Rams at Titans: What to watch

Friday, December 22, 2017, Vol. 41, No. 51

Rams at Titans

Sunday, Dec. 24, Noon

TV: FOX (WZTV)

Radio: 104.5 FM

Wesley Woodyard vs. Todd Gurley. After struggling last year, Gurley is back and is even picking up some chatter as an MVP candidate. The Titans have to find a way to slow him down if they are to have any chance of upsetting the Rams on Sunday. Gurley, who has nearly 1,200 yards rushing, also has caught 54 passes.

Rams receivers vs. Titans secondary. The Titans’ secondary was carved up last week by Jimmy Garoppolo throwing to a bunch of no-names, and that was even before Logan Ryan left with an ankle injury. Given that, the prognosis doesn’t look good for that same group trying to contain the likes of Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp.

Titans tackle Taylor Lewan vs. Rams DL Aaron Donald. Two of the best at their positions are bound to meet some on the field Sunday. But the Rams’ defense goes beyond just the talented Donald, who has 11 sacks, with solid pass rushers in linebackers Robert Quinn (8.5 sacks) and Connor Barwin (5 sacks).

Four downs

1. Hope home-field advantage is there. Nissan Stadium isn’t the edge it was back in the early days of team’s tenure in Tennessee, but given the Titans recent road struggles, they have to hope there is some magic at home where they have won 9 of the past 10 games.

2. Stop Gurley and slow Goff. Todd Gurley is the guy who makes the Rams go, and that’s making life easier for Jared Goff. But the second-year quarterback is coming into his own with a stellar season. The Titans have to try to confuse Goff and see if they can find the pass rush that was wreaking havoc until Sunday in San Francisco.

3. Win the field position battle. The Titans have a great weapon at punter in Brett Kern, who is having an All-Pro-type season averaging 51 yards a punt. The Titans need any edge they can get, and making the Rams explosive offense go the long way to find points is an advantage the Titans have on their side.

4. Get turnovers. The Titans offense has been extremely sporadic, and even if they do wise up enough to use more no-huddle and get Marcus Mariota in a good rhythm, a takeaway or two couldn’t hurt to give the offense a short field to work with and perhaps a chance at some cheap points.