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Preston’s preview: Key matchup, what’s at stake in Monday’s Ravens-Rams game

Key matchup

Rams DE Michael Brockers and DTs Sebastian Joseph-Day and Aaron Donald versus Ravens C Matt Skura, Gs Bradley Bozeman and Marshal Yanda and OTs Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr.: Needless to say, the Rams’ front can get after it. They are ranked No. 5 in run defense, allowing only 89.1 yards per game, and might be the most athletic front the Ravens face all season. Brockers is 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, while Joseph-Day is 6-4 and 310. Brockers is fifth on the team in tackles with 42, while Joseph-Day has 25. Of course, the stud is Donald, who has 35 tackles and eight sacks. They present problems for the Ravens because Bozeman and Skura have struggled with quick, athletic guys on the inside, even through both have improved this season. If Stanley and Brown can turn or reach block on the edge, that should open up the running game on the outside and inside. But if there is too much penetration up the middle, the Ravens will have problems running the ball.

What’s at stake

The Ravens are bringing a six-game winning streak into this contest and they want to stay within striking distance of the New England Patriots for home-field advantage in the playoffs. Plus, the game is on national TV, and all teams want to show off on “Monday Night Football.” The Rams need to win to stay alive for a possible wild-card bid since the San Francisco 49ers appear to be running away with the NFC West. Los Angeles hasn’t come close offensively to being the same team it was a year ago before losing in the Super Bowl to the Patriots.

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What’s on the radar

The Ravens acquired cornerback Marcus Peters in a trade with the Rams on Oct. 15 in exchange for second-year linebacker Kenny Young. Peters gets to return to Los Angeles for the first time to play his old teammates and he’ll be fired up. On the other side will be Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, whom the Rams acquired in a trade from Jacksonville soon after Peters departed. Both players have played well for their new teams, and you can bet each will try to outshine the other Monday night. Both Peters and Ramsey are extremely competitive and love to talk a lot of smack. They are entertaining.

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