The St. Louis Rams (5-8) will prepare to face an old NFC West rival in the New Orleans Saints (10-3). This matchup looks like an easy win for the Saints, but it might be a tighter game then most expect.
This rivalry goes back to the days where the Saints and Rams played in the old NFC West prior to 2002. In fact the Rams have a winning record against the Saints going (39-31) in those matchups. These teams like to keep games close regardless of records. In the last six games they are dead even winning three games a piece with the Rams winning the last match back in 2011 (31-21).
Fast forward two years later and the Saints are once again the favorite to win and the Rams like that 2011 team, have nothing to play for. The Saints are a team who has struggled on the road this season as all of their losses were at an opponent’s stadium. For the most part the Rams have kept games close against tough opponents when playing at the Edward Jones Dome.
The St. Louis Rams keys to victory will be mainly on rookie running back Zac Stacy. Since being plugged into the starting lineup, the rookie has allowed the offense to run more effectively. Stacy is currently 279-yards short of reaching 1,000-yards for the season. His downhill running attack and small frame allows him to get behind his offensive line and pick up good yardage. Even when the defense does get to him, Stacy continues to move his feet and pick up an extra yard or two.
Last week Stacy struggled only rushing for 25-yards against the Arizona Cardinals defense, but this week he is going up against the New Orleans Saints 21st ranked rush defense. Prior to last week’s performance, in the four games prior he was averaging 87-yards and one touchdown score per game. He is going to need to do a lot more then that, possibly have the biggest game of his young career to help the St. Louis Rams grab the W.
For the Rams, their biggest problem on defense is going to be tight end Jimmy Graham. The young tight end leads the Saints in receptions (74), receiving yards (1,046), and touchdowns (14). He has quickly risen to one of the leagues most skilled tight ends and causes a nightmare for opponents defense. The Rams secondary is a talented bunch, but is still a couple years away from becoming a threat. The Rams will have to heavily rely on their front four pass rush in order to have their linebackers drop back and help in coverage.
In the end, this will be one road game the Saints do not struggle on. They have to many weapons on offenses for the Rams defense to try and stop. In addition the Rams offense is limping. It is still not known if rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin will suit up, but even if he did the Rams receiver will not be as explosive as he has an injured ankle. Saints win this one big.