NFL Week 16 Preview: Rams at Titans
The Los Angeles Rams visit the Tennessee Titans in Week 16 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Mike Cahill
Matchup: Los Angeles Rams offense vs. Tennessee Titans defense
- RB Todd Gurley vs. Titans run defense – Sunday marked the fifth time this season Gurley has had 20 or more carries in a game. It also marked the fifth win in such games. In those games, Gurley has 608 yards, 320 yards after contact, 2.70 yards after contact per attempt (2.70), and six touchdowns. Week 16, Gurley will face a Titans defense that boasts inside linebackers Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard. Both linebackers are tied for seventh among their position in run-defense grade with grades of 88.6 and they have combined for 55 run stops, with Woodyard second among inside linebackers in run-stop percentage at 10.8. While Woodyard makes big plays, he has also missed three missed tackles in the run game, and Gurley just made Bobby Wagner miss his first tackle of the season in Week 15 on his way to seven missed tackles forced total for the game.
- WR Robert Woods vs. CB Adoree’ Jackson – Woods’ return in Week 15 was quiet, but he caught all six of his targets, four of them for first downs. With that, Woods brought his wide receiver rating (passer rating when targeted) up to 128.1 on the season. That is fourth-highest among receivers with at least 40 targets. Of his 73 targets on the season, 45.5 percent of them have gone for either a first down or a touchdown (the 11th-highest rate among receivers). His counterpart in Jackson has stepped his play up after giving up three touchdowns in his first four games of his rookie season. Though he hasn’t given up a touchdown over his last four games, Jackson is allowing the 23rd-highest passer rating (98.3) into his coverage while also allowing an average of 1.24 yards per coverage snap (third most).
- T Andrew Whitworth vs. Edge Brian Orakpo – In his 14th game in Los Angeles, Whitworth allowed his sixth quarterback sack of the season, resulting in a fumble. This ties his career high which came in 2006, his rookie year. Since the bye, Whitworth is tied for 22nd in pressures allowed among left tackles while his pass-blocking efficiency of 95.7 also ranks 22nd. Week 16 brings him a matchup with Orakpo, who has seven sacks and 52 total pressures from the right side this season. His 11.0 pass-rush productivity from the right side is tied with Von Miller for 17th-highest among edge defenders.
PFFELO Ranking: 17
Coverage by: Sam McGaw
Matchup: Tennessee Titans offense vs. Los Angeles Rams defense
- QB Marcus Mariota vs. Rams pass-rush – When Mariota has faced pressure this season, he’s completed 48-of-87 passes for 628 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. His 87.7 passer rating when under pressure ranks second in the league. Conversely, his 77.5 passer rating when kept clean ranks 35th out of 38 qualified quarterbacks. The Rams have forced pressure on 38 percent of pass plays, which is tied for the fifth-highest rate. They’ve converted eight percent of their pressures into sacks. Rams interior defensive lineman Aaron Donald leads his position group with a pass-rushing productivity of 15.4.
- RB DeMarco Murray vs. LB Mark Barron – Murray ranks 39th among running backs with a run grade of 69.0. He possesses an elusive rating of 32.5 and he averages 2.08 yards after contact per rushing attempt. Only 21.1 percent of his runs have been held to zero yards or less, which is slightly better than the league average of 23.2 percent. Barron’s 10.5 run-stop percentage is tied for fourth among linebackers. However, his run-defense grade of 43.2 ranks 72nd.
- WR Rishard Matthews vs. CB Trumaine Johnson – Matthews approaches Week 16 averaging 1.89 receiving yards per route run, which is tied for 17th among wide receivers. When lined up outside to the right, he’s caught 19 of 24 targets for 314 yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he boasts a wide receiver rating of 146.5 when he runs his routes from that position. Johnson has allowed an average of 1.34 receiving yards per coverage snap. When he’s lined up as the left cornerback, he’s given up 25 catches on 48 passes into his coverage for 371 yards, one touchdown and has also secured one interception. Quarterbacks targeting a player in his coverage average a passer rating of 78.0.