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Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints: Live open thread

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Last week in a playoff-caliber matchup, the Rams lost on the road to the Minnesota Vikings. This week, it's another postseason preview as the Saints come to LA.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's the second playoff-caliber game in as many weeks for the Los Angeles Rams.

Last week, the Rams traveled up north to take on the Minnesota Vikings. While the Rams hung tight keeping the game tied after three quarters, a 17-point final frame from the Vikes left the Rams short last weekend. Whether it was the lack of experience in these kinds of conditions, the coaching getting too risk-averse or the players simply making too many mistakes (see: WR Cooper Kupp and CB Dominique Hatfield), the Rams lost a big one in Week 11.

Well if you wanted a chance for redemption, it's available today as the 8-2 NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints are in the Coliseum posing as solid a competitor if not stronger than Minnesota.

It's a challenge. It's also an opportunity.

Did the Rams really learn from last week's failure? Will they really grow from the adversity that LT Andrew Whitworth suggested they "needed" to face? Have they incorporated the lessons of Week 11 into a gameplan and a preparedness that will show itself on the field today or are they simply not capable of summoning a better brand of football now having reached the precipice of the playoffs?

The road to the playoffs began in earnest last week. With the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks left on the schedule, the road continues well beyond today.

But the marker that today's game in the Coliseum represents is unavoidable.

Are the Rams among the NFC's strongest competitors and deserving of top billing among the other divisional leaders or are they simply a cut below in the second tier?