The Rams have the second most productive offense in the NFL in 2018, moving the ball for an average of 6.8 yards per play. They are third in the league in scoring average, lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 35.4 points per game.
On the ground, the Rams are tied for fifth in the league with an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Todd Gurley might win the league’s MVP award this season, as he is the best non-quarterback on the offensive side of the ball this season. Expect the Rams to feature him heavily in this game against a Lions defense that has to deal with so many options here.
The passing offense of the Rams is its biggest strength, as the team has a second-best average of 8.9 yards gained per pass attempt. Jared Goff has made things work through the air no matter who his receivers are. When Cooper Kupp went down, he has involved other options more prominently without missing a beat. Despite being a third-year player, he has shown outrageous maturity.
Wade Phillips’ defense has allowed an average of 6.2 yards per play this season, putting them in a tie for 26th in the NFL in that department. But help is on the way, in the form of Aqib Talib. If he can stay healthy over the rest of the season, expect the Rams to get exponentially better in this area going forward.
Los Angeles is giving up 5.2 yards per carry to opposing rushers, putting them ahead of only the Raiders this season. Against the pass, the Rams are tied for 24th in the NFL, giving up 7.4 yards per pass attempt. Matt Stafford usually only shines in garbage time, earning the nickname Stat Padford, but he could play well against this soft defense.
Lions Week 13 Outlook
The Detroit Lions are tied for 22nd in the league this season, averaging 5.4 yards per play for the season. Their 21.6 points per game for the year have put them in 21st in the NFL through 12 games.
Matt Patricia’s squad is tied for 16th in the league with 4.3 yards per carry on average. But they have an explosive back in Kerryon Johnson, who has gashed teams left and right this season and has proven that he is capable of big plays. Against a soft Rams run defense, expect a big game from the young running back.
Matt Stafford has led the Lions to 6.4 yards per pass attempt this season, good for 25th in the NFL. They got rid of his favorite receiving target, leaving him to throw the ball to his second favorite target, which is the other team. Stafford threw the game-winning touchdown pass last week against the Bears. Unfortunately, he threw it to the Bears on a pick six.
Defensively, the Lions are allowing 6.2 yards per play for the year, putting them in a tie with the Rams for 25th in the NFL. They looked good against the Bears last week, but that was against Chase Daniel. They could be in for a tougher time against the elite Rams offense.
Detroit is tied for 21st in the league, allowing 4.7 yards per carry. They are also 30th in the league in pass defense, giving up a whopping eight yards per pass attempt on the season.
Normally, the Lions have an advantage after Thanksgiving in that they usually have more rest than their opponents as a result of playing on Thursday. Instead, the Rams are the more rested team in this game as they are coming off of their bye week. For a Lions team that needs all of the help that it can get, not having that edge is huge.
Rams vs. Lions Trends
The Rams come into this game at an impressive 10-1 straight up record for the season, but a less impressive 4-6-1 against the spread. The Rams are a historically strong team coming off of their bye week, going 8-2-1 against the spread in their last 11 games following the bye. But Los Angeles is 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four games, and are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games overall.
Detroit comes into the game at 4-7 straight up for the year, and 6-5 against the spread, making them surprisingly superior to the Rams against the spread so far this season. But Detroit has struggled against the spread as of late, going just 1-4 against the number in their last five games. They are also 4-11 against the spread in their last 15 games against teams with winning records, a club that the Rams certainly belong to.
The Rams are by far the better team in this game, hence the huge spread. But the Lions have some pieces here that should be able to help them cover in this game. Their running game is good enough to rack up big yards against a struggling Rams run defense, similarly to how Seattle played them twice earlier in the season.
The Rams have secretly been a bad team against the spread this season, with most of their games being closer than anticipated. And with the Rams having to go across the country for a road game in this spot, expect another of those games to unfold here.