The Rams face their stiffest challenge in several weeks when they travel north to take on the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday. The Rams offense will have a chance to silence any remaining doubters with a solid performance against one of the league’s best defenses. Here are three keys to victory for the Rams to leave Minnesota with a win.
Contain the pass-rush
The single biggest difference between the 2016 and 2017 Rams may be the play of the offensive line. This year’s line, anchored by free agent acquisition Andrew Whitworth, has been outstanding. They’ve allowed just 13 sacks all year, but will be going against a very tough Vikings front seven. Star defensive end Everson Griffen has at least one sack in every game he’s played in, and fellow end Danielle Hunter is a pass-rushing force as well. Jared Goff has been outstanding when he has a clean pocket and time to throw, so if the Rams can end Griffen’s sack streak and keep Goff upright, they should have a very good chance at winning.
Make Case Keenum turn the ball over
The man who entered the 2016 season as the Rams starting quarterback has been surprisingly solid so far for the Vikings. Keenum was expected to be a stop-gap while Teddy Bridgewater got healthy, but his strong play has kept Bridgewater on the bench, for now. Keenum has done well, but can still make a crucial mistake at any moment. Just last week when he threw for four touchdowns against the Redskins, Keenum still had two terrible interceptions which nearly gave the game right back to Washington. If the Rams defense can avoid giving up the big play and just let Keenum be Keenum, they could be in for a multiple-turnover day.
Win the special teams battle
Despite the fact that both offenses have been clicking in recent weeks, this still could be a low scoring affair. Both defenses are bordering on elite and as such both teams will likely seek to establish the ground game. There’s a good chance the Rams offense isn’t as successful as they have been in recent weeks against much softer defenses, and they might have to find other areas to make plays. Like they did against the Jaguars when the offense wasn’t playing well, if the Rams special teams unit can come up big, it could end up being the difference in the game.
Those are the three most important things for the Rams during the game. The offensive line needs to keep playing like they’ve been playing. The defense needs to make Keenum make mistakes, and John Fassel’s special teams unit needs to continue to be the best in the league like they have been. If they can do just two of those three things, the Rams should return home victorious.