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Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints: Matchups to watch revisited

Well, this one simply didn’t go too well for the defense.

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams have officially come back down to earth after a road trip to New Orleans that ended up in their first loss of the season.

The offense performed well as always putting up 35 points, but it simply wasn’t enough after the first-half performance from the defense.

Let’s revisit the matchups to watch:

CB Marcus Peters vs WR Michael Thomas

Last week’s matchup to watch:

After a solid game or two, Peters once again struggled last Sunday versus the Green Bay Packers. Davante Adams routinely got the best of Peters. This week he’ll likely draw a ton of Thomas who is one of the best receivers in the league. Thomas has 58 receptions for 669 yards and four touchdowns on the season. A route running technician with vice hands for grips, Thomas is a severely underrated player. Even though things point to Thomas having the upper hand in this game, I think Peters might perform well. Thomas isn’t a speedy receiver who specializes in going deep, so Peters will have the opportunity to create a cushion between himself and Thomas and let his instincts do the rest.

Yeah, this one wasn’t right at all. Peters was abused left right and center by Thomas. Thomas registered 12 receptions for 211 yards and a touchdown. He was converting third downs all over the field, breaking tackles to extend short catches into long ones, and even had the game-winning touchdown that effectively closed the game. Just an awful performance from the Rams’ #1 cornerback.

WR Cooper Kupp vs CB P.J. Williams

Last week’s matchup to watch:

From all accounts it sounds like Kupp will return to the field on Sunday and that’ll prove to be huge for the offense. Not only is Kupp simply a tremendous player who can gain separation on any cornerback, he’s crucial on third downs and extending drives. This week he’ll fetch Williams in coverage who is, well.... not good. Even though Williams won a player of the week award this week for his pick-six against the Vikings, he was absolutely abused all game in coverage. Kupp should have an absolute field day against Williams.

Kupp didn’t see a ton of the ball but still managed to be very productive. On only six targets, Kupp secured five receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown. He had an extremely long touchdown as well which was great to see. Kupp looked fully recovered from his concussion and knee injury from prior weeks and will continue to be relied upon going forward.

OLB Dante Fowler Jr vs OT’s Terron Armstead/Ryan Ramczyk

Last week’s matchup to watch:

If you want to see an immediate battle and test for Fowler, it’s this week. The edge rusher has two sacks on the season but has proven to be a pest for opposing tackles when rushing the passer. This week Fowler (and the other Rams edge’s) will face PFF’s #2 and #3 rated offensive tackle’s on the season in Armstead and Ramcyzk. I wouldn’t expect a ton of production because these bookend tackles are simply terrific, but the interior pass rush (Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers) should be a whole lot more productive.

Fowler actually had a relatively solid performance for his first one in horns. The first half wasn’t great as he spent a lot of time on the floor and got bottled up by the two offensive tackles on separate occasions, but the light seemed to flip in the second half when Fowler registered multiple pressures and came alive. All in all, Fowler looked solid and put forth a promising first game after four days on his new team.

RT Rob Havenstein vs DE Cameron Jordan

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Conversely, the Rams themselves have a fantastic pair of tackles and this week their RT Rob Havenstein will battle against one of the best defensive ends in the league in Jordan. Jordan has five sacks on the season and is a major player in run defense. On the flip side, Havenstein is PFF’s 5th-overall tackle so he’s pretty damn good himself.

Hav (and the entire offensive line) had a tremendous performance. Jared Goff may have been pressured once or twice, but he wasn’t sacked one single time in the game. The Rams offense could pretty much do whatever they wanted moving the ball with ease. The offensive line had a fantastic bounce-back game after a shaky performance against Green Bay.

QB Jared Goff vs Saints’ secondary

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Jared Goff has played the Saints twice in his short career. Jared Goff has also torched the Saints defense twice in his short career. In two games vs the Saints he’s combined for 568 passing yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. This time around I wouldn’t be shocked if Goff could get relatively close to eclipsing that in one game (Say 400+ yards and 4+ TD’s). The Rams’ offense will be humming.

This prediction was relatively close as Goff had 391 yards and three touchdowns (one interception). Goff was pretty much marvelous outside of one mistake that turned out to be a bit costly as the interception turned into a touchdown drive for the Saints. Still, outside of a pick and maybe one missed throw later in the game to Robert Woods on first down, Goff absolutely torched the Saints defense. He had multiple pin-point accurate throws. Fantastic day from Goff and the passing offense.

ILB Mark Barron/Cory Littleton vs RB Alvin Kamara

Last week’s matchup to watch:

Kamara is one of the leagues most dangerous weapons as he can make plays both as a runner and receiver. Kamara already has nine touchdowns on the season and nearly 800 combined yards. Kamara torched the Rams in 2017 with a combined 190 yards and two touchdowns.

This was pretty much as bad as the Thomas versus Peters battle. Alvin Kamara abused Rams defenders. They simply couldn’t cover and when they closed the gap, they couldn’t tackle at all. Kamara registered 110+ total yards and three touchdowns. These two need to be better.