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

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The Rams and Chiefs looked like they would be two evenly matched teams when the season began, which had everyone excited about their Week 12 meeting. But 10 games into the season, they’ve trended in very opposite directions.

The Chiefs are one of the Super Bowl favorites, while the Rams are on the verge of dropping to 3-8. There are still some very intriguing matchups on the field in this Week 12 tilt, specifically involving two of the best interior pass rushers in football.

1
Taylor Rapp vs. Travis Kelce

This is very much a mismatch that favors the Chiefs. Heavily. Kelce is arguably the best tight end in the game and Rapp has had some struggles in coverage. If the Chiefs find ways to match up these two players one-on-one, it’s going to be tough for the Rams to slow Kelce down. He’s an excellent route runner and he has such good chemistry with Patrick Mahomes that he knows exactly where to be when the play breaks down.

With Tyreek Hill out of the equation, the Rams have to focus the majority of their attention on stopping Kelce. He destroyed the Chargers last week with three touchdowns and 115 yards receiving.

2
Aaron Donald vs. Joe Thuney

It’ll be a heavyweight bout on the interior with Donald going up against Thuney, as well as right guard Trey Smith. Thuney has been a stud in pass protection this season and will be challenged by Donald throughout the game on Sunday. Donald hasn’t racked up a large number of sacks, but that’s primarily because teams get the ball out so quickly.

Mahomes averages the eighth-longest time to throw in the NFL this season, so maybe Donald will have some time to get to the quarterback.

3
Chris Jones vs. Matt Skura

As good as Donald is, Jones has been right up there with him as the best interior defenders in the NFL this season. He’s going to be a thorn in the Rams’ side all afternoon, especially given the team’s issues along the offensive line. Whether Jones lines up across from Skura, Coleman Shelton or Oday Aboushi, he’s going to have a massive advantage and likely win most of those matchups. Expect the Rams to double him one way or another, whether it’s with a tackle or the center and guard.

4
Van Jefferson vs. L’Jarius Sneed

Jefferson lines up both in the slot and on the outside, and he’ll get more time in the slot with Kupp out. Sneed is the Chiefs’ primary slot corner and has a coverage grade of 75.5, according to Pro Football Focus. The Rams will need to attack the middle of the field and Jefferson is someone who can help with that – even if it’s not as a downfield threat. He ran some sharp routes last week against the Saints, one of which helped him get wide open over the middle.