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Washington Football Team Vs. Los Angeles Rams Preview: Jared Goff Comes To FedExField

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff during an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff during an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

After suffering its first home loss against the Baltimore Ravens, the Washington Football Team will host the Los Angeles Rams, starting a five-game stretch against NFC opponents. Here's everything you need to know ahead of the Week 5 matchup:

GAMEDAY INFORMATION:

Date: Oct. 11

Time 1 p.m. ET

Location: FedExField (Landover, Maryland)

WATCH: FOX

  • Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play)
  • Daryl Johnston (analyst)
  • Pam Oliver (reporter)

LISTEN: The Team 980, ESPN 630 and WMAL 105.9

  • Julie Donaldson (host)
  • Bram Weinstein (play-by-play)
  • DeAngelo Hall (analyst)

A stream will of the radio broadcast will also be available at WashingtonFootball.com and on select Washington Football Team social media platforms.

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Washington leads the all-time series, 24-11-1.
  • In 36 games, Washington has outscored the Rams, 837-691.
  • Washington's first win against the Rams organization came in 1937 when they were known as the Cleveland Rams, outscoring them 16-7.
  • Washington and the Rams have met four times in the playoffs and are 2-2 against each other. Then last one was in 1986 when Washington defeated Los Angeles, 19-7.
  • Their most recent meeting was Sept. 17, 2017, when Washington defeated Los Angeles, 27-20, securing the lead with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Grant in the fourth quarter.

COACHING STAFF

Washington:

  • Head coach Ron Rivera (1st season in Washington)
  • Offensive coordinator Scott Turner (1st)
  • Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (1st)
  • Special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor (2nd)

Los Angeles:

  • Head coach Sean McVay (4th season in Los Angeles)
  • Offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell (1st)
  • Defensive coordinator Brandon Staley (1st)
  • Special teams coordinator John Bonamego (1st)

KEY NEW FACES

Washington:

  • QB Kyle Allen
  • RBs Antonio Gibson / J.D. McKissic
  • TEs Logan Thomas
  • OL Keith Ismael / Wes Schweitzer
  • DE Chase Young
  • LBs Thomas Davis Sr. / Kevin Pierre-Louis
  • DBs Ronald Darby / Kendall Fuller

Los Angeles:

  • OLB Leonard Floyd
  • RB Cam Akers
  • WR Van Jefferson

BIGGEST STORYLINES

Kevin O'Connell's return to FedExField -- Kevin O'Connell was first hired by Washington in 2017 and quickly rose from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. Prior to Washington's game against Miami in 2019, he was named the play-caller.

This year's Week 5 matchup will be the first time O'Connell returns to FedExField as a member of another team and calls plays against Washington's defense, which ranks third in the NFL with 13 sacks this year. Washington bolstered its pass rush by drafting No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, giving them five first-round picks on the defensive line.

In the months since O'Connell was hired by Los Angeles, Washington has restructured its secondary at almost every position. Last year's starting cornerbacks Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar are gone, and in their place are free agent signees Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby. Landon Collins is the only remaining Day 1 starter on the roster from 2019.

The linebacker position has largely stayed the same. Cole Holcomb is entering his second year after a successful rookie season, while Washington re-signed Jon Bostic during free agency. The team also added veterans Kevin Pierre-Louis and Thomas Davis Sr.

Another matchup against a No. 1 overall draft pick -- Washington has had a difficult start to its 2020 season, partly because of the caliber of quarterbacks its defense has seen. So far, it has faced two No. 1 overall picks in Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield. Jared Goff, who was taken No. 1 overall by the Rams in 2016, will be the third.

Goff enters his fourth full season as the team's starter and is coming off his third season leading Los Angeles to a winning record. Although Los Angeles missed the 2019 postseason for the first time in three seasons, Goff still completed 62.9% of his passes for 4,638 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has completed at least 60% of his passes since 2017. The Rams are currently second in the NFC West with a 3-1 record.

This will be just the second time Washington has played against Goff. In the last matchup, which came on Sept. 17, 2017, Goff was 14-of-24 for 219 yard and threw a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked twice during Washington's 27-20 road win.

A new backfield for Los Angeles -- Todd Gurley dominated Los Angeles' running game since being drafted 10th overall in 2015, but after three 1,000-yard seasons, three Pro Bowls, Associated Press 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and 2017 Offensive Player of the Year honors, Gurley was released this offseason and signed with the Atlanta Falcons.

In Gurley's absence, Los Angeles has used several running backs so far this season. Malcolm Brown has the most experience; in five seasons with the Rams, he was rushed for 769 yards and six touchdowns. Los Angeles also used a second-round pick on Florida State running back Cam Akers, who rushed for 2,875 yards and 27 touchdowns in three seasons with the Seminoles. Darrell Henderson Jr. currently leads the team with 222 yards on 43 attempts.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

Chase Young vs. Andrew Whitworth -- The 38-year-old Andrew Whitworth will be one of the most experienced veteran left tackles that Young will face in his rookie season. He's also one of the most accomplished; in 14 seasons, Whitworth is a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro selection.

Young, who led all of college football with 16.5 sacks last year, is widely regarded as one of the best pass rushers to join the NFL. He'll face a tough challenge in Whitworth, who allowed just one sack last season, per Pro Football Focus, and had an overall grade of 72.8.

Young and the rest of Washington's defensive line will be tested against Los Angeles regardless of who lines up opposite of them; Los Angeles' offensive line allowed a league-best 22 sacks in 2019. Young, who is dealing with a groin injury, did not practice Wednesday but was a limited participant Thursday.

Terry McLaurin vs. Jalen Ramsey -- Jalen Ramsey's 2019 stats (50 tackles, an interception and five pass breakups) were the worst of his career, but he is still seen as one of, if not the best cornerback in the league. A three-time Pro Bowler, Ramsey has 10 interceptions and 49 pass breakups in his career.

McLaurin is used to going up against the best; in four games this season, he's faced perennial Pro Bowlers Patrick Peterson, Darius Slay and Marcus Peters, first-team All-Pro Marlon Humphrey and top 5 pick Denzel Ward. McLaurin currently ranks fifth in the NFL in yards (387) and tied for eighth in receptions (26).

Expect Ramsey to follow him wherever he goes on the field. If Washington hopes to have success against Los Angeles' defense, McLaurin will need to consistently win this matchup.

Washington's offensive line vs. Aaron Donald -- Aaron Donald's dominance over offensive lines is well-known around the NFL. He led the league in tackles for loss (20) in 2019 and was voted to his sixth-straight Pro Bowl after recording 12.5 sacks and 24 quarterback hits.

Washington's offensive line, which had the 31st adjusted sack rate of 9.8% last year, per Football Outsiders, has a new look this year. Geron Christian Sr. is the starting left tackle, while Wes Martin has taken charge of the left guard spot. Wes Schweitzer has filled in for Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Scherff.

The key to this matchup rests with the interior offensive line, which features three-year starter Chase Roullier. Donald can move around the defensive line, but he is mostly an interior defensive tackle. Schweitzer, Roullier and Martin will need to have an exceptional game to keep Donald at bay.

INDIVIDUAL STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Dwayne Haskins (939)
  • Passing TDs -- QB Dwayne Haskins (4)
  • Rushing Yards -- RB Antonio Gibson (186)
  • Rushing TDs -- RB Antonio Gibson (3)
  • Receiving Yards -- WR Terry McLaurin (389)
  • Receiving TDs -- WR Dontrelle Inman (2)
  • Tackles -- LB Jonathan Bostic (37)
  • Sacks -- DE Chase Young (2.5)
  • Interceptions -- CB Kendall Fuller (2)

Los Angeles:

  • Passing Yards -- QB Jared Goff (1063)
  • Passing TDs -- QB (6)
  • Rushing Yards -- Darrell Henderson (222)
  • Rushing TDs -- RBs Malcom Brown and Darrell Henderson (2)
  • Receiving Yards -- WR Cooper Kupp (297)
  • Receiving TDs -- TE Tyler Higbee (3)
  • Tackles -- LB Micah Kiser (32)
  • Sacks -- DT Aaron Donald (3.5)
  • Interceptions -- CB Darious Williams (2)

TEAM STATS LEADERS

Washington:

  • Total offense -- 30th (301.8.0 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 30th (19.8 PPG)
  • Passing offense -- 26th (209.5 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed -- 26th (12.8)
  • Rushing offense -- 30th (92.2 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 32nd (33.33%)
  • Total defense -- 7th (338.2 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- 22nd (28.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- 4th (208.5 YPG)
  • Sacks -- T-3rd (14.0)
  • Rushing defense -- 23rd (129.8 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 8th (39.29%)
  • Time of possession -- 25th (28:09)
  • Turnover differential -- T-22nd (-2)

Los Angeles:

  • Total offense -- 7th (397.2 YPG)
  • Scoring offense -- 14th (26.5 PPG)
  • Passing offense --14th (255.0 YPG)
  • Sacks allowed --9th (6.0)
  • Rushing offense -- 7th (142.2 YPG)
  • Third-down offense -- 4th (51.92%)
  • Total defense -- 13th (353.2 YPG)
  • Scoring defense -- 6th (20.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense -- 8th (229.8)
  • Sacks -- T-5th (12.0)
  • Rushing defense -- 18th (123.5 YPG)
  • Third-down defense -- 13th (40.43%)
  • Time of possession -- 9th (31:26)
  • Turnover differential -- T-13th (+1)

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