One of the two Monday Night Football games set to be played tonight will be a rematch of Super Bowl LVI, as the Los Angeles Rams will be in Cincinnati to take on the Bengals. We’ll preview the game before going over my two defensive prop picks for the action.
It’s been well-documented how much the Bengals have struggled in weeks 1-2 of the NFL season. Those struggles have continued this year since the Bengals come into tonight 0-2 after losing 27-24 to the Ravens last weekend. While we’ve all seen their ability to climb out of the early season hole, Cincinnati has an extra layer of adversity this season with Joe Burrow’s calf injury looming in the background.
Burrow has just 304 passing yards and two touchdowns through two weeks, and at the end of last weekend’s loss, he was noticeably limping off the field. It is still undetermined whether or not he will play tonight, but if Burrow does suit up, the Bengals will need to establish a run game to take the pressure off him. That has not been easy, as Cincinnati has finished with a negative EPA on rush plays in each of the first two weeks.
If they gameplan to get Joe Mixon going, they should be able to have some success since the Rams' defense ranks 20th in rushing yards allowed (244) and 29th in yards per rushing attempt allowed (5.3). The Rams' defense looked healthy and revitalized in week one against the Seahawks, holding them to 13 points and putting up a (1.77) EPA. However, that success would not be present last weekend against the 49ers as LA allowed 30 points in their losing effort to go along with a (-12.36) EPA.
LA’s offense has been the most talked about unit on the team, thanks to the introduction of wideout Puka Nacua. No team has dropped back to pass more than the Rams this season, and Matthew Stafford has thrown most of those passes to the rookie, as he already has 25 receptions, and is a big reason why the Rams have put up a positive offensive EPA in both games.
Through two games this season, Germaine Pratt has exceeded tonight’s T/A total, picking up 11 in week one and nine last weekend against the Ravens. The linebacker has been in the Bengals system for a while and was a part of the team that lost in the Super Bowl, so I expect him to be extra motivated tonight.
Pratt already has three run stuffs this season, and with the Rams leading the league in passes per game, I think he’ll have plenty of opportunities to rack up some tackles. LA runs a lot of crossing routes in the passing game, so Pratt should be in a good position to have a big night. Safety Nick Scott should also be in a good position to rack up the tackles based on LA’s passing output.
Scott has also exceeded this total in the first two weeks, and he was even able to pick up 9 tackles + assists last weekend despite only playing 65% of the snaps. The only reason he played fewer snaps was due to an injury, but after clearing concussion protocol, Scott should be on the field closer to 97% of the time like he was in week one when he finished with 11 T/A.
Germaine Pratt Over 7.5 Tackles + Assists (-125)
Nick Scott Over 6.5 T+A (+120)