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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cameron DaSilva

4 key matchups to watch in Rams vs. Broncos on Sunday

This weekend’s Rams-Broncos game may not be the highly anticipated matchup the NFL thought it scheduled for Christmas Day before the season began, but there are still intriguing individual battles to watch when these teams take the field this weekend.

When the Rams are on defense, we’ll get to see Jalen Ramsey against Jerry Jeudy, who’s an exciting young receiver for Denver. Randy Gregory poses a threat to the Rams as a pass rusher, so the offensive line will need to do its best against him.

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Here’s a look at four key matchups to watch on Sunday afternoon.

Nick Scott vs. Greg Dulcich

Dulcich has become a key part of the Broncos’ passing game, despite only catching one pass for 11 yards last week. He ranks third on the team with 372 yards, averaging an impressive 12.8 yards per catch for a tight end.

Scott is the Rams’ best coverage safety and is capable of matching up with athletic tight ends, but he won’t be alone on Dulcich. Bobby Wagner, Ernest Jones and Taylor Rapp will also help against the rookie tight end when the Rams are in zone coverage, and there should be an emphasis on taking away Dulcich in the passing game.

Rob Havenstein vs. Randy Gregory

Gregory returned in Week 15 and should suit up against the Rams this weekend, giving the Broncos their best pass rusher. He has 20 pressures in just 106 pass-rush snaps, doing an excellent job in his first season with the Broncos.

Havenstein struggled against Preston Smith and the Packers last week, and Gregory will pose an equally difficult test. Protecting the quarterback has been a challenge all season for the Rams and Havenstein’s struggles are part of that. He needs to keep Gregory away from Mayfield this weekend.

Van Jefferson vs. Patrick Surtain

Surtain is having another fantastic season, earning a coverage grade of 84.6 from Pro Football Focus. He’s one of the better cover corners in football, so Jefferson could have some trouble getting open on Sunday.

With Ben Skowronek out, the Rams need Jefferson more than they have all season. If he doesn’t have a solid performance against Denver, it’s safe to assume the Rams won’t have much success throwing the ball as a team. Tutu Atwell will be their next-most experienced receiver behind Jefferson.

Jalen Ramsey vs. Jerry Jeudy

Courtland Sutton is a question mark for this game, leaving Jeudy as Russell Wilson’s go-to receiver again. Jeudy is a technician as a route runner and his quickness is top-notch, but Ramsey can knock him off his routes by pressing him at the line of scrimmage – something Raheem Morris doesn’t have his cornerbacks doing very often.

If Sutton is out, taking away Jeudy will help limit the Broncos’ passing attack, which isn’t very good to begin with. Jeudy is one player who can make a big play or two to flip this game.

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