L.A. Rams at Detroit Lions
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
DETROIT – The Los Angeles Rams can wrap up their second straight NFC West Division title and stay in the hunt for the top overall seed in the conference when they visit the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles, which won its first eight games behind a high-powered offense, is coming off a bye that followed a pulsating 54-51 win over Kansas City in Week 11.With back-to-back road games at Detroit and Chicago on deck, the Rams are trying not to get too preoccupied with potential seeding for the postseason. “We’ve got to find a way to get better. Those good teams really do that,” coach Sean McVay said. “You’ve got to continue to get better if you expect to compete, but for us, that focus is on the Detroit Lions this week.” Detroit has seen its playoff hopes fizzle over the past five weeks, falling to 1-4 in that span after a 23-16 loss to the Bears on Thanksgiving Day. “Certainly the Rams are not going to feel sorry for us,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “We just have to make sure we do a good job of doing everything we can to try to stop them.”
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Rams -10. O/U: 54.5
ABOUT THE RAMS (10-1): Todd Gurley, who fell to second in the league in rushing during the bye week, was hindered by an ankle injury and had a season-low 12 carries against Kansas City but McVay said he had a great practice Wednesday. Jared Goff threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns in the shootout against the Chiefs and has 14 scoring passes against one interception over his past five games. Brandin Cooks has bounced back from a quiet three-game stretch with three consecutive 100-yard games, hauling in 24 receptions in that span. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh returns to the city where he began his career but Aaron Donald is a bigger threat with an NFL-high 14.5 sacks.
ABOUT THE LIONS (4-7): After years of having one of the league’s worst rushing attacks, Detroit finally had established a solid ground game before rookie Kerryon Johnson suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for a second straight game. LeGarrette Blount was brought out of mothballs to fill in for Johnson on Thanksgiving and responded by rushing for a season-high 88 yards and two touchdowns. Matthew Stafford has only three touchdown passes versus four interceptions over the past four games and is working with a depleted receiving corps led by Kenny Golladay. Nose tackle Damon Harrison has solidified a run defense that has yielded 148 yards in the last three games.
1. Cooks needs 36 yards to become the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards for three different teams in three straight seasons.
2. Stafford has 12 touchdown passes and two interceptions in his last four games games versus NFL West foes.
3. Gurley, who has an NFL-best 17 TDs, has scored in his last seven road games.