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Intriguing Game- Week 16

Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee Titans

Rams: Last week was hands down their best win of the season in Seattle and they’ve been known to always play well against the Seahawks in their stadium. Right now, the Rams are hitting their stride and playing their best football at the right now with the season coming to an end and the playoffs are right around the corner. They’re 10-4 with two games to play and the NFC West division championship in their grasp. What a difference a year can truly make. Jeff Fisher was just relieved of his duties, Todd Gurley looked out of sync and we didn’t know what to expect from Jared Goff. A year later, Sean McVay comes in and turns around the entire offensive dynamic of this offense. They are more patient now and when it comes to throwing against the blitz, the Rams are the best in the league when it comes to capitalizing on that. Goff looks like a more developed quarterback, Gurley is running like a wild man in space and I think the most important thing about Todd is he’s healthy. After giving up 43 points to the Eagles in week 14, the defense really regrouped nicely and gave up a single touchdown to the Seahawks. They kept Russell Wilson in the pocket, the corners were physical with the Seattle receivers and they pretty much didn’t allow Russell to get comfortable all game. Talk about a complete and all-around win, that’s exactly what that was. The Rams win this game on Sunday, they will host a playoff game for the first time since 2003 when they were still known as the St. Louis Rams.

Titans: I gave them some pretty big expectations coming into the year. The AFC South hasn’t been the strongest division ever and there was really no clear-cut favorite to take it this year. I gave it to the Titans because I felt they were ready to take that next step after ending last season on such a positive. They’re 8-6 right now and currently sit in the fifth seed in the AFC Playoff Picture. They’ve played underwhelming football as of late and their biggest problem has been their inability to take care of the football and Marcus Mariota hasn’t developed as quickly as many people had thought. I also look at their offensive coordinator, Terry Robiskie and his offensive scheme doesn’t really mesh well with the quarterback’s strengths. Mike Mularkey’s “exotic smashmouth” brand of football has been anything but exotic, and simply mundane but here they are, in control of their own playoff destiny. Here’s the thing though with them: What team will show up? Will it be the Titans that destroyed both the Jaguars and Seahawks earlier in the season in back to back weeks or will we see the team that’s dropped two games in a row to the Cardinals and 49ers? Luckily for the Titans, they own tiebreakers over two other 8-6 teams in Baltimore and the Buffalo Bills. This is a big game for them with a red-hot Rams team coming to town for a Christmas Eve showdown.

Rams Player To Watch: Sammy Watkins– I’ve seen Goff connect with every other receiver on the Rams (Kupp, Austin and he’ll use Gurley as a receiver), Sammy Watkins is a playmaker and a serviceable one at that when he’s getting the football. Throw it to him!

Titans Player To Watch: Delanie Walker– He’s an underrated tight end with the skill set of a wide receiver. Every game that I’ve seen the Rams lose, the tight end was a big struggle of theirs to defend. Use him in space, in the slot, out wide and make the Rams do their best to defend him.

Final Analysis: Whenever I see this matchup, I think of that Super Bowl in Atlanta where Kevin Dyson fell short of scoring. All these years later, here they are meeting in a week 16 showdown. Can the Titans defense matchup with the Rams offense? Especially their secondary which has struggled to defend the pass down the field. The Titans can’t come out loading the box because of the Rams weapons, there’s more than one guy to contain. For the Rams defense, you already shut down one mobile quarterback, now it’s time to stop another.

Prediction: Rams 24 Titans 17