On Sunday (10/22/23), the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Los Angeles Rams. In this article, find a matchup preview for this game and the latest betting odds. In addition, find our best bet which is the Rams -3.
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Los Angeles Rams Prediction
Everyone wrote off the Rams before the season, but they now sit at 3-3 and are very much in the running for a playoff spot in the NFC. The offense has been highly effective, ranking fifth in DVOA, and Matthew Stafford is quietly having a Pro Bowl caliber season. He leads the league with 18 big-time throws per PFF.
The Rams’ offense got a big boost with the recent return of Cooper Kupp, and he pairs with rookie phenom Puka Nacua to form an elite tandem. LA will be facing a Pittsburgh pass defense that has been mediocre, ranking 18th in passing success rate allowed, and has some underwhelming starting cornerbacks.
The Steelers are a team that I’m looking to fade moving forward here as their three wins are pretty fraudulent. Just before their bye week, they beat the Ravens due to incredible turnover variance and drop issues from the Baltimore receivers. Against the Browns, they only had nine first downs and no red zone snaps, but won on the back of two defensive touchdowns.
Pittsburgh has had one of the most ineffective offenses in the league this season as they rank dead last in early down success rate. That means Kenny Pickett is finding himself in constant third-and-long situations, the most difficult spot for quarterbacks to survive. I don’t expect this to change coming out of the bye week as offensive coordinator Matt Canada remains in place.
The Rams’ defense has been surprisingly good given the amount of first and second year starters, and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris deserves a ton of credit. I only expect this unit to improve down the stretch, and this game provides an opportunity for them to flex their muscles on an anemic offense.
I typically look to back Mike Tomlin as an underdog, but I don’t like this spot for the Steelers. A West Coast road trip on the heels of a bye week could see a sleepy start for them against a Rams team with plenty of momentum, and if this offense has to play from behind, it’s usually curtains given their complete lack of production.-
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Los Angeles Rams Prediction: Rams -3
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Los Angeles Rams Best Odds
The spread for this game has bounced back and forth between 3 and 3.5, and it seems that there’s action on both sides of the number. If you’re going to tail me on the Rams, I highly recommend making sure you can get the -3 as that’s a key number in betting NFL spreads. The over/under for this game currently sits at 44 points.
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Los Angeles Rams Key Injuries
The Steelers are expecting to get wide receiver Diontae Johnson back this week, which would be huge for their struggling offense. The rest of their injury report is fairly clean, although elite defensive lineman Cameron Heyward remains out with a groin injury.
The Rams got some unfortunate injury news with lead running back Kyren Williams suffering an ankle injury that will keep him out for at least this week. Linebacker Ernest Jones and defensive tackle Kobie Turner are also on the injury report – they’re two of the more key defensive players for the Rams.
Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Los Angeles Rams Key Matchups
The Steelers and Rams both have Pro Bowl talents who will help determine the winner of this game. Let’s dive into some key matchups.
Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua Vs. Steelers’ Cornerbacks
The Rams’ fifth-round rookie Puka Nacua set the league on fire for the first four weeks without Cooper Kupp, averaging ten catches for 125 yards. Now, Kupp is back in the lineup and he’s coming off a game with seven catches for 148 yards and a touchdown. The Rams use Kupp and Nacua interchangeably, with both receivers spending time in the slot and out wide.
The Steelers rank 18th in pass defense success rate and 22nd in PFF team coverage grades as cornerback has been a problem spot all year. Rookie Joey Porter Jr. has picked up more playing time lately, but it’s tough to ask him to run with Kupp all game, or Nacua for that matter. The Steelers don’t have the bodies to match up here.
Cooper Kupp scores his first TD since November 2022 🙌
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 15, 2023
T.J. Watt Vs. Rob Havenstein
If there’s one thing that could drive the Steelers to a win here, it would be the phenomenal play of All Pro edge rusher T.J. Watt. Fully capable of taking over games on his own, Watt’s eight sacks are tied for the league lead despite having already had his bye week. In his last game against Baltimore, he sacked Lamar Jackson twice.
The Rams have struggled on the offensive line at times this year, and they rank just 18th in adjusted sack rate allowed. Right tackle Rob Havenstein will match up with Watt, and he’s allowed three pressures in each of his last two games per PFF. Stafford has struggled with a 53.4% adjusted completion rate under pressure – that’s the third-worst among qualified passers.
— Tanner Phifer (@TannerPhiferNFL) September 19, 2023