There are much subplots to Sunday’s Rams-Titans crippled astatine SoFi Stadium than determination are Hollywood stars who volition apt beryllium successful attendance.
The week began with quality of Titans moving backmost Derrick Henry’s ft injury, and it continued with the Rams acquiring Broncos pass-rushing demon Von Miller to fortify what already was a Rams’ strength.
The Titans reacted to the Henry wounded by signing the ageless Adrian Peterson.
The Titans (6-2) are the existent apical playoff effect successful the AFC, and the Rams (7-1) are tied for the champion grounds successful the league and to apical spot successful the NFC West. Both teams volition participate this crippled riding four-game winning streaks.
It’s not retired of the question to see this a preview of the Super Bowl, which volition beryllium played astatine SoFi Stadium connected Feb. 13.
Miller, who has been nursing an ankle injury, is expected to marque his debut for the Rams, playing alongside Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd connected a squad already starring the NFL successful sacks. Miller has 4.5 sacks this season. The Titans person allowed the fourth-most sacks successful the league.
“You perceive stories of the Fearsome Foursome, you perceive stories of this legendary defense, and we privation to recreate that,’’ Miller said this week. “They’ve been playing large defence each year. I conscionable privation to adhd immoderate of the things that I bash best.’’
Titans backmost Ryan Tannehill volition beryllium the archetypal to spell up against this formidable radical — and he’ll beryllium doing it without Henry, the NFL’s starring rusher.
“Can’t accidental I emotion facing him, but a ton of respect for him and cognize that helium is simply a unsafe player,’’ Tannehill said of Miller.
Rams caput manager Sean McVay sounded bummed that his squad would not beryllium facing Henry, who’s expected to miss 6-10 weeks aft having country connected the foot.
“I hatred that, due to the fact that he’s a large shot player,’’ McVay said. “He’s a ascendant player. I emotion watching the mode this feline has competed and truly done truthful galore peculiar things for that discourtesy implicit the past fistful of years. I inactive deliberation they’ll astir apt support a akin identity, but Derrick Henry, he’s 1 of 1 the mode that he’s played these past fistful of years.’’
It’s not known what, if any, relation Peterson volition person for the Titans connected specified abbreviated notice. Whether oregon not helium plays, the Titans volition usage a radical attack astatine moving back, with Jeremy McNichols, Dontrell Hilliard and D’Onta Foreman.
“We volition benignant of spot wherever everything goes arsenic it plays retired done the week and spot which guys volition beryllium disposable to play for america connected Sunday,’’ Titans caput manager Mike Vrabel said.
Peterson, 36, finished with 156 carries for 604 yards and 7 touchdowns with the Lions past season. He has 14,820 vocation rushing yards, the 5th astir each time.
McVay doesn’t expect the Titans to alteration their violative doctrine without Henry.
“They’re a truly carnal shot team,’’ McVay said. “That embodies the property of Coach Vrabel, who’s done a large occupation since he’s been there. That’s truly what shows up successful each 3 phases. I bash expect them to inactive instrumentality a akin approach, offensively.
“You’re not naive to the information that Derrick Henry has been producing astatine a level that’s unmatched implicit the past mates of years, but … you look astatine the mode that they’ve been capable to tally the football; they’re an fantabulous violative line. They play with large continuity.
“They’ve got choky ends and receivers that are consenting to vie without the ball. [Titans wide receivers] A.J. Brown and Julio [Jones] are evidently truly big-time threats connected the perimeter. But I bash deliberation that they’ll instrumentality a precise akin approach, careless of whether Derrick’s playing oregon not.’’
Offensively, the Rams are formidable with the rebirth of backmost Matthew Stafford, who’s an MVP campaigner aft toiling successful Detroit for his full vocation earlier being traded to Los Angeles successful the offseason.
Stafford ranks apical 5 successful passing yards, yards per attempt, yards per game, TDs and passer rating. His apical receiver is Cooper Kupp, who’s having a vocation twelvemonth with a league-leading 924 receiving yards.