The Los Angeles Rams are on the road this Sunday as they take on the New Orleans Saints in a rematch of the 2018 NFC Championship Game. Both teams enter the game at 3-6 with their seasons hanging on by a thread. A loss by either team all but ends their respective seasons.
A lot has changed since these teams last played in 2018. Jared Goff and Drew Brees are no longer the starting quarterbacks while Dennis Allen is now the head coach in New Orleans. Matthew Stafford should be returning from his concussion while Andy Dalton is hanging on to the Saints starting job.
As it stands, the Rams are 2.5 point underdogs according to Draft Kings with a point total of 39. With both offenses struggling, a lot of points shouldn’t be expected and points will be at a premium. Let’s dig into Rams-Saints!
Rams Offense vs. Saints Defense
Over the last four weeks, the Rams defense has been the worst in the NFL in DVOA.
Over the past four weeks the LA Rams have the worst DVOA (-39.3%) in the NFL. #RamsHouse pic.twitter.com/aX9O2D7kKg— Football Outsiders (@fboutsiders) November 18, 2022
To say the least, the Rams offense hasn’t been very good and that was even before John Wolford started last week. The Saints defense is their strong suit, but they’ve been on a decline this season.
The Saints could win the matchup up front with the Rams’ injuries on the offensive line and create a turnover or two that ends up being a major factor in the game.
Matchup to Watch: Ty Nsekhe vs. Cameron Jordon
Jordan has 5.5 sacks this season, but going up against Nshekhe, the star edge rusher could find some success. The Rams will be entering the game with their 10th starting offensive line combination in 10 games.
It will be crucial for Nshekhe to protect Matthew Stafford’s blind side if the Rams want to find success on offense. This is especially the case as Stafford returns from his concussion.
Rams Defense vs. Saints Offense
The Rams have played a soft “match zone” coverage much of the time throughout the 2022 season with mixed results. The quarterbacks to find success are the ones that don’t mind dinking and dunking downs the field and taking 5-7 yard chunks.
Colt McCoy completed 70 percent of his passes last week and Dalton could find the same success if the Rams allow him to get into a rhythm. Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara are two of the biggest weapons on the Saints offense along with Chris Olave. The Rams have had some troubles tackling in the secondary which could result in big plays for Hill or Kamara.
If the Rams have to bring their cornerbacks up, that opens things up for Olave deep down the field. Olave leads rookie wide receivers in deep targets. The Rams need to be able to pressure Dalton and make him uncomfortable and be ready for the Saints to utilize Hill.
Matchup to Watch: Jalen Ramsey vs. Chris Olave
Olave has arguably been the best rookie wide receiver this season. He should get plenty of looks against Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. This will certainly be a matchup to watch throughout the game to see who gets the upper hand.
Ramsey has been vulnerable at times when attacked vertically and this is where Olave has thrived. If Ramsey is able to shutdown the rookie wide receiver, it could be a long day for the Saints offense.
Both of these teams are in desperation mode sitting at 3-6. Whoever falls to 3-7 will be looking forward to 2023. The difference in this game could be the offensive line. The Rams are starting their 10th combination in 10 games. With communication playing a major factor, that could become difficult in the Super Dome.
The Rams will be without Cooper Kupp for the first time this season. With no Kupp, the Rams offense will be limited. Dalton and the Saints offense could do just enough to get a win.
With the offensive line injuries, it’s tough to see the Rams offense scoring enough points in a hostile environment.
Prediction: Saints 17, Rams 10