INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Here are five keys to the game for the Rams against the Bears as they look to rebound from last week’s disappointing, road loss at San Francisco.
I predicted a 23-20 win for the Rams over Chicago. I’m 5-1 on picks so far this season.
Leonard Floyd’s motivation: L.A.’s top edge rusher with two sacks, Floyd faces the team that drafted him for the first time as a Ram. The University of Georgia product said he’s ready, and there’s a little added energy and motivation going against his old team. “I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Floyd said. “The past two years, the Rams and the Bears have been having some great games. And this time I get to experience the other side, playing for the Rams. And we’re going to go out there and do our best to win the game.” The Rams need Floyd, Aaron Donald and the rest of the defensive line to put pressure on Chicago quarterback Nick Foles.
Play keep away with Cordarrelle Patterson: With two high-powered defense playing well, this one is expected to be a low-scoring affair. That puts a premium on field position and the kicking game. The Bears have one of the best to ever do it in Cordarrelle Patterson, who averages 30 yards a kick return. The Rams and rookie kicker Samuel Sloman have to figure out a way to keep Patterson from making big play in the kicking game, giving the Bears a momentum-changing play. “He’s a great returner,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said about Patterson. “That phase specifically is a huge point of emphasis for us and really if you’re going to prevent him from returning it, you better kick it out of the end zone. Because he’ll take it out nine yards deep and he’s made people pay.”
Get off to a fast start: The Rams have scored a touchdown on the opening drive on four of their six games, all wins. They could use some early momentum again on Monday, playing at SoFi Stadium where L.A. is 2-0 so far this season. In L.A.’s two losses to the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco, they have been outscored 42-9 in the first half. So getting off to a fast start against a good defense is critical for the Rams.
Score touchdowns in the red zone: The Bears have the No. 1 red zone defense in the NFL, allowing touchdowns just 37 percent of the time. When they get opportunities in the red zone, L.A.’s offense needs to come away with touchdowns, not field goals.
Swarm the ball on defense: The Rams have had their issues with open-field tackling at times this season, giving up big plays. Facing a Chicago offense that has struggled to move the football, L.A.’s defense need to do a good job of rallying to the ball and keeping the Bears’ offense behind the sticks, forcing Foles to convert second-and-long and third-and-long situations.