Chiefs-Rams Preview: Game of the Year?

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Chiefs-Rams

This week’s contest between the Chiefs and the Rams is what some are calling the game of the year for the regular season. Some even believe this could be a possible Super Bowl preview for this upcoming February. Both teams have so many similarities. First, they both own 9-1 records. Next, they represent the highest powered offenses in the league, outside of the Saints. Also, both teams have possible frontrunners for league MVP this year. There are plenty of storylines to look towards, so let’s get started.

The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

This game was originally going to occur at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City as part of the NFL’s International Series. Due to soccer matches and concerts from earlier in the year, the field was torn up to the extent where several players for both teams were considering not playing, due to the possibility of injury. The NFL had to make a decision whether to keep this matchup in Mexico City, move it to Los Angeles, or postpone it. With MVP candidates on each team and the high magnitude of this game for the national audience, the NFL decided it was best to move the game to Los Angeles. Overall, the league acted appropriately regarding the situation.

How does this affect each team? The Chiefs were going to have to travel from Kansas City, no matter where the game was being played. As for the Rams, they prepared this week away from their L.A. home, even after the game was moved. With the altitude difference in Mexico City, the Rams had made the plans to prepare in Colorado for the game. So, they will be traveling back to their own stadium after an unusual week of preparation.

Offensive Explosion

The NFL audience has become accustomed to watching some of the most high powered offenses operate over the last couple of years. These two teams have become incredibly fun offenses to watch. In both team and player categories, this matchup is filled with statistical league-leaders.

Between the quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff are first and second in the league respectively in passing yards. Both signal callers are also ranked in the top four for passing touchdowns.

Between both running backs, Todd Gurley leads the league in rushing. Meanwhile, Kareem Hunt is fourth in the NFL in that category.

Also, after the league-leading Saints, the Chiefs and the Rams rank second and third respectively in points per game.

With that in mind, for all the gamblers out there, this is the highest ever over/under total in NFL history at 64 points. The way this game could go, whichever of the better offenses has the ball at the end of the game could be the winner.

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The Cornerback Dilemma

Back in February, the Chiefs shocked many people when they traded Marcus Peters to the Rams in return for a couple of draft picks. Why was this so surprising? Peters came on strong to the NFL scene back in his 2015 rookie season. His first defensive play for the Chiefs was an interception. As a rookie, Peters finished tied for the league in interceptions and won AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. He entered this season with the most interceptions and passes defended in the league since 2015. However, it looks like the Chiefs knew what they were doing by trading him away.

According to the ratings of both team’s cornerbacks, Peters is the worst ranked of them all. Peters has been beaten deep a lot this season, so it will be interesting to see how many times Mahomes will go for the home run ball against him. Both the Chiefs and Peters have said all the right things this week leading up to the game, now it’s time to battle it out on the playing surface.

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Regarding the cornerbacks, one particular presence will not be felt in this game as he sits on the injured reserve. Rams Veteran Aqib Talib has only played in three games this season and will miss this contest. Meanwhile, the Chiefs top three cornerbacks, Steven Nelson, Kendall Fuller and Orlando Scandrick have played in all ten games this season.

Hold on Tightly

The defenses are not among the best units in the league, but there are very few great shutdown defenses around the league this season. For the Chiefs, one place where they may do better than the Rams defensively is what matters the most, allowing points on the scoreboard. Besides giving up 43 points to New England, Kansas City has not allowed more than 23 points in a game since Week 4. In that time span, the Chiefs have allowed just 21.1 points per game. That’s including that loss to the Patriots, in a game where Kansas City was down most starters, and still held tough in some situations against Tom Brady.

On the other hand, the Rams have allowed at least 23 points in six of the last eight weeks. During that time, L.A.’s defense has allowed 27.3 points per game. That is not great, especially considering they have not faced the best opposing offenses in the league. If either defense can hold their opponent out of the end zone, they will have accomplished a lot in this matchup.

Statistical Notes

Only 8 players in NFL history have had 3,000+ passing yards and a 110+ passer rating in the first 10 games of a season. The first 6 won the NFL MVP award. The other two? They are Mahomes and Goff, who will try to outduel each other in this game.

This will be the first time since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger that the NFL’s leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns (Mahomes) faces the leader in scrimmage yards and scrimmage touchdowns (Gurley).

Thank you for reading this Chiefs-Rams preview. In anticipating for this exciting game, be sure to check out Full Press Coverage for more great content.

– Braden Holecek is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on and Facebook.

– Kyle Senra is the editor for the Kansas City Chiefs on Full Press Coverage. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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