Rams seek return to winning ways against struggling Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE (2-9) at LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-4)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. EST, Fox
OPENING LINE: Rams by 13, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Tennessee 4-7, Los Angeles 4-7.
SERIES RECORD: Rams lead 4-1.
LAST MEETING: Rams beat Jaguars 27-17 on Oct. 15, 2017, in Jacksonville, Florida.
LAST WEEK: Jaguars lost to Atlanta 21-14; Rams lost to Green Bay 36-28.
JAGUARS OFFENSE: OVERALL (23), RUSH (13), PASS (24), SCORING (31).
JAGUARS DEFENSE: OVERALL (20), RUSH (21), PASS (18), SCORING (26).
RAMS OFFENSE: OVERALL (7), RUSH (24), PASS (5), SCORING (8).
RAMS DEFENSE: OVERALL (15), RUSH (9), PASS (21), SCORING (21).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Jaguars minus-13; Rams plus-1.
JAGUARS PLAYER TO WATCH: RB James Robinson has scored seven touchdowns in his last eight games and remains the key to the team’s offense. Although he has just one 100-yard game on the ground, he’s averaging 5.1 yards a carry despite playing through knee and heel pain. “If James wasn’t as tough as he was, he wouldn’t be playing,” coach Urban Meyer said. “He wouldn’t be playing. Most running backs would not be playing.”
RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Cooper Kupp has managed to stay productive through the Rams’ three-game losing streak, making 29 catches for 313 yards. But he doesn’t have a touchdown reception in that span after racking up 10 scores in the first eight games, and isn’t generating nearly as many big plays, which reflects larger fundamental issues with the offense.
KEY MATCHUP: Rams QB Matthew Stafford vs. Jaguars OLB Josh Allen. Turnovers have piled up for Stafford as he has come under more pressure in recent weeks, and Allen is more than capable of making him uncomfortable in the pocket. Stafford has thrown a pick-6 in three straight games, mistakes the Rams cannot afford in their current fragile state. Although Allen has not made a sack in three games following his game-changing performance to spark the shocking win over Buffalo, he’ll like his chances against an offensive line that had allowed nine takedowns of Stafford during the skid.
KEY INJURIES: The Jaguars hope to get CB Shaquill Griffin (concussion) back after missing last week’s game. TE Dan Arnold (knee) was placed on injured reserve and likely will miss the rest of the season. C Brandon Linder and TE James O’Shaughnessy returned last week after lengthy stints on IR and played well. … Rams RB Darrell Henderson Jr. (quadriceps) and WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hip) are expected to play. LB Justin Hollins (pectoral) could play inside some after being activated off IR this week, given the glut of options on the edge after acquiring Von Miller in his absence.
SERIES NOTES: The Rams have dominated the brief series, with the Jaguars’ lone win coming at home in overtime in 2009. … This will be Jacksonville’s first game against the Rams in Los Angeles. They were 0-3 in St. Louis. … Sean McVay guided the Rams to the win when the teams last met in 2017, with Aaron Donald picking up one sack.
STATS AND STUFF: Jaguars LB Myles Jack will play an NFL game in Los Angeles for the first time after an electric stint as a two-way player at UCLA. Jack, who leads the team with 75 tackles, had an ankle injury that kept him out against the Chargers last year. … Marvin Jones Jr. is Jacksonville’s only 100-yard receiver this season, hitting the century mark on seven grabs against Miami in Week 6. No Jaguars pass catcher has had more than 68 yards in five games since. … Meyer has lost as many games in his first year in the NFL as he did in seven seasons at Ohio State. He was 83-9 with the Buckeyes, never dropping more than two games in a campaign. … Rams CB Jalen Ramsey will play against the Jaguars for the first time after playing with them for his first four seasons. Ramsey has five interceptions in 35 games since he was traded to Los Angeles; he had nine picks in 51 games for Jacksonville after being drafted fifth overall in 2016. … Rams S Jordan Fuller played under Meyer at Ohio State in three of his four seasons. Fuller’s 46 solo tackles are most by a Los Angeles defender. … Donald has 140 tackles for loss since coming into the league in 2014. The next highest total in the NFL in that span is New Orleans’ Cameron Jordan with 108.
FANTASY TIP: While this should be a ‘get right’ game for the Rams, it might not lead to big fantasy numbers for Stafford and the rest of the passing attack. Jacksonville gave up four 300-yard passing performances and six 100-yard receivers through its first six games, but since the bye week no QB has hit 300 yards passing, and only Seattle’s Tyler Lockett has topped 100 yards receiving.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL