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2021 season preview: Lions at Rams

Opponent: Los Angeles Rams

Location: SoFi Stadium

Week/Date: Week 7, Sunday Oct. 24 at 4:05 p.m.

TV/radio: FOX/97.1 FM

Previous matchup: Dec. 2, 2018: The visiting Rams beat the Lions 30-16 at Ford Field.

Why this game matters: The obvious connections between the two clubs will be the storyline all week leading up to this one. Lions GM Brad Holmes spent the previous 18 years in the Rams front office. Matthew Stafford spent the previous 12 seasons in Detroit before asking for a trade that eventually sent him to the Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and two first-round picks.

The Rams are expected to be Super Bowl contenders. This will be a measuring-stick game for the Lions on the road. – Tim Twentyman

Crucial matchup: The heart says Stafford is the critical matchup for the Lions, and for all the obvious reasons. But defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the toughest matchup for the Lions -- as he is for every team.

Donald has been an offense wrecker since he entered the NFL in 2014 as the Rams' first-round draft pick. He wreaks havoc wherever he lines up on the defensive line. The stats show that. So do the awards.

With 85.5 career sacks, Donald has averaged a little more than 12 sacks per year, with a high of 20.5 in 2018. He had 41 QB hits that year and 25 tackles for loss. Donald is as dominant against the run as he is rushing the quarterback. He's been voted to the Pro Bowl seven times, first-team All-Pro six times and defensive player of the year three times.

It will be strange seeing Stafford wearing No. 9 for the Rams, and the Lions have to keep him in check. But the key matchup is a player who wears two 9's on his back -- Aaron Donald, No. 99. – Mike O'Hara

Rookie watch: It will be interesting to see how rookie wide receiver Tutu Atwell fits into the mix among Los Angeles' talent skill-position weapons. The second-round pick is a burner and big-play threat. – Tim Twentyman

WEEK 7 · Sun 10/24 · 4:05 PM EDT



Los Angeles Rams

SoFi Stadium