Rams at Vikings in Week 11: Picks, how to watch and stream on NFL Sunday
This is the biggest showdown of the week in the NFL
The most surprising part of the game might not even be the fact that both teams are so good. The most surprising part might be the fact that both starting quarterbacks were teammates last year. During Jared Goff's rookie year in Los Angeles, Case Keenum started out the season as the Rams' starting quarterback.
Although the two players struggled on a bad Rams team last season, the two have turned things around in 2017 and they both seem to be enjoying it.
"I shot [Keenum] a text the other day and we're both excited for it," Goff. "It will be fun. Get a chance to see him again and just get a chance to say hi to him, see how he's doing. He's been doing so well this year and as a guy, there's not a guy you could be more happy for."
Keenum definitely sounds like a big fan of Goff's, and that's mainly because he seems to respect the fact that Goff is still standing after a rough rookie year.
"He's a smart kid, man," Keenum said of Goff. "He's a fighter, too, because it wasn't easy last year. He got the crap knocked out of him a few times and got back up and can sling it. Obviously, everybody's seeing what he can do this year, but we've known for a long time he's a really good player."
Goff's goal this week will obviously be to not get the "crap knocked out of him," which won't be easy going up against a tough Vikings defense. The Rams also have a stingy defense, which means this game will likely be won by the team that has the quarterback who makes fewer mistakes.
Here's what you need to know about the game.
How to watch, stream
- Kickoff: Nov. 19, 1 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX (Check local listings)
- Streaming: fuboTV (Try for free)
How will Keenum handle the Rams' stingy defense?
Although Keenum has the Vikings rolling on a five-game winning streak, he also has one streak going that he'll be hoping to end this week. Keenum has thrown at least one interception in each of Minnesota's past four games, which is bad news for the Vikings because no team in the NFL is better at forcing turnovers than the Rams.
Through nine games this season, the Rams have an NFL-high 19 takeaways, a total that includes 12 interceptions. That number ranks second in the league and the Rams will be looking to add to it on Sunday. Keenum is well aware of the fact that he's going to have to keep his mistakes to a minimum if the Vikings are going send Los Angeles home with a loss this week.
"I'm trying to win ball games," Keenum said. "I'm doing the best I can. That's showing up every day and doing my job. That's protecting the football. Obviously, that's learning from my mistakes. That's continuing to do things well that I do well."
A good way to force an opposing quarterback to throw interceptions is to pressure them, and guess what, no one really does that better than the Rams, either. The Rams have racked up 28 sacks this season, which ranks fifth overall in the NFL. As someone who has spent his entire career coaching defense, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer knows exactly what Keeum's up against on Sunday.
"The whole deal [for the Rams] is pressure on the quarterback," Zimmer said. "They've got five first-rounders in the front seven, so they have a lot of good players. They try and get after the quarterback, play good in coverage in the back end."
Of course, no one is more familiar with the Rams defense than Keenum, who played for Los Angeles last season. The Vikings quarterback is well aware of what the Rams defense is capable of, especially Aaron Donald, who leads the Rams with five sacks this year.
"I think he's underrated," Keenum said of Donald. "Even though he's player of the year, rookie of the year, I still think he's underrated because I think he's that good. We've got our work cut out for us. I'm excited. It's a good challenge."
You can read more quotes from each sideline here.
Can Sean McVay outsmart Mike Zimmer?
If you look at football as the ultimate chess match, thenbecause it's giving us the ancient grandmaster in Mike Zimmer vs. the up-and-coming challenger who seems to be unstoppable.
What McVay has done in Los Angeles this season is nothing short of a football miracle. The first-year head coach took a Rams offense that ranked dead last in total yards last season and turned them into the second coming of the Greatest Show on Turf. Through nine games this year, the Rams are scoring more points (32.9) than any other team in the NFL, and producing more yardage than all but two teams (the Patriots and Saints).
However, McVay's offense hasn't been unstoppable all year. The Seahawks, Redskins and Jaguars were all able to slow it down, which probably isn't a coincidence. All three teams have strong corners and an equally strong defensive line, which is what the Rams are going to face in the Vikings on Sunday.
"Yeah, they're tremendous on defense," Rams quarterback Jared Goff said this week. "No weaknesses really, at every spot. Up front, the D-line, the linebackers are real good and the secondary, they're really special too."
Zimmer, who started his NFL coaching career as a defensive backs coach with the Cowboys back in 1994, has probably seen pretty much anything that McVay might throw at him, and there's a good chance that he saw it last week. If you're wondering how that's possible, it's because the Rams pretty much run the same offense as the Redskins, according to Zimmer.
"They're good, they use a lot of uptempo. They have receivers that can really go get it," Zimmer said when asked about the Rams' offense this week. "They run basically the same offense that the Redskins run. A lot of the same motion, the same movements. They run the ball a little bit better and they've got a little bit more skill at the wide receivers."
That could be good news for the Vikings, who beat the Redskins 38-30 in Week 10.
Who will win?
Although the Rams are the only team left in the NFC that's still undefeated on the road (4-0), CBSSports.com Senior NFL writer Pete Prisco doesn't like them to continue their unbeaten streak away from home. Prisco thinks the Vikings defense is going to be the difference on Sunday.
When a good offense like the Rams goes against a top defense like the Vikings, the defense usually wins out. The Rams lead the NFL in scoring offense, but the Vikings are fifth in scoring defense. This will be a close game, but I think the Vikings will win it 24-20 and cover the 2.5-point spread behind that defense
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