How Denver matches up against Rams and predictions


Broncos (4-10) at Rams (4-10)

When: 2:30 p.m. MT, Sunday

Where: SoFi Stadium

Radio/TV: 850 AM, 94.1 FM/KCNC-4

Broncos-Rams series: Broncos are 5-9 in 14 regular-season games dating back to 1972; the Broncos lost 23-20 in the last meeting, on Oct. 14, 2018, in Denver.

Key matchup

Rams QB Baker Mayfield vs. Broncos secondary

After being traded from Cleveland to Carolina this summer, and then released by the Panthers on Dec. 5, Mayfield found a new home in Los Angeles, signing with the Rams on Dec. 6.

The Rams’ acquisition of Mayfield came after starting quarterback Matthew Stafford was placed on injured reserve with a spinal cord contusion. Mayfield led a comeback in his Rams debut in Week 14, finding Van Jefferson for the game-winning TD pass with nine seconds left in a 17-16 victory over the Raiders.

This past week, Mayfield was 12-of-21 passing for 111 yards, with one TD and one interception in a 24-12 loss at Green Bay on Monday Night Football. Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett said Denver isn’t underestimating Mayfield, despite him bouncing around the league this year and being relatively new to coach Sean McVay’s offense.

“I know that’s difficult (to come on a team late in the year), so I give him so much credit for what he’s going through,” Hackett said. “To be able to enter into a team and pick up the system and be able to operate it like he did (against the Raiders) — I don’t think anybody understands how difficult that is… That was an amazing game that he had.”

Mayfield, the 2018 No. 1 overall pick out of Oklahoma, is 1-1 in two starts against the Broncos with a 87.8 rating.

Bizarrely, his last game against Denver saw him shave his handlebar mustache before and after losing 24-19 to the Broncos as a member of the Browns in November 2019.

Who has the edge?


Russell Wilson did not play last week despite clearing protocol from the concussion he suffered in Week 14 against Kansas City, but he’s expected back this week in place of backup Brett Rypien. Baker Mayfield, who began 2022 in Cleveland, is 1-1 for the Rams. Edge: Even

Running back

Latavius Murray broke loose against the Cardinals for 130 yards, the first time this year a Broncos tailback has cracked the century mark. He’ll carry the load again Sunday. Cam Akers is Los Angeles’ featured back, and he leads them with 441 rushing yards. Edge: Even

Receiver/tight end

Courtland Sutton missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, but the Broncos are hopeful for his return on Sunday. It appears KJ Hamler’s season is over with another hamstring injury. Jerry Jeudy is surging. LA’s top threat, Cooper Kupp, is on IR. Edge: Even

Offensive line

The Broncos have trotted out nine different starting O-line combinations this year. Last week, Rypien was sacked six times in the first half alone. The Rams depend on tackles Ty Nsekhe and Rob Havenstein, but have been similarly snake-bit up front with an NFL high 12 different O-line combinations. Edge: Even

Defensive line

Dre’Mont Jones is out with a season-ending hip injury; D.J. Jones, Mike Purcell and DeShawn Williams (who had a career-high 2.5 sacks last week) will need to set the tone in the trenches. Rams world-beater Aaron Donald (ankle) hasn’t played since Week 12. Edge: Even


Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell keep playing like one of the league’s best inside linebacker duos. Denver has Baron Browning, Jonathon Cooper and Randy Gregory (who returned last week from IR) off the edges. Bobby Wagner leads L.A. with 118 tackles. Edge: Even


Justin Simmons had two picks last week, giving him five interceptions in 2022. Pat Surtain II has picks in consecutive games. Kareem Jackson can still lay the boom. The Rams feature All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey, plus Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott on the back end. Edge: Broncos

Special teams

Brandon McManus continues to be inconsistent on field goals (24 of 32) though the majority of his misses are from blocks or long distances. Montrell Washington has shown flashes as a returner. The Rams’ Matt Gay is 21 of 23 on field goals. Edge: Rams

Tale of the tape

Category Broncos Rams
Total offense 316.1 (27th) 273.9 (32nd)
Rush offense 107.8 (23rd) 85.1 (30th)
Pass offense 208.4 (22nd) 188.9 (25th)
Points per game 15.6 (32nd) 16.4 (31st)
Total defense 309.0 (5th) 331.6 (13th)
Run defense 114.5 (14th) 104.5 (4th)
Pass defense 194.5 (T-5th) 227.1 (21st)
Points allowed 18.1 (3rd) 22.9 (18th)

* Through Week 15

By the numbers

101: The number of penalties committed by the Broncos this year; they’ve been last in the league in that category since October.

4.6: Average yards per play by the Rams’ offense, which is the worst in the NFL.

6: Receiving TDs for Jerry Jeudy this year, a career-high and double his previous best output of three from his rookie year in 2020.

4,904: Career rushing yards for Russell Wilson. The quarterback needs 25 more to surpass Randall Cunningham (4,928) for the third-most by a quarterback in league history.

24: Passes defensed by Pat Surtain II through his first 30 games; he needs two more to tie Deltha O’Neal for the most passes defensed by a Denver cornerback through his first 31 career games.


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