After getting shut down in Minnesota the Los Angeles Rams look to get their offense to bounce back against the New Orleans Saints in what has the potential to be a shootout. Its another game where the Rams find themselves across from one of the NFL’s top teams but another opportunity to recalibrate for a potential playoff push. These are my five Rams to watch.
CB Trumaine Johnson
With the Rams cornerbacks group banged up, Johnson is going to need to have one of his best games of the year for a Rams defense looking for a spark. The Saints’ Michael Thomas might be underrated but he’s unquestionably a force with Brees. I’ll be shocked if the Rams don’t have Tru shadow Thomas with his size to try and force the Saints elsewhere when they decide to throw. Johnson should also be prepared to stick his nose in on run defense.
WR Sammy Watkins
For an offense looking for answers after last week, Watkins is in a prime spot with injuries to Robert Woods and the Saint’s top CB Marshon Lattimore. Watkins usage, or lack thereof, has been no secret so far but Goff and the Rams have no choice but to try and look Watkins’ way in the passing game now and get him more than 4 targets for the first time since week 7.
RB Todd Gurley
Last week was tough for Gurley just like the rest of the offense. He needs to bounce back in a big way if the Rams offense are going to try and keep pace with the Saints. Gurley hasn’t rushed for more than 70 yards in the past three games but he still remains a threat in the receiving game and surpassed his total yards from scrimmage in 2016 in last week’s game in Minnesota. The Saints are ranked 30th in rushing yards per attempt at 4.7 yards per carry. The Rams should try to run down the throats of the New Orleans defense, we’ll see if they commit to Gurley or abandon at the first sign of turbulence.
DE Aaron Donald
These games are the ones you need your best player to be at his best in order to win. The Saints OL and Drew Brees are among the best at avoiding sacks as they’ve only allowed 10 all year. Last week Donald was the only Rams player to consistently pressure the QB but was never able to convert into many negative plays for the offense. The Saints will surely lean on their running game to try and break the Rams leaky run defense. Someone has to decide enough’s enough for the defense. That’s an awful lot to pin on one player but it’s going to have to be Donald.
QB Jared Goff
Goff’s best game of 2016 was against the Saints so we can all hope there’s something about the Saints that brings the best out of him. Goff and the Rams opening drive against Minnesota was perfect last week but the Vikings quickly adjusted and benefited from an untimely turnover on their way to shutting the Rams out for the rest of the day. Getting off to another fast start is a must against the Saints. New Orleans has a banged up secondary of their own but seeing how Goff responds to not having his top WR Robert Woods is one of the biggest storylines to watch.