth ranked defense (339.8 YPG) and the 32nd ranked offense (295.1 YPG). On the other hand, the Patriots own the 14th ranked defense (353.2 YPG) and the sixth ranked offense (386.2 YPG).
In terms of passing yards allowed, the Rams own the seventh best (227.5 YPG), while the Patriots hold the 18th ranked passing defense (253.6 YPG). On the rushing side, the Rams own the 20th ranked defense (112.3 YPG), while the Patriots own the 13th ranked rush defense (99.5 YPG).
Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick has a knack for forming deadly game plans, as he faces off against a rookie quarterback. Expect the Patriots to heavily stack the box, in order to limit the production of Gurley.
However, Fisher and the Rams tremendously need the emergence of Gurley this game. If the Patriots are able to limit the rushing attack, Goff will be making a lot of throws against a battle-tested defense.