For the opening salvo of Week 14, the Los Angeles Rams will play host to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday Night Football.
L.A. is ravaged by injuries and has lost six consecutive games since its bye week. Vegas has won three in a row since dropping to 2-7, though it did take overtime to win the first two of those games against the Broncos and Seahawks. The Raiders are surely looking to have an easier go of things Thursday night, but their only double-digit win so far this season was against the Texans. Can we expect them to blow out the Rams, or will this be another close one?
Even if they don't romp, will the Raiders keep their streak rolling, or will the Rams pull off a surprise upset? We'll find out soon enough. Before we break down the matchup, here's a look at how you can watch the game.
How to watch
Date: Thursday, Dec. 8 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: SoFi Stadium (Los Angeles)
Stream: Amazon Prime Video
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Raiders -6.5, O/U 43.5
When the Raiders have the ball
The significant majority of the Raiders offense now runs through just two players: Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs.
Since his one-catch, three-yard performance against the Saints back in Week 8 (a game where the Raiders were not-coincidentally shut out), Adams has put up receiving lines of 10-146-2, 9-126-1, 7-141-2, 7-74-0 and 8-177-2. That's 41 catches for 664 yards and seven scores in the past five contests, a full-season pace of 139-2258-24. Yes, really. He has a target share in excess of 36% during that span, and Derek Carr is just 61 of 110 (55.5%) for 695 yards (6.3 per attempt), four touchdowns, and three interceptions when targeting non-Adams receivers in those games. With Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller still sidelined due to injury, Foster Moreau and Mack Hollins are the only secondary passing-game options of note, but Moreau hasn't exceeded 44 receiving yards in a game this season and Hollins has topped 66 yards just once.
Adams should see a lot of Jalen Ramsey on Thursday night, but this has not been Ramsey's best season. He's tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns allowed in coverage, and after yielding passer ratings of 76.6, 66.4, 73.8, 96.4, 76.3 and 84.5 on throws in his direction prior to this year, according to Pro Football Focus, he's allowed that figure to shoot up to 126.1 this season. Los Angeles' remaining defensive backs are eminently burnable, and Carr should be expected to look Adams' way whenever he gets one of them matched up in coverage.
Jacobs, meanwhile, is in the midst of the best stretch of his career. Over the Raiders' past three games (all wins), Jacobs has recorded 27 touches for 160 yards, 39 touches for 303 yards and two touchdowns, and 28 touches for 150 yards and a touchdown. He's averaging a career-best (and league-high) 108.6 rushing yards per game, while leading the NFL in both touches and yards from scrimmage. He's making more of a contribution in the passing game than ever, he's breaking tackles, and he's creating big gains. He's doing all the things that running backs can do to provide value independent of the quality of blocking they're afforded.
The Rams check in a surprising fifth in rush defense DVOA at Football Outsiders, but they'll once again be without Aaron Donald for this game, which obviously changes things quite a bit. A'Shawn Robinson and Jordan Fuller are also on injured reserve, taking two more of L.A.'s top defenders off the field. Plus, David Long, Terrell Lewis and Travin Howard did not practice at all in the lead-up to this game. Given the state of this unit at the moment, it's tough to see them stopping a Raiders offense that is playing its best football of the year right now.
Pick Six Newsletter
Crafted By The Best NFL Experts
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
When the Rams have the ball
The Rams are still without Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Joe Noteboom and David Edwards, and recently cut ties with Darrell Henderson Jr. We don't yet know if John Wolford will be active, and supposedly Baker Mayfield might be able to play in this game. (If neither of those things happens, it will be Bryce Perkins under center.) Whether or not that matters is up for debate, but it is almost factually impossible to analyze this offense because there is zero indication of what it will look like.
The Las Vegas defense is no great shakes, but it is very difficult to envision Los Angeles having much in the way of offensive success, because there is just not enough talent on hand.
Prediction: Raiders 26, Rams 10