Saints and Rams in tight battle to gain first round playoff bye
November 25, 2017 8:25 AM
by Bob Christ
There are several intriguing story lines entering the meat of the Week 12 NFL schedule, especially the Saints visiting the Rams with both teams in a tight battle to gain a first-round playoff bye. Both also have issues in the secondary.
New Orleans Saints (8-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
Time: 1:25 p.m.
Line: Rams by 2 (53.5)
Facts: In last year’s meeting between a pair of losing squads, the host Saints won 49-21 as a 7.5-point choice as Sean Payton apparently poured it on his ex-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. New Orleans outgained the Rams by 308 yards, the second biggest gap for any team in 2016... Among qualifying rushers, the Saints have two RBs who rank in the top three in yards per carry: Alvin Kamara 6.4; Mark Ingram 5.2... LA is looking good to make the playoffs. Their odds of doing so were +650 in August at Westgate... N.O. is tops with 4.8 yards per rush. LA is tops at 13.4 yards per reception.
Analysis: The Saints have made great strides on defense this year since their 0-2 start when they were skewered by Minnesota’s Sam Bradford and New England’s Tom Brady, leading to an eight-game winning streak. But last week, Kirk Cousins guided the Redskins to 31 points against the Saints and a passer rating of 132.6 – the third QB to surpass 130 against New Orleans this year. No other team has had three such games. And now this week, the Saints will be playing without their top two cornerbacks and facing QB Jared Goff, who’s ranked just behind Cousins. Yes, the Rams are hurting at safety, but Saints QB Drew Brees spends too much time on check-downs.
Forecast: Rams 31, Saints 21