Rams vs. Carolina Panthers matchups, start time and prediction

Breakdown of how the Rams (2-3) and Carolina Panthers (1-4) head out for their game Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PDT at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The game will be shown on Fox (Ch. 11) and streamed on NFL+.

When Rams have the ball: After scoring just one touchdown in their last nine quarters, the Rams are looking for a game-changing performance. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sacked 12 times in his last two games, including five in Sunday’s 10-22 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Stafford had an intercepted pass and also lost two fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Stafford has passed five touchdowns and is tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions. Cooper Kupp leads the NFL with 49 catches, but he’s suffering from a foot injury. Tight end Tyler Higbee (ankle) was also listed as questionable. Sophomore wide receiver Tutu Atwell is looking to build on his 54-yard reception against the Cowboys, his first NFL catch. With running back Cam Akers out due to what coach Sean McVay described as an internal situation within the team, Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown will get more opportunities. Bobby Evans is expected to start again on left flank in place of David Edwards, who was placed on injured reserve with a concussion. Carolina end Brian Burns has the top four sacks for a defense that also includes linebacker Shaq Thompson. Cornerbacks Frankie Luvu and Jaycee Horn, who both have interceptions, are questionable.

When Panthers have the ball: PJ Walker will start as quarterback in place of injured Baker Mayfield, who was injured in the Panthers’ 37-15 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Walker completed five of six passes for 60 yards against the 49ers. Despite the firing of coach Matt Rhule, the offense remains under the direction of coordinator Ben McAdoo. The offensive relies heavily on running back Christian McCaffrey. The former Stanford star has rushed 72 times for 324 yards and a touchdown and has 26 catches, one for a touchdown. Wide receiver DJ Moore has the team’s best 17 catches, one for a touchdown, and Robbie Anderson and Laviska Shenault also have touchdown catches. The Rams defense is hungry for a turnover after not forcing one in the last three games. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald has four sacks and cornerback Jalen Ramsey recorded his first sack of his career against the Cowboys. But the Rams haven’t received typical production from edge rusher Leonard Floyd, who doesn’t have a sack. Cornerback David Long and safety Taylor Rapp are expected to play after sitting out injuries to the Cowboys. Cornerback Cobie Durant is questionable with a hamstring injury.

When they kick: After his first eight field goal attempts this season, Rams kicker Matt Gay missed from 51 yards against the Cowboys. Punter Riley Dixon recovered from a blocked kick and completed a pass in the loss. Panthers punter Johnny Hekker, a known passer, returns to face the team he played for 10 seasons. Eddie Pineiro has made 11 of 12 field goal attempts.

Gary Klein’s prediction: The Rams are struggling and the Akers situation is a distraction. But the Panthers just fired their coach and have a third-string quarterback. The Rams will win, bringing a 3-3 record into their open date.

Aries 23, Panthers 17

https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-10-14/rams-panthers-matchups Rams vs. Carolina Panthers matchups, start time and prediction

Emma Bowman

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