The St. Louis Rams are 7-3 coming off a bye week since their '99 Super Bowl championship season. What does that mean for this week as Spagnuolo's team, rested, healed and hot on the heels of a one-game winning streak take on one of the league's two remaining undefeated teams?
Looking at the post-bye results of that time frame, you have to throw out the results of those "Greatest Show" days; that was a muuuuuuch different team.
The two post-bye results that are the most interesting are actually those from the last two seasons, some of the worst in Rams history in terms of overall results.
Last year, the bye week brought the axe for head coach Scott Linehan, and the Rams, under interm Jim Haslett, came out of the bye to beat what was at the time a strong Washington team...in Washington. How much of that was due to the coaching change? Another interesting parallel from last season is that the offense, short of a few key plays, didn't do much to contribute to the win. The defense stood tall and an Atogwe fumble return for a TD helped get the points needed for the upset.
The season before, 2007, the Rams beat a hot Saints team after the bye week after losing the first eight games of the season. That was a much different Saints defense though. Another factor in that game was a 27-for-33, 302 yard, 2 TD effort from Marc Bulger and a 22 carry, 76 yard, 1 TD game from Steven Jackson. If the Rams have any hope of pulling off a similar surprise, they'll need another Herculean effort from Steven Jackson and a competent day from Marc Bulger and his receivers. One of those things is far more likely than the other.
The Saints have the kind of offense that can make come from behind victories easy, since they can score at will. Their defense is significantly improved too. Then again, you never know, as edpjr suggested, this has the makings of a classic "trap game."