Week 10 will make its conclusion in incredibly exciting fashion when the new-look Los Angeles Rams meet the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium.
It promises to be a fierce encounter between two division rivals. The Rams suffered a midseason blow when they lost do-it-all wide receiver Robert Woods to a season-ending knee injury at practice just days ago. Monday will represent Los Angeles' first post-Woods test, but exciting reinforcements are on the way. Odell Beckham Jr. will reportedly make his Rams debut on Monday, and Von Miller may follow suit.
Star power will be plentiful, and there are several intriguing one-vs-one matchups that will take place. Here are three heavyweight matchups we’re particularly excited to monitor.
DEEBO SAMUEL VS. JALEN RAMSEY
This certainly has the potential to be the marquee matchup of the night. Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has generally avoided employing Ramsey in isolated one-vs-one matchups against the same opposing receiver on a consistent basis, rather opting for Ramsey to play the acclaimed “star” position he’s made his own in Los Angeles. But Morris broke protocol against the Derrick Henry-less Titans a week ago by asking Ramsey to shadow A.J. Brown on a nearly snap-by-snap basis, and Samuel is the type of talent that warrants the same treatment.
There, unfortunately, haven't been many bright spots for San Francisco in 2021, but Samuel is a budding superstar. Currently ranked second in the league in receiving yards with a healthy 882, Samuel has already set career highs in yards and touchdowns (4) and will soon surpass his best receptions output as well. Samuel has been largely dominant through eight contests and his play suggests he'll see plenty of Ramsey on Monday.
COOPER KUPP/OBJ VS. 49ERS SECONDARY
As mentioned in the introduction above, Rams head coach Sean McVay will be debuting an exciting new passing attack that will pair the NFL's league-leading receiver in Cooper Kupp with the larger-than-life Odell Beckham Jr. The vision was to include an unstoppable three-man attack with Woods also in the mix, but an aforementioned knee injury has unfortunately prevented that coming from to fruition.
Even in Woods' absence, Kupp and Beckham have what it takes to form a fearful duo outside. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is playing the best football of his career and will certainly target his two playmakers on a fairly consistent basis. Kupp and Beckham will encounter an incredibly underrated 49ers secondary that is allowing just 206.5 passing yards per contest. Big on talent and short on household names, San Francisco's underrated secondary has been powered forward by the breakout of former undrafted free agent cornerback Emmanuel Moseley. These should lead to some fun battles all night long.
AARON DONALD VS. 49ERS IOL
A three-time Defensive Player of the Year winner, Aaron Donald represents a difficult assignment for opposing offensive lines on a weekly basis. That sentiment will ring especially true going forward, now that he has a pair of intimidating pass rushers in Miller and Leonard Floyd flanking him on either side.
The Rams will continue to move and utilize Donald all over their defensive formation to great success. Monday's contest against the 49ers should provide plenty of opportunities to do just that. Left guard Laken Tomlinson and center Alex Mack have been in rather fine form this season, but right guard Daniel Brunskill has especially struggled in pass protection throughout 2021. Donald typically picks his spots, and we expect him to challenge Brunskill early and often.