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Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

 

New FSM Game Preview: Raiders vs Rams – Week 14

Las Vegas Raiders (5-7) | Los Angeles Rams (3-9)

Franchise Sports Media

Before the 2022 NFL season, I’m sure many within Raider Nation had this Week 14 Thursday Night Football contest against the Rams circled on their calendar; When you think about it, this is essentially a bonus home game for Vegas, taking on the defending champs. Of course, much has gone awry for both of these respective sides since kicking off the year. However, at least the Raiders have seemingly started to right the ship, while the Rams have plummeted further into the abyss.

As you know, Vegas has rallied to win their last three games consecutively (with two wins coming in overtime) while the Rams are currently riding their worst stretch of the Sean McVay era: A six-game losing streak, also being defeated in eight of their last nine games. Thanks to the “f*ck them picks” mentality, Los Angeles is at 3-9 overall in 2022–Was last year’s Lombardi trophy entirely worth it? That’s a question for another person on another day …

All that considered, and even with the Rams on the heels of a Super Bowl, one thing is still certain: Raider Nation reigns supreme in Southern California. You’ll notice when the Silver & Black come to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood (like they did in Week 1) that there are no louder games in that venue all year long. Now consider the uplifting win Vegas just earned over the rival Chargers a couple of days ago, and things seem to be shaping up nicely for the Raiders as they head to their old city (having called Los Angeles “home” from 1982-1994, winning the first Super Bowl for L.A. in 1984).

It’s a quick turnaround this week, and despite the peskiness of a Thursday game, playing under the bright lights in primetime always brings out the stars. With RB Josh Jacobs and WR Davante Adams both on torrential production streaks, you can bet we’ll be in store for a big play or two (or three or four). No sense wasting any more time; Let’s see what’s on tap for Thursday night in the City of Angels …

 

Previous contests

HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24 – Raiders 19 (L)
WK2: Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23 (OT)/(L)
WK3: Titans 24 – Raiders 22 (L)
WK4: Raiders 32 – Broncos 23 (W)
WK5: Chiefs 30 – Raiders 29 (L)
WK6: BYE
WK7: Raiders 38 – Texans 20 (W)

WK8: Saints 24 – Raiders 0 (L)
WK9: Jaguars 27 – Raiders 20 (L)
WK10: Colts 25 – Raiders 20 (L)
WK11: Raiders 22 – Broncos 16 (OT)/(W)
WK12: Raiders 40 – Seahawks 34 (OT)/(W)
WK13: Raiders 27 – Chargers 20 (W)

 

KEYS TO THE GAME:

Keep finding the playmakers

We just mentioned Adams and Jacobs both performing at an All-Pro pace, having combined for over 1,000 yards of offensive production over the Raiders’ current three-game winning streak (yes, you read that right). It seems McDaniels and Carr have finally unlocked the right rhythm of utilizing their playmakers, so I would expect Las Vegas to stick with that going forward: Simple enough, right?

Additionally, WR Mack Hollins and TE Foster Moreau continue to give a stellar effort filling in for the injured Renfrow & Waller (whom we should have updates on in the coming days). Finally, this offense is beginning to flex its muscles, and we should continue to see that against a Rams defense that may not be at full strength.

Get after Wolford

Rams QB Matthew Stafford has not looked right in 2022, so seeing him head to the IR was no surprise. Stepping in behind him is the third-year Wake Forest man, John Wolford. He’s shown in previous years the ability to play with poise. Still, he has not had much success since stepping in for Stafford a couple of games ago (losing two divisional affairs to Arizona and Seattle, respectively), sporting a 1-3 TD-INT rate over 62 pass attempts. With DE Chandler Jones finally heating up on the other side, he and Maxx Crosby should be able to keep an uncomfortable quarterback uncomfortable. Remember, there is no Superman (Cooper Kupp) on the outside to save Wolford’s day. NOTE: The Rams claimed QB Baker Mayfield off waivers on Tuesday (Dec. 6).

Avoid AD *if he plays

Despite being one of the best football players of all time, most people in L.A. probably first thinks of the Lakers when they hear “AD” before they think of Aaron Donald. Regardless, the 3x AP Defensive Player of the Year (2017, 2018, 2020) is a real-life version of the Juggernaut. Fortunately for the Raiders, Donald has not been at full strength (only five sacks through 12 games is a slow start for him) and may not suit up for Thursday night’s game. Dealing with an ankle issue, the ever-explosive Donald did not play in the Rams’ most recent game, a loss to the Seahawks a few days ago on December 4th. Either way, it would be wise to scheme things in a direction different from his (even if he’s in street clothes on the sideline). UPDATE: (Dec. 7) DT Aaron Donald has officially been ruled out of Thursday night’s game. 

Coaching matchup

At first, McDaniels vs McVay may sound like a scrappy bar tussle between two Guiness-drinking men in a Dublin pub. In all seriousness, Sean McVay has been what Josh McDaniels was striving to be when he first earned Denver’s head coaching gig back in 2009: a younger, offensively innovative coach. We know it didn’t go well for McDaniels initially, whereas McVay has already won two NFC pennants and a Super Bowl to boot. Through 40 games as an HC, McDaniels is 16-24 (.400), while McVay has gone 58-35 (.624) in 93 games coached (despite losing eight of their last nine contests). I respect that the Raiders are the much hotter team, but I would still lean toward the younger McVay in this matchup of Ohioans.

 

INJURY REPORT:

Below are Tuesday’s (Dec. 6) walkthroughs participation sheets for the Raiders and Rams. *WITH BOTH TEAMS PLAYING LAST SUNDAY (DEC. 4), NEITHER SIDE PRACTICED MONDAY.

Las Vegas – RB Ameer Abdullah (Limited – Hamstring), DT Andrew Billings (DNP – Fibula), RB Brandon Bolden (Limited – Calf), LB Curtis Bolton (Limited – Ankle), LB Jayon Brown (DNP – Hand), CB Tyler Hall (Limited – Back), S Duron Harmon (Limited – Quad), TE Jesper Horsted (DNP – Concussion), RB Josh Jacobs (Limited – Quad/calf), C Andre James (Limited – Quad), LB Denzel Perryman (Full – Wrist), S Isaiah Pola-Mao (Limited – Ankle).

Los Angeles – DT Aaron Donald (DNP – Ankle), CB Troy Hill (Limited – Groin), LB Travin Howard (DNP – Hip), LB Terrell Lewis (DNP – Back), DB David Long Jr. (DNP – Groin), WR Lance McCutcheon (Limited – Shoulder), WR Ben Skowronek (Limited – Shoulder), QB John Wolford (Limited – Shoulder).


WEATHER REPORT:

SoFi Stadium is a covered venue and maintains semi-control of the playing conditions (since the building has open-air channels on three sides). With that said, prepare for it to be chilly and cloudy in Inglewood on Thursday night, forecasting temperatures in the mid to high 40s.

 

In Week 14, the Raiders will head back to their old stomping grounds (the City of Angels) for a matchup with the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Nationally televised on Amazon Prime Video, kickoff is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 8, at 5:15 pm PST (local radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).

 

-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Gabe on Twitter & Instagram at @gps_onthemic

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