The outlook of the Texans at Rams game has dramatically changed since their shootout loss to the Seahawks back in week eight. There were talks of Deshaun Watson as an MVP candidate, Offensive Rookie of the Year, and of the Texans as a dangerous team that no one would want to face. After a heartbreaking injury that occurred in the week leading up to week nine, that ended Watson’s 2017 season, the outlook is looking a little different. The Rams will now face a Texans team led by quarterback Tom Savage who has played in two games the entire season. In those two games, the team averages a paltry 10.5 points and zero wins, which is far below their overall 28.6 points per game they have averaged overall, which is third in the league and above the 21.9 average in the league. This has all of the ingredients for a “trap” game, but new head coach Sean McVay has done a magnificent job keeping his team humble and focused on the tasks at hand instead of looking ahead. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how these teams stack up against one another.
Los Angeles Rams Offense vs. Houston Texans Defense
While the Rams hold a 6-2 record on the season and are leading the league in average points per game with 32.9, they have not won a game at the LA Coliseum since their week one matchup against the Colts and have gone 0-2 since. They have average 25.3 points per game at home (not counting the London game that was considered home) this season combined, while only averaging 15.0 in their last two (both losses). The Rams will look to get back on track at home after going 4-0 on the road, 5-0 if we’re counting their London game against Arizona, and will be facing the league’s 20th ranked offense in terms of yards per game allowed with 339.1 and 29th in points allowed per game with 26.0. Getting Gurley involved early will help establish the passing game against a Texans defense that is allowing one of the highest passer ratings to opposing quarterbacks but are top-10 in stopping the run. While the Rams are third in total offense with 382.1 yards per game and fifth in rushing yards per game with 131.9. However, Texans did just allow the Colts’ running backs to generate 80 yards rushing, something they had done only twice prior to week nine. The goal for the Rams is getting Gurley 100 or more rushing yards as they have gone 8-1 in games where Gurley reaches that threshold since drafting him, with an average of 26.9 points scored in those games.
Los Angeles Rams Defense vs. Houston Texans Offense
Something to not overlook about the loss of Deshaun Watson is his elusiveness and ability to get on the run to avoid the sack. The Texans have taken nine sacks in the two games that Tom Savage has started, compared to 10 in the six games Watson has started. That stat bodes well for a Rams team that is tied for sixth in the league in quarterback sacks with 25, as well as sixth in forced fumbles with nine. As I eluded to before, the Texans are averaging only 10.5 points per game in games where Savage is the quarterback, while the Rams are tied for ninth with only 19.4 points allowed per game while averaging only 12.5 over their last four games. Creating turnovers has been huge for the Rams defense this season as they have the seventh most in the league with 15, meanwhile the Texans are tied for 11th most turnovers with 13. Savage alone has been marked with three of those turnovers via forced fumbles. The sweet spot for the Rams will be getting at least two turnovers, which they have done four times and lost only one of those games, though if they get three turnovers they could add to their 2-0 record when doing so.
The Rams are in waters that have been uncharted for years and are looking for their seventh win only 10 weeks into the season after not surpassing seven wins in over 10 years. Though it would be easy for the Rams to overlook a team that has seen playmakers like J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, Christian Covington, Brian Cushing, and now Deshaun Watson lost for the season due to injury, it would be wise not to. They still have playmakers like Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins, and Jonathan Joseph, who is one of the top cover corners in the league. Despite the playmakers opposite the Rams, the Rams should come out on top at the end of the game with the bevy of playmakers on their side and in position to secure a winning record in the following week, something they have not done since 2004. If Jared Goff is able to produce back-to-back games like he did in week nine, look for the Rams to put up another 40 or more points and increase their league-leading scoring offenses points per game total.