The Los Angeles Rams will be looking to stay in the win column in their trip to London to take on a Cincinnati Bengals team that is still searching for their first win of the 2019 NFL season.
The Rams were finally able to put an end to their three-game skid with a 37-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7 despite dealing with multiple key injuries on both sides of the ball. They are now looking to take advantage of their favorable matchups on the road over the next few weeks in order to get back on track.
Meanwhile, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is hoping his first win of the season can come against his former team. Taylor spent two seasons as an assistant coach in Los Angeles before taking over in Cincinnati and it is safe to say he is still finding his footing with this group.
Regardless, the Rams will need to do what they can to come back from across the pond healthy and with a win.
Rams Offense vs. Bengals Defense
One of the biggest concerns for the Rams in recent weeks has been the state of their offensive line following the season-ending injury to left guard Joseph Noteboom. Fortunately, rookie David Edwards was able to establish himself as a viable replacement after helping to prevent zero sacks on quarterback Jared Goff against the Falcons.
They should be able to pick up where they left off against a Bengals defense dealing with its fair share of injuries as well. Even at full strength, this group has proven to be one of the most generous defenses in the league this season. They will have their hands full matching up with cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard, Dre Kirkpatrick, and defensive end Carl Lawson ruled out.
Rams Defense vs. Bengals Offense
Los Angeles made quite a splash ahead of the trade deadline with the acquisition of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and he was able to make his promising debut with the team in Atlanta. There is no question that he was able to make his presence felt immediately for this shorthanded defense that is still reeling with the absence of linebacker Clay Matthews, cornerback Aqib Talib, and safety John Johnson III. He is now focused on getting better acclimated to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme.
Cincinnati had high hopes for a potential resurgence on offense in the 2019 campaign, however, Taylor has struggled to get anything going with the lack of firepower. Their lack of run game has made the offense relatively one-dimensional to the point that not even the looming return of wide receiver A.J. Green provides reason for optimism. Regardless, they will be looking to take advantage of the Rams’ depleted personnel to try and jump ahead early.
Three Keys To Victory
1. Establish Run Game
Although the Rams offense was able to get back on track in Week 7, they were still unable to get any semblance of the run game going with both running backs Todd Gurley and Darrell Henderson averaging less than three yards per carry.
The Bengals are currently allowing the most yards per game in the league by a whopping margin (189.0). This could be the week the head coach Sean McVay is finally able to establish a strong ground attack.
2. Generate Pressure On Andy Dalton
Aside from having the worst rush defense in the league, Cincinnati also boasts the worst rushing attack with a mere 53.1 yards per game. This means that they will be relying heavily on quarterback Andy Dalton and the passing game.
The fact that Los Angeles is dealing with multiple key injuries in the secondary solidifies the notion that they will be looking to take advantage through the air. The onus will fall on outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. and the other edge rushers to take advantage of the attention defensive tackle Aaron Donald is set to garner from the offensive line.
3. Jump Ahead Early And Do Not Look Back
Making the grueling trip to London is not an easy task for any team no matter the opponent. Regardless, the Rams would be wise to take full advantage of this favorable matchup against the Bengals by making it out with a win as healthy as possible.
The team is already dealing its fair share of injuries midway through the season. Securing a comfortable lead early on could allow them to rest some key starters as they look to end their three-game road trip on a high note.