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Los Angeles Rams versus New Orleans Saints: Matchups to watch

This is it. Arguably the best game in the entire season is upon us. Let’s get right into it.

NFL: JAN 20 NFC Championship Game - Rams at Saints Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Heading into week two of the 2019 NFL season, both the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints currently sit at 1-0. Both the Rams and the Saints won tight games (the Saints in a comeback of sorts) in week one, making this matchup even more enticing. Not much needs to be said about this one. The Rams and Saints have met an uncanny amount of times over the past two seasons with the ultimate showdown coming in last year’s NFC Championship game.

Bad blood. Rivalry. Call it what you want, this contest is sure to be a fantastic one. No more time to waste, let’s jump into the matchups to watch:

WR Cooper Kupp versus CB P.J. Williams

Cooper Kupp has a history of torching the Saints, probably because he’s just so much better than the Saints’ nickel cornerback in P.J. Williams. Williams is the player who allowed Houston Texans’ wide receiver Kenny Stills to catch the vertical seam for the go ahead touchdown on Monday Night Football, ultimately being bailed out by his quarterback in Drew Brees. In the past two games against the Saints, Kupp has totaled 13 receptions for 205 yards and one touchdown. Kupp’s production should be plentiful in this one.

RB Alvin Kamara versus ILB Cory Littleton/S Taylor Rapp

Alvin Kamara is virtually unstoppable, though the Rams will need to do their best to contain him. Kamara is a good runner in addition to an elite receiver. Cory Littleton was tasked with covering another one of the leagues premier receiving backs in week one against Carolina PanthersChristian McCaffrey, and did a relatively decent job. The Rams should try to deploy bracket coverage on Kamara as much as possible, because the Saints regularly give Kamara an “option” route, leaving him to decide which way he wants his route to break depending on the alignment/leverage of his defender.

RT Rob Havenstein versus EDGE Cameron Jordan

Cameron Jordan is one of the best defensive lineman in football, being equally as dominant in the run game as he is in the pass rushing department. Jordan registered one sack in two contests against the Rams in 2018, meaning right tackle Rob Havenstein and left tackle Andrew Whitworth did a great job, as usual. Hav didn’t have the best game in week one, making this the perfect time to rebound and put together a big performance.

CB’s Aqib Talib/Marcus Peters versus WR Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas experienced both ends of the spectrum against the Rams in 2018, with one absolutely dominant performance (12 receptions, 211 yards, one touchdown) and one subpar performance (four receptions, 36 yards). The Rams didn’t have cornerback Aqib Talib for the first contest, though he was fully healthy for the NFC Championship game. Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips did a marvelous job picking and choosing his spots to offer bracket coverage on Thomas, forcing someone else on the Saints’ offense to beat them. Look for a similar strategy as Thomas is one of the leagues best players.

RB Todd Gurley versus LB Alex Anzalone

Todd Gurley must have a sour taste in his mouth leftover from his NFC Championship performance and usage as he only toted the rock four times for 10 yards with one touchdown. That obviously isn’t nearly enough for the offense’s best player, though he wasn’t healthy at that time, muddying the waters. Looking back at week one, Gurley’s workload was still limited, though he looked explosive and dangerous, proving he can still be a potent threat regardless of how many touches he may have. Gurley should play like a man possessed in this one.