This December meeting between the Rams and Saints has an oddly "Deja vu-ish" ring to it. In 2011, these two teams were on vastly different post season courses. St. Louis was headed toward the #2 pick in the NFL Draft, and New Orleans was riding high on their way to a 13-3 regular season. Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's passing record, finishing with 5,476 yards threw the air, and a strong case for the NFL Hall of Fame when his career winds down.
Two week prior to their 2011 visit to St. Louis, the Saints lost a close game to Tampa Bay, then won the following week in convincing fashion, beating Indianapolis 62-7. Fast forward to 2013, and the Saints are coming off a loss to Seattle two weeks ago, followed up by their thumping of the Carolina Panthers 31-13. The common denominators - in both games between the Rams and Saints - are the quarterbacks: Drew Brees, and St. Louis back up Kellen Clemens...
Coming into the 2011 contest, the Rams had a dismal 0-6 record. On the heels of a promising 2010 season - and Sam Bradford's rookie year, and the Rams finished 7-9 - the team dipped to new lows, ending with a 2-14 win/loss record. It led to the firing of GM Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo.
The 2013 version of the contest between these two teams is going to be interesting. Jeff Fisher is up against a team he knows from his time with Tennessee/Houston, and has a 4-1 record against the Saints. He faced the Saints in his second full year as the then Houston Oilers head coach, finishing the season at 8-8, before jumping on a north bound train with the team to Tennessee in 1997.
This is a game the Saints can't win, regardless of the final score. A Jeff Fisher led team - with virtually nothing to lose, and everything to gain - is absolutely the worst case scenario for New Orleans. While it's true the Saints are fighting for post season position, the idea of facing a hungry and young NFC West team in between match ups with the red hot Carolina Panthers is the ground work for an upset in the making. More important, are the possible injury implications to a team that's already took some heavy loses on their defense. If either team break out on top, look for the Saints to start substituting players early. Yet, the problem facing New Orleans head coach Sean Payton will be: Just how far should he go to win this game?
Added to this game's sub-plot, is the bizarre revelation by NFL.com's Michael Silver that there's bad blood between Fisher and Rob Ryan. Will Rams fans being throwing Big Macs at Ryan as he stands on the sidelines today?
There is bad blood between the Rams and Saints surrounding Ryan's abrupt departure, NFL Media Columnist Michael Silver said on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning.
According to Silver's account, Ryan entered Fisher's office at 7:30 a.m., dropped his keys on the desk and told the coach he wanted out. Meanwhile, Fisher's other assistants were in a staff meeting with a window that looked out on the parking lot.
Rams' coaches watched Ryan leave the building and head across the street to a McDonald's. Ryan "goes to get a Big Mac and never comes back," Silver said.
Some in St. Louis are convinced Ryan had a wink-nod deal from Sean Payton to come to New Orleans, according to Silver.
Hmm? If anyone from TST is attending the game today at the Edward Jones Dome, could you toss a Big Mac Rob Ryan's way for me? It will be priceless to watch Ryan fight the urge to catch one of these burger missles to munch on during the game, eh?
Enjoy the game!