Saints (5-2-0) @ Rams (0-6-0) Edward Jones Dome, Sunday, Oct. 30, 12 pm C.D.T. (Fox)
Once again, the Saints' lethal weapon Offense heads into battle against yet another winless team named after a farm animal (shaky Defense & an injured starting QB included.)
Can it get any better than the 62-7 whooping the Saints dealt the Colts?
Actually, it can potentially. Last week, the Saints scored more points against the hapless Colts than the Rams have scored all season. The Rams rank last in the NFL with a total of 56 points all season (six less than the Saints scored against the Colts.) On paper, the Rams are an even weaker opponent than the Colts on both sides of the scrimmage line. The highly-suspect Ram Defense is the 2nd worst scoring allowing 28.5 points per game.
On Sunday, they'll face a daunting challenge keeping up with the NFL's highest scoring team led by the NFL's passing leader. Drew Brees has thrown 2,477 yds. for the 2nd most TDs in the NFL this season (18.) The Saints' Rushing Offense is 9th overall boosted by 236 yds. last week, their highest total 1990.
Ranked last in the NFL, the Rams' Rushing Defense allowed Cowboy Rookie DeMarco "Who?" Murray to run for the 9th best single game total in NFL history last week (253 yds.) They've given up an average of 183.8 rushing yds--on course to break the 1981 Patriots' record for the NFL's All-Time Worst Rushing Defense (184.4 YPG.)
When asked this week about his team's problems stopping the run, Rams' Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo criticized his team's tackling. "Until they decide they are going to tackle the way it's coached and the way we ask them to do it, it's probably not going to change," he said.
After being sidelined by a broken tibia & torn MCL during the Tampa Bay debacle Oct. 16, Head Coach Sean Payton handed over play-calling to Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael for the Colts bloodbath last Sunday. The Saints met the challenge by setting an NFL record for the largest margin of victory since the AFL and NFL merger in 1970. One of three QBs still on mark to shatter Dan Marino's single-season passing record, Drew Brees completed 31 of 35 passes for 325 yds and five touchdowns.
"That's pretty impressive," Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "We know what they're all about in terms of firepower, so it's a pretty good challenge."
To top it off, although the Rams haven't made it official it looks like Ram QB Sam Bradford won't be under Center for a second straight week due to an ankle injury. Backup A.J. Feeley sputtered last Sunday against Dallas in a 34-7 loss. In his first start since 2007, Feeley threw for 196 yds. and 1 INT. The Rams managed to gain 265 yds. of Total Offense.
After the game, a frustrated Steven Jackson said, "We couldn't get any rhythm and left the defense on the field entirely too long. For whatever reason, this keeps being the same old story."
The Saints will be without the team's leading Rusher Rookie Mark Ingram, who ran for 91 yds on 18 carries last week. Ingram is out this week with a heel injury incurred against the Colts late in the 4th Quarter. At his Friday news conference, Coach Payton said the team will Activate last season's leading Rusher RB Chris Ivory. Ivory has been on the P.U.P. list this season recuperating from a broken left foot last season.
Historically, the Rams lead the series 31-28. The Saints and Rams competed in the NFC West from 1970-2001. In the 2000 season, the Saints beat the Rams 31-28 to win their first Playoff game in team history. In their last meeting a year ago, the Saints beat the Rams 31-13 in '10 in the Superdome. Drew Brees threw for 221 yds., three TDs and two INTS.
Prediction: Look for the Rams to throw the kitchen sink at the Saints. They'll cut the audio to Coach Payton in the booth. They'll steal Drew Brees' Beefy-Mac from the team's hotel's buffet line. They'll push a DB (if they still have an uninjured one) onto OC Pete Carmichael's foot. Nonetheless, there will be pain, oh yes, there will be pain. Saints 31 Rams 3. (Please Note: In response to the Competition Committee's request that the Saints not destroy hope throughout the League, the team will only win by 4 TDs this week as there's only one Andrew Luck to go around in the 2012 Draft.)