Saints News

Keys to the Game: Saints vs. Rams

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Dec 8, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) carries the ball in front of Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis (58) in the first half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

We were more than happy to see that familiar Saints offense last week. Everything just looked right. Marques Colston & Jimmy Graham put on their ‘beast mode’ capes, and Drew Brees did his thing.

As far as this week, let’s just say that the Saints need to get off to a strong start. If you look at each of the six road games the Saints have played in this season, there has never been a clear definitive game where the Saints just dominate from the beginning. In fact, they have only led at halftime once (Bucs 10-7). True, you can make the argument that the Saints are a second half team, much like 2009. However, in the three losses (Patriots, Jets, Seahawks) this season, the Saints have trailed by at least 10 points or greater by halftime.

The Rams defense is 22nd in the league in opponents passing yards, giving up 248.8 yards/game. Their run defense is better, but a middle of the road 14th in the league for rushing yards, giving up 108.8 yards/game. The Saints haven’t exactly produced in the run game since thrashing Dallas. I honestly think this is a game that you won’t see much change.

The Rams defense gave up only 3.3 yards per carry to the Cardinals last week on 32 carries (107 yards), but before that they limited the 49ers to 83 rushing yards, and the Bears to 80 rushing yards. If the Saints can dictate the tempo & time of possession early, you may see the tired Rams defense yield just a bit, but I still like this to be a pass heavy affair.

What to Watch For: How the Saints solve for Chris Long. In the last meeting, Brees was sacked six times. Chris Long had three of those. Who was blocking him? Charles Brown. He started for Zach Strief in that game, and the then second year tackle was blown up all day, and then landed on injured reserve for the rest of the season after getting hurt. We like the more seasoned Charles Brown, but can’t ignore the fact the Saints road history, especially at the Rams.