New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams Pick –
New Orleans Saints (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Rams (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, September 15, 4:25 PM EST
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Point Spread: NO + 2.5 / LAR -2.5 (GTBets)
Over/Under Total: 53
Sean Payton brings his Saints to the City of Angels for one of the marquee match-ups of week 2. This game will be a rematch of the NFC Championship game that saw the Rams squeak into the Super Bowl with the aid of a “non-pass interference” call late in the 4th quarter. It’s also a rematch from last November when the two teams combined for 80 points with New Orleans coming out on top in one of best games of 2018. But that is all in the past, and this week 5Dimes has the Rams 2½ point favorites and set the game total at 53½. The play is to take the points and Saints. Here are three reasons.
Drew Brees Will Be the Difference
This match will be a show of the two best offenses in the NFC, and both offenses will move the ball and score points. The teams combined for 970 yards in November before a more conservative approach in the playoffs. Brees has been playing in big games for a long time will be ready for this challenge. Brees has a legitimate threat at tight end for the first time since Jimmy Graham left town in Jared Cook, which gives Brees a third weapon to call on besides Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Thomas remains the go-to guy for Brees, but the Rams made a concentrated effort to stop him in the playoffs last year, and Brees didn’t have another reliable option outside of Kamara. Kamara will be all the Rams can handle. Last week Christian McCaffrey lit up the Ram stop unit for 209 yards and almost averaged 7 yards per carry. Kamara was as good as ever on Monday night racking up 169 total yards. It’s hard to imagine Kamara not torching the Ram defense.
LA’s defense got off to a little bit of a rocky start last week in Carolina, allowing 27 points and 5.4 yards per play. Cam completed 65% of his passes and was sacked three times, though the Rams did not allow any big plays in the passing game. The troubling stat for the Ram defense was that the Panthers scored touchdowns on all 3 of their trips to the red zone. LA’s defense couldn’t shut the door when they needed to keep points off the board. Brees and the Saints offense are much more efficient attack than the Panthers. Sean Payton will have red zone, and short-yardage plays available for key times in the game that will put touchdowns on the board rather than field goals. Brees will make the big play at money time and should tilt the scale in the game.
New Orleans Defense Will Be the Difference
Jared Goff and company put up 31 points in Carolina on Sunday. All of the off-season concerns about Todd Gurley’s arthritic knee were put to rest at least for a week when he picked up 97 yards on 14 carries and four more on his lone reception though he shared the backfield duties more than he ever has when healthy. Malcom Brown joined the backfield committee rushing for 53 yards and scoring twice. The passing game, however, was not as crisp. Goff completed less than 60% of his passes for about 4.5 yards per attempt. Goff was only sacked once and should face more pressure this week from a Saints front that was 6th in sacks last year and was continually harassing Deshaun Watson on Monday night resulting in 6 sacks. New Orleans allowed the Texans running backs140 rushing yards, so Gurley and Brown can expect to have some success against the Saints, but the Saints run D should be better this week. Goff is evolving into a top-shelf quarterback, but he still is not in Brees’ league when it comes to crunch time performances. I don’t expect we will get that clutch performance this week.
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Revenge and the Football Gods Will be on Saints’ Side this Week
It is a rare case in professional sports when all sides agree that one call by an official impacted the winner of a game, but that happened when these teams met in January. It is also rare when teams continue to talk about a game they felt was ‘taken’ from them, but the Saints and Payton are still there. Winning the 2019 week two game will not make up for a lost trip to the Super Bowl, but the Saints will treat it like the only option they have to show that they should have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl. New Orleans will be all in, and laser-focused for this game. The Saints won a last-second thriller on Monday which would typically set up a team for a let-down, but that won’t be the case this week. Payton will tell his team all week that they have to prove to the world they are the better team, and I look for the team to respond. With this being a road game we could look for the home field to make a difference, but the Rams home field is pretty weak, so the LA crowd will not be able to take the Saints out of the game. You can bet the Saints have been looking forward to this game since the schedule was released, and they will bring their “A” game.
Saints at Rams Prediction Week 2
Play the Saints to cover the 2.5 points and have an excellent chance to win the game. This strikes me like a freight train at full steam, get on the Saints or get out of the way. I also like the over in this game. LA and Carolina scored 57, and these two teams scored 80 in the regular season last year. 53 should be easily attainable.