Let’d be honest, this season has been very disappointing for the reigning Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams. Sitting at 3-6 and at the bottom of the NFC West, there has not been much to be encouraged about through nine games. Nevertheless, there are still a guaranteed eight games to go for the team, and I am sure the team has not completely given up just yet with so much football left.
This Sunday, the Rams will be on the road for their first and only 10 am body clock kickoff of the season, as L.A. will head to New Orleans to take on the Saints in the dome. This will be the first time the Rams have been back in New Orleans since the 2018-2019 NFC Championship game, so the team should expect a wild crowd all game long.
Here are 3 reasons as the Rams will come out victorious, as well as 3 ways they could drop their fourth consecutive game and fall to 3-7.
3 REASONS THE RAMS WILL WIN
1) SAINTS SUBPAR RUN DEFENSE
I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but it is not secret that the Rams have not been able to establish a consistent run attack through nine games. The team is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, which is 31st in the entire NFL.
With that being said, the Saints run defense has not been good this year, as they have given up 1,305 yards on the ground thus far. That yardage total ranks the Saints at 25th out of 32 teams against the run, certainly a weakness of their defense.
With Matthew Stafford projected to make his return to the lineup, the Rams will need to take some pressure off of him by establishing the run early and often. Although they have struggled thus far, this game presents an opportunity to find some success on the ground for L.A.
When the Rams snap their losing streak this Sunday, expect the running game to find it’s groove in New Orleans.
2) PASS RUSH HITS HOME, RACKS UP 3+ SACKS
The New Orleans offense is predicated on getting the ball out quick and into the hands of either Alvin Kamara or Chris Olave. If the Rams want to slow that attack down, they’ll need to get pressure on Saints QB Andy Dalton with a quickness.
The L.A. pass rush was very pedestrian through the first few games, however in four of their last five games they have gotten at least two sacks on the quarterback. That stat is proof that the group is starting to heat up, which bodes well for the team as a whole.
When the Rams win this Sunday, expect the defense to rack up at least three sacks on Andy Dalton.
3) RETURN OF MATTHEW STAFFORD
Last week marked the first time that Rams QB Matthew Stafford has missed a game since joining the team, and his absence was very apparent in the loss against the Cardinals.
Expected to clear concussion protocol, Stafford will return to the starting lineup for the Rams, which (obviously) will help the offense perform better than they did last time we saw them. Even though Stafford will be without his favorite target in Cooper Kupp, getting your starting quarterback back from an injury will always increase your chances to win the game.
When the Rams win this week, expect Matthew Stafford to make his presence felt all game long.
3 REASONS THE RAMS WILL LOSE
1) NO COOPER KUPP = NO OFFENSE
34%. 34% of the Rams offensive yardage this season has been racked up by all-world wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Unfortunately, Kupp suffered a high ankle sprain in the game last week, an injury that required surgery and will sideline him for at least four weeks.
Just like that, 34% of the offensive production is out for at least a month, a nightmare injury for a team that has struggled mightily on the offensive side of the football. Losing Kupp has the potential to make this offense the worst in the entire NFL, which would only lead to more and more losses down the stretch.
If the Rams lose a fourth straight contest, expect the absence of Cooper Kupp to be fatal to what has already been a bad offense.
2) ALVIN KAMARA
Now, the Rams have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, however Saints RB Alvin Kamara is much more than just a back that takes hand-offs. Kamara is one of the best receiving backs in the NFL, and has a history of terrorizing opposing linebackers with his crisp route running out of the backfield.
The Rams linebackers (Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones) are very good run stuffers, but the same cannot be said when it comes to coverage. Bobby Wagner’s age and miles makes it hard for him to stick with guys in coverage, and Ernest Jones is not necessarily known for his coverage skills (although he is very athletic).
If the Rams lose to the Saints, expect Alvin Kamara to have a massive impact en route to a New Orleans victory.
3) OFFENSIVE LINE GETS DESTROYED BY STELLAR SAINTS PASS RUSH
Last week in a 20-10 loss to the Steelers, the Saints racked up a whopping six sacks in the game. Through their ten games they have a total of 28 sacks, which is good for 7th in the league in terms of getting to the quarterback. As many know, the Rams have one of (if not the) worst offensive line’s in the NFL, which does not bode well for a squad whose quarterback is returning from concussion protocol.
If the Rams lose on Sunday, expect the Saints to have their way with what has been one of the worst offensive line groups in the NFL.