This Sunday the 8-0 Rams travel to New Orleans to battle the 6-1 Saints. After a nail biter victory over the Packers, the Rams face their toughest challenge yet. The Saints are on a six game winning streak and are the first team all season to open up as the Vegas favorite over the Rams. In order for the Rams to continue their winning ways and stay undefeated, they will need to accomplish these five tasks on Sunday.
1. Take the crowd out of the game
Year after year the Superdome has proved to be one of the hardest stadiums to play in and Sunday will be no exception. The environment will be similar to a hornets nest and the fans will be loud and rowdy as they know the implications of this football game. A win this week could be the determining factor for home field advantage in the NFC.
The best way to quiet the crowd is a big play on offense. Sean McVay is an offensive mastermind and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he calls a deep shot to Brandin Cooks or Robert Woods at the start of the game. An early long touchdown could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Rams.
2. Limit Alvin Kamara
Last year, Alvin Kamara torched the Rams defense for 188 total yards and two touchdowns. He had a 74 yard touchdown run and was a pain for the Rams defense to deal with all game. Kamara is an elusive back who is incredible at avoiding contact and finding open space. In order for the Rams to contain Kamara they will need to keep him inside the tackle box and limit the missed tackles. Athletic linebackers Cory Littleton and Mark Barron will have to put extra focus on Kamara and make it their goal to not allow him to get into open space.
3. Attack Drew Brees
Earlier this week the Rams acquired edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fowler is a former first round pick who joins an already loaded defensive line that includes Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, and Michael Brockers. This week they are up against the Saints offensive line that has only allowed 9 sacks on Brees all season. In order for the Rams defense to be successful, they cannot allow Brees to have time in the pocket. Drew Brees rarely makes mistakes and only has a single interception on the season. The best way for the Rams to change that is to send blitzes and pressure Brees on as many plays as they can. An Aaron Donald strip sack would be nice too.
4. Expose the Saints pass defense
The Saints are currently the 5th worst passing defense in the NFL allowing an even 300 yards a game. Lead by Jared Goff the Rams have the 7th best passing offense and will need to expose this mismatch. Luckily for the Rams, star wide receiver Cooper Kupp will rejoin the team this weekend. Kupp, Woods, and Cooks will once again form a three headed monster that hasn’t been stopped by any team all year. With Woods and Cooks on the outside and Kupp in the slot, Goff will have all weapons at his disposable to shred the less than stellar Saints pass defense.
5. Feed Todd Gurley
This is quite obvious. Todd Gurley is the best running back in the NFL and has proved so week after week. Through eight weeks he has an absurd 1,151 total yards and 15 touchdowns and hasn’t been slowed down by any defense he’s faced. Gurley is the definition of a workhorse back and has touched the ball an average of 25 times a game this year.
The Saints have the number one ranked run defense in the NFL allowing only 74.1 yards per game but Gurley will look to change that. The best part about having Gurley is he can attack a defense in so many ways. Not only does he lead the league with 800 yards rushing but he can attack defenses as a receiver as well. Just give Gurley the ball and let him do what he does best. It’s that simple.
If the Rams are able to accomplish these 5 tasks on Sunday then they will be on their way to another victory and will control their own destiny to have home field advantage throughout the postseason.
Photo: Yahoo Sports