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In-Depth Prediction, Preview, and Odds

Rams vs. Steelers Prediction

Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 4:25pm EST
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

This article covers a past game!

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In-depth Coverage

This is an in-depth analysis of this game, covering every possible detail and angle. Use the table of contents to navigate between each section, or just jump on in!

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Table of Contents

Last Updated: Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 1:48pm EST

Introduction

The Los Angeles Rams will head on the road to battle the Pittsburgh Steelers in an inter-conference week 10 clash Sunday afternoon from Heinz Field. The Rams are coming off their bye week after collecting a 24-10 home win against the Bengals, and the Steelers came through with a big 26-24 home win over the Colts last Sunday. This marks the first meeting between these two sides since 2015 in a game the Steelers won by a 12-6 score.

Los Angeles Rams Review

The Los Angeles Rams are seeking their third consecutive victory. The Rams have rebounded from a three-game losing streak with a victory against the Falcons followed by a 24-10 home win over the last-place Bengals. L.A. stands in third place in the NFC West, three games back of the first-place 49ers. Jared Goff is back on track after a rough stretch that saw him toss several interceptions. The 25-year old QB tallied over 370 passing yards against the Bengals, and he has collected 2367 passing yards with an 11:7 TD to INT ratio on the season.

The Rams rushing offense hasn’t been overly productive. Todd Gurley leads the way with 355 yards on the season, but his usage is down significantly from past seasons. Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. are more involved in the running game. Cooper Kupp continues to excel. The fourth-year WR is coming off a 220-yard performance, and he has accrued 792 receiving yards on the year. The Rams offense ranks in the top 10 in the NFL in multiple categories with the exception of their running game.

The Los Angeles defense has rebounded with two solid performances in their last few games after a tough stretch. The addition of Jalen Ramsey will bolster a pass defense that is placed 19th in the NFL. The Rams are scoring an average of 26.8 points, good for eighth in the NFL. They are allowing an average of 21.8 points, placing them 15th overall. L.A. features a 3-1 road record.

Pittsburgh Steelers Review

The Pittsburgh Steelers have turned their season around after starting the year with an 0-3 record. Many wrote them off after the season-ending injury to Roethlisberger, but they have rallied to even their record to 4-4. The Steelers came through with a big 26-24 home win over the Colts last week to extend their winning streak to three games.

Mason Rudolph is playing reasonably well. The 24-year old QB connected on 74% of his passes for 191 yards in the win against the Colts.  Overall the former OK State star isn’t putting up big numbers but he is doing just enough to keep his team in games. Rudolph has 1088 passing yards with a 10:4 TD to INT ratio in six games.

The Steelers have used several running backs this season due to injuries. Number one RB James Conner did not play last week with a shoulder injury and is questionable for this one. Conner has 380 rushing yards. Trey Edmunds started his first game of the season against the Colts and came away with 73 rushing yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster won’t put up big numbers without Big Ben at QB. The 22-year old WR leads the Steelers with 459 receiving yards. The Steelers offense is consistently generating points, scoring at least 23 points in five straight games.

The Pittsburgh defense deserves a ton of credit for their performance. They have contained the Chargers and Colts in their current winning streak and rank 10th in the NFL against the pass. The Steelers are scoring an average of 22 points, ranking them 18th in the NFL. They are conceding an average of 21.1 points, placing them 13th overall.  Pittsburgh is 3-2 at Heinz Field.

The Running Game

Los Angeles Rams Running Offense
vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Running Defense

Los Angeles Rams Running Offense

The Rams have only attempted 199 rushes on the season compared to 314 pass attempts from Goff. L.A. tallied 98 rushing yards against the Bengals which is just above their average of 97. L.A. is very conservative with Todd Gurley II this season as they strive to keep him fresh. The 25-year old running back usually only has 10-15 carries per game after usually logging over 20 last season. Gurley II hasn’t been particularly effective, averaging only 3.9 yards per attempt for a season total of 355 yards.

Sean McVay has no problem utilizing Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. as well. Brown actually had more carries than Gurley in the latest game. The 26-year old back is averaging a solid 4.2 yards per attempt for 54 yards. Darrell Henderson Jr. is third in team receiving with 119 rushing yards. The Rams offensive line has been the subject of criticism at times this year. They have some inexperience on the line as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers Run Defense

The Steelers rush defense has been around the NFL average. They struggled against the Colts last week, surrendering 139 rushing yards, but overall they have been decent. The Steelers have a talented set of linebackers led by Devin Bush who is having a terrific season, leading Pittsburgh with 66 combined tackles and he has made 4.5 tackles for a loss.  T.J. Watt has collected 11 tackles for a loss with 7.5 of those coming from sacks. Bud Dupree is not known for a solid run stuffer, but he does have three tackles for a loss.

"We also have to be better at stopping the run. I thought Indy largely was able to do the things they wanted to do in regards to the run controlling the game in a lot of ways."

-Mike Tomlin via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Cameron Heyward is also known for his run-stuffing skills. He has made 40 totals tackles and seven tackles for a loss. Mark Barron had a few good years with the Rams, and he has 38 combined tackles in his first year with Pittsburgh. The Steelers have a stuff rate of 18%, placing them below the league average of 19%.

Stats

Rams:

Rushing Attempts per Game: 24.9 (19th)

Rushing Yards: 778 (24th)

Average Rushing Yards Per Game: 97.2 (20th)

Average Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.9 (21st)

Steelers

Opponent Carries Per Game 27.9 (22nd)

Opponent Rushing Yards: 860 (12th)

Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game: 107.5 (16th)

Opponent Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.9 (8th)

Who has the Edge?

I expect the Steelers to contain the Rams running game. The Rams rank 20th in rushing yards per game, and they pass the ball frequently. They have attempted 315 passes compared to only 199 rushes. The Steelers have a great core of linebackers. Pittsburgh held the Ravens, who lead the NFL in rushing, to only 3.5 yards per attempt. They also limited the Chargers to 32 rushing yards and the Dolphins to 60 yards in weeks six and seven.

Advantage: Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers Running Offense
vs. Los Angeles Rams Running Defense

Pittsburgh Steelers Running Offense

The Steelers' rushing offense hasn’t been much better than their passing game. They are 26th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. Pittsburgh had to resort to Trey Edmunds last week in place of James Connor who sat out with a shoulder injury. Edmunds fared well, rushing for 73 yards in what was his season debut.

James Conner is questionable for this game, although Tomlin is optimistic he will play. Conner has registered 380 rushing yards on an average of only 3.9 yards per attempt this season. If Conner is unable to play, expect to see plenty of Trey Edmunds again this week. Jaylen Samuels has 26 carries for 60 yards and he will likely see action if Conner does not play.  Steelers’ #2 receiver Benny Snell Jr. is out until the end of the month with a knee injury.

The Steelers have had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL the past few seasons, although it has not made an impact on their offensive production this year.

Los Angeles Rams Run Defense

The Rams feature a terrific rush defense that ranks 10th in the NFL. They feature talents all over the field that can read an offense and stuff the run. Aaron Donald is one of the best-run stuffers in the NFL. The 28-year old lineman has accumulated a remarkable 13 tackles for a loss and a combined 25 tackles on the season.

Linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. is having a breakout season. The four-year veteran is second on the Rams with 10 tackles for a loss accompanied with 20 solo tackles. Clay Matthews has missed the last three games with a jaw injury but the chances are good he will play.  Matthews has recorded nine tackles for a loss. Sam Ebukam has stepped up in Matthews absence, and he is now up to 20 tackles. Safety Eric Waddle is outstanding against the run. The veteran has made 59 tackles while Corey Littleton leads the Rams with 60.

According to FooballOutsiders, the Rams feature a stuff rate of 19% which placed them at the NFL average of 19%.

Stats

Steelers

Rushing Attempts per Game: 23.1( 23rd)

Rushing Yards: 707 (27th)

Average Rushing Yards Per Game: 88.4 (26th)

Average Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.8 (23rd)

Rams

Opponent Carries Per Game 27.2 (21st)

Opponent Rushing Yards: 775 (8th)

Opponent Rushing Yards Per Game: 96.9 (10th)

Opponent Rushing Yards Per Carry: 3.6 (3rd)

Who has the Edge?

The Rams have the decisive edge here. The Rams are holding opponents to only 97 rushing yards per game, positioning them 10th in the NFL. The Steelers are struggling to gain any momentum on the ground and injuries have played a part. While James Conner is expected to return for this one. I don’t expect a significant contribution considering he has rushed for less than 60 yards in six of his seven games.

Advantage: Los Angeles Rams

The Passing Game

Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense
vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense

Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense

The Rams are relying on their passing game quite heavily this season. They have a dynamite receiving group that all have game-breaking ability. Jared Goff is inconsistent but the talent is there. The 25-year old QB posted 3:3 TD to INT ratio in the Rams recent three-game skid earlier this season. He has rebounded with zero interceptions in his last three games. Goff has accumulated 2367 passing yards with an 11:7 TD to INT ratio on the season.

The Rams feature three receivers with over 400 receiving yards. Cooper Kupp has been one of the best WR’s in the game this year, compiling 792 receiving yards on a remarkable 58 receptions. The 26-year old WR has brought in over 100 yards in five of eight games on the season.

"You can just see, the ability to create after the catch, making plays, being able to create separation," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "He had some huge third-down conversions versus some man coverage structures and then he also had some good ability to find some soft spots in some zones on some in-breaking routes. But it was a combination of the protection, (QB) Jared (Goff) finding him and then Cooper being able to connect with him and make those plays."

Source: Stu Jackson via theRams.com

Robert Woods hasn’t been as productive as last season. The seven-year veteran has only made seven catches in his last three games, and he stands second in team receiving with 471 yards. Brandon Cooks rounds out the top 3 with 402 yards, but he is out with a concussion. Tight end Gerald Everett is heavily involved in the offense, and he has 297 receiving yards.

Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense

The Steelers' ability to defend the pass is their greatest strength as a team through the first half of this season. They stand 10th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. A good portion of their success can be attributed to a dangerous pass rush that has resulted in 29 sacks which places them fifth in the NFL.

Linebacker T.J. Watt leads the way with seven sacks on the season. Watt plays outside linebacker and will blitz frequently. Defensive tackle Cameron Hayward is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. The 30-year old is having a solid season, posting 3.5 sacks. Defensive end Stephon Tuitt has 3.5 sacks.

The Steelers #1 cornerback Joe Haden is one of the highest-paid corners in the NFL. The 30-year old has deflected four passes and does not have an interception. Haden will likely be defending the dangerous Cooper Kupp this week. The Steelers also have Mike Hilton and Steven Nelson at the cornerback position. Hilton has one interception and has allowed 20 receptions on 28 targets from opposing QB’s this season. Nelson has broken up two passes. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has been outstanding since coming over in a trade from Miami. The 22-year old has made four interceptions.

Stats

Rams:

Passes Completed: 193 (12th)

Average Yards Per Completion: 7.6 (15th)

Passing Yards Per Game: 284.2 (5th)

Passing Touchdowns: 11 (21st)

Steelers

Opponent Passing Yards Per Game: 241.4 (19th)

Opponent Passes Completed: 186 (13th)

Opponent Completion Percentage: 63.9%: (13th)

Opponent TD Passes: 11: (10th)

Who has the Edge?

I am going to classify this one as a draw. The Steelers pass defense has been their greatest asset as a team this season. They are limiting opponents to 228 passing yards per game, good for 10th in the NFL. Jared Goff should do solid damage but he is inconsistent and only has 11 touchdown passes. Goff has a tendency to make mistakes, tossing seven interceptions on the season. That being said, I expect Goff to find Copper Kupp multiple times.

Advantage: Push

Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense
vs. Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense

Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense

The Steelers aren’t generating a ton of offense in the air. Mason Rudolph is still developing as a quarterback. The 24-year old posted tremendous numbers in college with Oklahoma State. Rudolph was the backup behind Roethlisberger in his entire rookie season. His season-high in passing yards was a 251-yard performance against the lowly Dolphins a few weeks ago. Rudolph has collected 1088 passing yards with a 10:4 TD to INT ratio in six games played.

Juju Smith-Schuster can be one of the best receivers in the NFL, but right now he isn’t thriving as he and Rudolph are still working on chemistry. The 22-year old receiver has recorded less than 20 receiving yards in two out of his last three games, and he has a team-leading 459 receiving yards on 33 receptions.

“When he was with the Jaguars he played a lot of man-to-man,” Smith-Schuster said. “At the Rams, when he played against (Atlanta wide receiver) Julio (Jones), he saw a lot of Julio.

“If they give me Ramsay that’s an honor, pretty cool, you know?”

Smith-Schuster on facing Jalen Ramsey via Mike Prisuta of steelers.com

Diontae Johnson is a promising rookie that currently stands third in team receiving with 299 yards and three touchdowns. The third-round draft pick tallied 83 receiving yards against Miami a few weeks ago . The Steelers have a unique connection with James Washington who was a teammate of Rudolph in OK State. The second-year WR is playing well, accusing 142 receiving yards in his last three games, and he is up to 230 yards.

Pittsburgh will also throw screens to RB James Connor who has 236 yards, and tight end Vance McDonald has 176 receiving yards.

Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense

The Rams pass defense has been their biggest problem on defense. They stand 18th in the NFL against the pass and surrendered over 300 passing to the Bengals in their previous game. The Rams feature a dangerous pass rush that can get to opposing QB’s quickly. Aaron Donald had tallied five sacks on the season. Linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. is locked in, collecting 4.5 sacks in his last two games, and he now leads the Rams with 6.5 sacks. The Rams have racked up 23 sacks on the year, placing them 12th in the NFL.

L.A. traded cornerback Marcus Peters and traded away a few first-round picks for Jaguars star corner Jalen Ramsey last month. The 25-year old has zero interceptions and he has allowed 26 receptions on 38 targets.

The Rams recently shipped veteran cornerback Aqib Talib to the Dolphins who is on the IR right now. Taleb was not looking good this season, and his replacement Troy Hill has stepped up in a big way. Hill has defected two passes and he has only allowed nine catches on 21 targets from opposing QB’s. Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman is also having a solid year, breaking up four passes. Linebacker Corey Littleton leads the Rams with two interceptions. L.A. has made six team interceptions.

Stats

Steelers

Passes Completed: 170 (24th)

Average Yards Per Completion: 6.4 (29th)

Passing Yards Per Game: 202.4 (27th)

Passing Touchdowns: 11 (21st)

Rams:

Opponent Passing Yards Per Game: 241.4 (19th)

Opponent Passes Completed: 186 (13th)

Opponent Completion Percentage: 63.9%: (13th)

Opponent TD Passes: 11: (10th)

Who has the Edge?

The Rams pass defense has been susceptible to giving up yards but Mason Rudolph is a QB they should be able to contain. I am confident Jalen Ramsey, who is one of the top corners in the NFL, will contain Steelers' top WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. Mason Rudolph has registered 191 or fewer passing yards in two out of his last three games. The Rams have defensive studs all over the field and I can’t see Rudolph breaking out in this game.

Advantage: Los Angeles Rams

Intangibles

Los Angeles Rams

Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein has converted on 16 of 20 field-goal attempts. His 16 field goals are the 4th most in the NFL. Zuerlein’s longest was a remarkable 58-yarder. His four misses all occurred in the 40-49 yard range, and he is a perfect 4 for 4 from beyond 50 yards.

The Rams will use several players on kick returns. JoJo Nelson leads the Rams with 110 return yards on five attempts which averages to a solid 22 yards per return.

Rams coach Sean McVay led the Rams to a first-place finish in the NFC West in each of his first two seasons. He lost to the Falcons in the Wildcard in his first year and to the Patriots in last year’s Superbowl. McVay features a dominant 29-11 record as a head coach.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers’ kicker Chris Boswell is one of the best in the league. He has connected on 17 of 18 field goals on the season. Boswell’s longest conversion was a 51-yard field goal. His lone miss was over 50 yards and he is 1 for 2 on field goals above 50 yards.

The Steelers usually have Ryan Switzer returning the kicks. Switzer hasn’t made any huge returns, accumulating 146 return yards on eight attempts, which averages out to 18.3 yards per return.

Mike Tomlin is a good coach that always seems to get the most of his players. The 47-year old has qualified for the playoffs in eight of his 12 seasons as Pittsburgh’s head coach. He features a 129-70-1 career coaching record. Tomlin has also won a Superbowl.

Who has the Edge?

I see no decisive edge from either team here. The Rams and Steelers have both solid kickers that continue to get the job done. Both Sean McVay and Mike Tomlin are great coaches who know how to adapt a game plan based on the opposition. I do like the fact Mike Tomlin has more experience as a head coach.

Advantage: Push

Final Outlook

My top pick is on the Rams to cover this small spread. The Rams have momentum after winning two straight games, and the Steelers are a team they should beat. Pittsburgh does not have a dangerous offense and I do not see them scoring enough points to keep this one close. The Steelers stand down at 27th in passing yards and 26th in rushing yards per game. The Rams steller rush defense ranks 10th in the NFL, and they should have no problem shutting down the Steelers rushing offense. I expect L.A. to neutralize JuJu Smith-Schuster who will likely lined up against one of the best corners in the NFL in Jalen Ramsey.

Furthermore, Jared Goff is back on track, sporting a 4:0 TD to INT ratio in his last two games, and he has secured at least 268 passing yards in six out of his last seven games. To sum up, I believe the Rams defense will be the biggest reason they cover this spread.

The top supporting trends for this one found on covers.com are as follows:

The Rams are 6-0 ATS in their last six road games.

The Rams are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games overall.

The Rams are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight-up win.

The Steelers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games against a team with a winning road record.

Latest Updates, Injury Reports, and Line Movements

Injuries

The Rams are dealing with a few key injuries. Brandon Cooks (402 receiving yards) was a limited participant in Friday’s practice but is out for this one. Linebacker Bryce Hager also will not suit up. JoJo Natson, who returns punts and kicks, is listed as questionable.

Fortunately, Clay Matthews who was dealing with a broken jaw was a full participant in practice and will suit up. Matthews has nine tackles for a loss. Rams #2 RB Malcolm Brown (154 rushing yards) returned to practice and he will play. Todd Gurley was listed on the report as non-injury related, meaning he was likely being rested and will play.

The Steelers did not receive the good news their fans were hoping for on the final injury report. #1 RB James Conner (380 rushing yards) is out. Pittsburgh’s #2 RB Benny Snell Jr. will also not play. JuJu Smith-Schuster was listed on the final injury report which came as a bit of a surprise. The Steelers #1 WR (459 yards) has a foot issue and is questionable. Guard Ramon Foster is also out.

The line in this one has not moved dramatically. The Rams opened as four-point favorites and as of Saturday afternoon, they remain four-point favorites. The total also has moved slightly. It opened 44.5 and has moved down to 43.

The weather shouldn’t play a large factor. The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with 53-degree temperatures with low winds at Heinz Field.

Prediction: Los Angeles Rams

Second Opinion on this pick from StatSalt.com

Additional Insiders' Best Bets

Full-game Total Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

This one should develop into a low scoring game. The Rams offense is playing well, and I expect a solid output. With that said, the Steelers' defense does have a strong secondary with a pass defense stands 10th in the NFL, so they should at least contain Goff, and the Rams aren’t generating significant yards on the ground. Also, the under has cashed in six of the Rams’ last eight road games overall.

In addition, the Pittsburgh offense is going to have trouble generating multiple scoring drives. They just don't have the personnel capable of exploiting the Rams who have big playmakers all over the field. Mason Rudolph is finding a way to generate some offense, but this Steelers team stands 27th in the NFL in passing yards per game. The under is 4-1 in the Steelers’ last five games following an ATS win, and that trend should resume in this one.

Prediction: Under

Full-game Prop Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

The under on the Steelers team total which can be found on PointsBet is a play I recommend. The Steelers are going to have a huge challenge generating any offense on the ground with the absence of #1 RB James Conner and #2 RB Benny Snell Jr. This puts more pressure on Mason Rudolph and he cannot carry an offense on his shoulders. Rudolph has failed to surpass 200 passing yards in two out of his last three games and I don’t see him having a big performance against a defense that includes Jalen Ramsey, Cory Littleton, and Aaron Donald.

Prediction: Steelers Team Total: Under 19.5

Half-time Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

I am opting with the Steelers on the halftime line. The Rams’ offense scores more points in the second half by a significant margin. They stand fourth in the NFL with 15.6 points in the second half compared to only 11.1 points in the first half. Moreover, the Steelers are only averaging 11.6 points in the second half.

Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers +3

Half-time Total Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

I am sticking with the under on the halftime line. I expect points to be a premium in the first half considering the following. The Rams are especially difficult to solve in the first half where they are limiting opponents 9.2 points, and only 6.7 points over their last three games. The same applies to the Steelers who have conceded an average of only 10 points in the first half, good for 8th in the NFL.

Prediction: Under 21.5

Half-time Prop Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Another prop worth a close look is the over on Jared Goff’s passing total. This number of 262.5 yards is very appealing. Goff has recorded at least 268 passing yards in six out of his last seven games overall. The only team he failed to solve in that span was against the 49ers who feature the #1 pass defense in the NFL. Another useful stat to consider is the Rams attempt a pass on 62% of their offensive plays which is the 9th highest percentage in the NFL.

Prediction: Jared Goff Passing Total: Over 262.5
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.