A pair of undefeated teams will face-off Sunday in the late afternoon in what could very well be an early preview of the NFC Championship match.
Sean Payton will take his New Orleans Saints into Los Angeles to do battle with the L.A. Rams. The Saints are surely still bitter over how their playoff drive ended last January, and will look to avenge both their past losses and botched calls this season. Week 2 vs. the Rams represents a big opportunity in that quest.
Last week both squads escaped with narrow victories, though both the Rams and Saints admittedly know they can be better. Were both teams looking ahead to this marquee showdown? While no side will admit that, this is already a crucial all-NFC clash for playoff positioning and potential home-field advantage come the new year.
While many pundits predicted regression to set in for both of these impressive sides, there’s no denying the wealth of talent and explosiveness on either side of the football. For that reason alone, this match should be can’t-miss television. Continue reading on below the odds for further analysis, and a betting pick as you prepare for the Sunday nighter. Enjoy this one, folks!
Rams vs. Saints Betting Odds:
New Orleans Saints +2 (-110)
@ Los Angeles Rams -2 (-110)
Over 52 (-110)
Under 52 (-110)
Rams vs. Saints Pick:
Football fans all saw just how bad the Panthers looked in Week 2 in their loss to the Buccaneers, right? Well, this Rams team definitely should have lost last week’s contest to those same Carolina Panthers. The Rams escaped with a victory by a 30-27 scoreline, but it was not pretty. Jared Goff was dreadful with his accuracy and really struggled to pick-up on blitzes and effectively handle the pressure he saw. More concerning in the long-term for Sean McVay’s group is that it seems like the loss of two starting offensive linemen will really be felt. Blocking lanes weren’t easily available, and Goff had little to no time and space on his dropbacks. It won’t get easier this week for the Rams.
New Orleans boasts some talented rushers, as was seen last Monday night when they tracked down the elusive DeShaun Watson of the Texans for six sacks. As a result, this should limit the playbook for the Rams. If they can’t give Goff enough time, expect more of an emphasis on the running game. The only issue with that strategy is that there is still heavy uncertainty surrounding the status of star back Todd Gurley. He clearly is still limited and not getting a full workload, and Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson aren’t talented enough to keep the chains moving on their own.
For all of the Rams talent on offense, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them scuffle a bit in Week 2. On the other side of the ball, the Saints picked up where they left off last season. Despite losing center Max Unger to retirement, the offensive line held up in front of the ageless wonder Drew Brees at quarterback. This week, that group will test itself against Aaron Donald which is no easy feat.
For the Saints to have success when they have the ball, they need to play their usual fast and high-tempo offense and wear the Rams’ defense down. It worked last week against the Houston Texans, and really kept Brees off his back on prolonged drives. Michael Thomas remains a legitimate downfield threat, but if Brees feels quick pressure – he’s lucky to have the explosive Alvin Kamara at his disposal.
Expect Kamara to be a difference maker in this clash. His legs are fast, and he can do it via hand-offs or short dump passes, and both should be able to keep the chains moving against the Rams as nobody can effectively cover him. The Rams looked dreadful last week in trying to track Christian McAffrey, and the similarly-talented Kamara should be in line for a big outing.
The Saints defense is better suited to withstand the Rams offense, and Drew Brees’ high-tempo attack should allow for New Orleans to make enough big plays in this one. And while both of these teams are slightly overvalued relative to the betting market, the Rams have taken a step back and are in line for heavy regression this year. Their narrow win over Carolina in Week 1 looks even worse now, and expect the Saints to exact some early revenge for last year’s NFC Championship debacle.