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

Cooper Kupp had an incredible game for the Rams. Let’s revisit his matchup.

New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams improved to 2-0 on Sunday with a relatively simple win over the New Orleans Saints at home. Even after a rough performance, the Rams won comfortably with a score of 27-9 over their NFC Championship Game rivals.

Let’s revisit the matchups to watch:

WR Cooper Kupp versus CB P.J. Williams

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

Death, taxes, and Cooper Kupp eviscerating the Saints’ secondary. This time Coop registered five receptions for 120 yards, including one of the best catch-and-run’s you’ll ever see. Kupp has an incredible knack for sitting between zones, as well as setting defensive backs up with crisp route running. It’s great to see Kupp’s knee fully recovered, because he and quarterback Jared Goff have incredible chemistry.

RB Alvin Kamara versus ILB Cory Littleton/S Taylor Rapp

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

The Rams couldn’t have done a better job limiting one of the best players in the league in Alvin Kamara. Kamara had 13 rushes for 45 yards for a paltry 3.5 yards-per-carry, as well as one reception on three targets for 15 yards. The duo of Cory Littleton and rookie Taylor Rapp were fantastic, particularly the latter as he drew a lot of tough assignments, acing them all.

RT Rob Havenstein versus EDGE Cameron Jordan

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

Rob Havenstein struggled in this one as Cameron Jordan registered a sack, a tackle-for-loss, and a holding penalty, two of which happened on consecutive snaps. Unfortunately for Jordan, the refs removed what should have been an 87-yard touchdown from a scoop-and-score, though that had nothing to do with Hav. The Rams will really need Havenstein to step up now with right guard Austin Blythe’s injury potentially being serious.

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

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

Michael Thomas actually had a productive stat line as he pulled in 10 receptions for 89 yards on 13 targets, but you wouldn’t know it watching the game. Those catches and yards were some of the emptiest I’ve ever seen, resulting in nothing with majority of them coming in garbage time. The secondary wasn’t really tested, though they did a great job regardless, allowing no breakdowns or big plays.

RB Todd Gurley versus LB Alex Anzalone

Last week’s matchup to watch:

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.

Todd Gurley didn’t have much space to operate in this contest, though his health and knee still looked very positive with no noticeable issues. Gurley had 16 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown in this one, averaging 3.9 yards-per-carry. Gurley also got on the board as a receiver pulling in three receptions, though they only amounted for a measly four yards as they were all checkdowns.