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How the Browns defense matches up against the Rams offense

The Browns are 12th in opponent rushing yards per game while the Rams are 14th in rushing yards

Browns defense

After losing 29-12 to the Broncos, the Browns are spending the week in Los Angeles before their Week 13 game against the Rams at SoFi Stadium. The Browns defense will look to have a better game Sunday than last week against the Broncos.

The Browns defense gave up 169 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns against the Broncos in Week 12. It's the second consecutive game where the Browns defense gave up 150 yards or more. They will now play a Rams team that is trying to make a playoff push and has a versatile offense that presents a multitude of challenges.

"They run a bunch of motions, run a bunch of stacks and a bunch of stuff offense that features the pads very heavy, so they probably have a lot of stuff to do," CB Greg Newsome II said. "But it's just keeping our eyes and just communication. That's the first thing, communication and execution. So as long as we communicate, we'll be fine."

Looking forward to the Rams, a team that has won two straight games and its offense has found its groove at the right time. It starts with QB Matthew Stafford, who had his best game of the season against the Cardinals last week. Stafford threw for 229 yards and four touchdowns and finished with his personal best passer rating of the season with 121.1. Even though the Rams are 5-6 on the season, they have many talented players on the offensive side.

WR Cooper Kupp, who is a former Super Bowl MVP, is the star for the Rams offense. Through seven games this season, Kupp has caught 27 passes for 393 yards and scored a touchdown. Kupp's numbers this season don't stand out like his previous seasons, as he dealt with a high ankle sprain that he sustained in Week 10 of 2022 that required surgery.

Check out photos of the team working to prepare for the Los Angeles Rams

However, just Kupp being on the field creates opportunities for the Rams and other skilled players because opponents always have to keep an eye on him. The Rams have two young wide receivers leading the group in all receiving categories this season.

The Rams have relied on second year WR Tutu Atwell to deliver deep passes to this season. Atwell has caught five passes over 30 yards – averaging 13.0 yards per catch – and scoring three touchdowns. Meanwhile, rookie WR Makea "Puka" Nacua has emerged as the best receiver on the team and one of the top performers in the league. Nacua has made 73 catches for 924 yards and has scored three touchdowns.

"Yeah, he's a reliable target for them out there," Newsome said. "Good young receiver. He'll be great, for sure. But I mean he does a lot of everything. He runs every single route. He catches the deep ball great. We're super excited to go against that matchup."

The Rams are 14th in the league in passing yards with 2,661 and 16th in yards per attempt with seven. They have a solid passing game, but their run game is just as solid, which makes them a very tough offense to defend.

The Rams are 15th in rushing yards with 1,254 and are 13th in yards per carry with 4.3. Their lead rusher is RB Kyren Williams, who has 113 attempts for 599 yards in seven games. In the last two games Williams played, he cracked over 140 yards.

Stopping the run for the Browns will have to be their top priority going into Sunday. In the Rams last game against the Cardinals, they ran for 228 yards and rushed for a touchdown.

Their run game is very different with Williams in the lineup. He returned to the lineup in Week 12 against the Cardinals after missing some time with an ankle sprain he suffered on Oct. 15. During the absence of Williams, the Rams managed to rush for over 100 yards only once. The Browns defense needs to be extra vigilant against the run because the Rams have been consistent in their passing game throughout the season. If the Browns can stop the run early on, it will force the Rams to rely solely on their passing game, making it easier for the Browns to defend against them.

"Yeah, it's all a challenge," HC Kevin Stefanski said. "I think they do a great job. Run game, pass game. They marry the run and the pass. They can run their play actions, their keepers. Their dropback game is really strong. Again, Matthew Stafford sees it so well, and can throw the ball to every area of the field. Great receivers, tight ends, running backs, you name it. And then all the things they do pre snap with their motions, their shifts, their bunches, their stacks. It's a big challenge for our defense."

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