After winning a surprisingly competitive game against the winless Detroit Lions, the Rams travel to Houston to face the Houston Texans. Like the Lions, the Texans have struggled this season and find themselves at the bottom of the AFC.
Here are the main storylines leading into this Week 8 contest:
1. Brandin Cooks revenge game
After spending two seasons with the Rams, Cooks was traded before the 2020 season. The receiver who posted over 1,200 yards in 2018 was sent to Houston along with a fourth-round pick in exchange for a second-round pick. Last season, Cooks appeared in 15 games and posted 1150 yards and six touchdowns.
Overall, Cooks has been one of the league's most dependable receivers in football, posting 1,000-yard campaigns in five of his last six seasons. With Davis Mills serving as the quarterback of a struggling Texans offense, Cooks has seen his numbers decline. Meanwhile, Cooks still remains the number one target and will be playing with a chip on his shoulder on Sunday against his former team.
2. Rams special team woes
Entering the week as a double-digit underdog, the Detroit Lions knew they had to be creative to beat the Rams. We saw a highly aggressive approach from Lions coach Dan Campbell as his special teams unit successfully executed an onside kick and two fake punts. This week, the Texans sit as a two-touchdown underdog, and much like the Lions, they will need to get creative if they want to stay competitive in this game.
Look for the Rams special teams to be on high alert this week as the Texans presumably attempt to think outside the box.
3. How the Rams linebacker core shapes up following the Kenny Young trade
This week, the Rams shipped off starting linebacker Kenny Young to the Denver Broncos in a fairly surprising trade. Young had played well this season, posting 46 tackles and two sacks while playing in all seven of the Rams games. Taking over in Young's place will presumably be Ernest Jones, the Rams' third-round pick in last April's NFL Draft. The 21-year-old from the University of South Carolina will likely see an increased role in an effort to fill the void that Young will leave behind. In his junior year, a captain for the Gamecocks, Jones averaged 9.6 tackles per game, which was the sixth-best in the SEC.
Season Records: Rams (6-1), Texans (1-6)
Previous Meeting: Rams beat the Texans 33-7 in 2017
Odds: Rams -14
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Stat: Rams hold an all-time record of 3-1 over the Texans.
Keep An Eye On: Linebacker Ernest Jones and how he fairs in his first career NFL start.
Rams' Key To Victory: Make critical adjustments on special teams, while retaining the highly-explosive offensive showing.
Date/Time: Sunday, Oct. 31 at 10:00 a.m. PT
Location: NRG Stadium (Houston, Texas)
Radio: 93.1 JACK FM
More from Ram Digest:
- WR Van Jefferson is Carving Out His Role as the Rams' X-Factor in Second NFL Season
- Rams QB Matthew Stafford is Among the NFL's Best When Blitzed
- Kenny Young Reflects on Rams Trading Him to Broncos
- Rams' Wednesday Injury Report for Week 8 at Texans
- Sean McVay Wants Rookie WR Tutu Atwell to Show an 'Increased Sense of Urgency'
- Los Angeles Could Host NFL Scouting Combine as Early as 2023
- Rams WR DeSean Jackson Opens Up About the Divide Between Him & the Eagles
- Jalen Ramsey Draws Comparison to Deion Sanders From Texans HC David Culley
- Giants Sign J.R. Reed Off Rams Practice Squad
- Sean McVay Weighs in on the Potential Role of LB Ernest Jones
- Sean McVay Hints at a Possible Cam Akers Return if Rams Make Playoffs
- Sean McVay Reveals What Went Into Trading LB Kenny Young
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