Saints March Into L.A.

NFC Game Of The Week

New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams

Saints: Eight wins in a row and counting. This is their longest winning streak since 2009 when they won 13 in a row and they would eventually go on to win the Super Bowl that year against the Indianapolis Colts. When I watch these 2017 Saints, I see some resemblance to the 2009 team. How so may you ask? Just like the title team, they run the football this year and they can control the clock and the line of scrimmage as well as any other team in the NFL today. They have quite the tandem to run the football in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara and everybody has been looking to give the duo a nickname. I refer to them as “Slick and Quick”. Mark is slick and he’s a short and stocky guy, but he’s slick enough on his feet to get through the tackles and make people miss in the open field, then, you have Alvin who’s quick once the football is in his hands. He can run inside, bounce outside and he catches the football out the backfield. He’s their new Reggie Bush mixed with a bit of Darren Sproles. I’ve been so impressed with their defense this year with the ability to hold leads and close games out because this was definitely an issue for them in the last four years or so. The offense would get a lead, the defense would then give it up. Finally, this team has some balance in all phases of the game. Their game against the Redskins was a nice wake-up call because they did struggle in the first half and if you look at them during this winning streak, they haven’t really been tested much. With the win on Sunday, they will clinch their first winning season since 2013.

Rams: They have been one of the great stories of this NFL season. With having the youngest head coach in the league, not many knew what to expect from the Los Angeles Rams, but here they are at 7-3 and in first place in the NFC West, a division that has been dominated by the Seattle Seahawks pretty much since Pete Carroll was hired as the team’s head coach. Last week, the Rams did show that they were human after all against the Minnesota Vikings and they just couldn’t get anything going at all as a team. Their offense, which has ranked at the top of the ranks averaging 32 points a game was held to seven points against one of the best all-around defenses in the Vikings and Todd Gurley was shut down right away both as a runner and a receiver catching the football out of the backfield and Jared Goff was forced to take the game into his own hands. As good as Goff has been this year, the one thing that truly affects him as a quarterback has been pressure and throwing the ball once it’s in his face and he has the time to get better, let’s not forget that he’s a young quarterback who is treading in the right direction and he will get better as the years come along. The Rams are still in a good position right now and they look to be the favorites to win the division this year with Seattle battling injuries and with the loss on Monday night to Atlanta for the Seahawks, the Rams still sit in first place. This next month will tell us much more about the Rams as they have a tough schedule and this stretch begins on Sunday with one of the hottest teams in the league coming to town.

Saints Player To Watch: Sheldon Rankins– The big guy in the middle of the defensive line! He’s six-foot-two, 305 pounds and he’s become the Saints best-run stopper on defense. This will be a challenge facing one of the best in Todd Gurley on Sunday.

Rams Player To Watch: Tyler Highbee– The Saints corners have been great all year. Outside of Robert Woods, this has been one of Goff’s go-to receivers. This is exactly what tight ends are for, to create those mismatches across the board, they’re great threats in the red zone and nobody will stop them.

Final Analysis: This has the chance to be a good one. The Saints know they can’t get off to a slow start like they did last week or else they will be in trouble. It’s key they bring the aggression early on and really apply the pressure on Jared Goff, make him work early on. For the Rams, the key will be to put last week behind you and take care of the football when facing this opportunistic defense.

Prediction: Saints 34 Rams 28