Six Reasons to Love the Ravens-Rams 17th Game

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The NFL's addition of a 17th regular-season game has given Baltimorea gem. The Los Angeles Rams are coming to M&T Bank Stadium at a date to be determined.

Here are six reasons to love this game:

1) A rematch of a Monday night blowout

Baltimore went out to Los Angeles and demolished the Rams on Monday Night Football in 2019, leaving with a 45-6 victory. The Rams surely will have that fresh in their minds when they come to Baltimore for a rematch. These are two of the strongest teams in their conferences, as both went to last year's playoffs but were eliminated in the divisional round. They both should be in the playoff mix again in 2021.

2) Two superstars under center

The Rams made a huge move this offseason to trade for quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is still one of the more fun quarterbacks to watch given his gunslinging style. He's coming off a season in which he threw for 4,084 yards – his eighth year topping 4,000. One of Jackson's most memorable performances from his 2019 MVP season was in Los Angeles when he threw five touchdowns and ran for 95 yards. Stafford and Jackson don't have similar playing styles but watching two of the most entertaining quarterbacks in the game going back and forth will be a treat.

3) A matchup of spectacular defenses

The Ravens have built a reputation on having one of the best defenses in the league. Led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the Rams were the best of 2020. They were No. 1 in the NFL in yards allowed per game (281.9) and No. 1 in points allowed per game (18.5). The Ravens came in at No. 2 in points per game (18.9). Which defense will reign supreme in this matchup?

4) A great test for the new Raven

The Ravens have made it a priority to upgrade the offensive line this offseason, starting with signing guard Kevin Zeitler. He'll have arguably the toughest assignment in football when he's tasked with blocking Donald, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Donald is a wrecking ball with double-digit sacks the past four seasons. However, he was basically shut out in the teams' last meeting in 2019, registering just one tackle in the Monday Night Football showdown. Donald was held in check by Matt Skura (who injured his knee) and Patrick Mekari. Now Zeitler and whoever is starting at center will try to repeat that performance.

5) Marcus Peters and Jalen Ramsey

Marcus Peters had a fun return to Los Angeles in 2019, when he helped shut down the Rams' high-flying offense and made sure they heard about it. Peters was traded by the Rams when they made the move to trade for Ramsey midway through the 2019 season. Peters used that as fuel, and capped a spectacular game with a one-handed interception. Perhaps the raw emotions have faded a bit since then, but perhaps not.

6) A matchup of young, stud running backs

The Ravens' J.K. Dobbins and Rams' Cam Akers are two of the best young running backs in the league. Dobbins rushed for 805 yards as a rookie and Akers put up 625. Both are expected to take on bigger/leading roles next season after sharing time last year. Adding more intrigue to this storyline is that the Rams selected Akers (No. 52 overall) just three picks before Baltimore drafted Dobbins.

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