The Rams began this season with little in the way of pass rush. This after being one of the most potent pass rushing teams in the NFL last season. That pass rush has gotten better since then and now it gets another HUGE boost with the return of Howie Long's kid, Chris to the lineup.
"I would say they have several guys up front that present a great challenge," Tony Sparano said of the Rams defensive line. "[Robert] Quinn is an outstanding player. [Aaron] Donald is an outstanding player. Kendall Langford I had, a very good player, I drafted him. There are a bunch of good players in that front there.
"You have the possibility, from what it sounds like, of getting [Chris] Long back. We're preparing for that. Talking about four first-round picks, there are a lot of good players there in that group. They're active and they fly around. They have a bunch of sacks, so we have a heck of a challenge."
They already had Robert Quinn who was an All Pro last season with 19.0 sacks. They added Aaron Donald in the draft who has been one of the best defensive tackles in football in his first 11 NFL games. Add Chris Long to that mix and that defensive line is set up to be truly smothering.
Long has averaged double digit sacks over the past four seasons for the Rams who made him the number two overall pick in the 2008 draft.
SB Nation's Joe McAtee had this to say about it:
"Having Chris Long out hurt, but the Rams are deep on the defensive line," said McAtee. "Part of it was offensive game plans just avoiding the rush by getting the ball out really quickly. . . I think the bigger concern is that they still don't have a great answer for when teams scheme for it."
McAtee notes that was what the Chargers did to the Rams which allowed Philip Rivers to have some success against them - success Rivers did not have the previous week when he faced the Raiders
Having Long back could make it nearly impossible for the Raiders to completely scheme around the pass rush. If they double team anyone, it will free up one of the others.
Derek Carr is known for getting the ball out quickly to avoid sacks but his yards per completion and completion percentage both suffer in those instances. In the Raiders win over the Chiefs, the offense succeeded when Carr had time to survey the field and let the play develop.
Carr and the Raiders offense also had success with the added bonus of a run game thanks to the play of Latavius Murray. He will not be playing in this game due to concussion which is a further cause of concern for the Raiders prospects of success against the Rams pass rush.
Best chances for Raiders were having Latavius Murray and the Rams to be without Chris Long. Neither of those things happened which will offer the Raiders arguably their biggest test of the season trying to allow Derek Carr time to run the offense.