~~New Orleans (10-3) at St. Louis Rams (5-8)
Sunday, December 15…3:25pm / Kickoff WWL 870AM/FM 105.3
Last week’s results: New Orleans beat Carolina 31-13 / Arizona beat St. Louis 30-10
Series History: St. Louis leads the series 39-31
What they are saying:
St. Louis Coach Jeff Fisher on the Saints running game:
“They do what they need to do to win ball games. If they feel like they need to run it, they are certainly equipped to run it. This is a very well-coached offense, offensive line, tight ends… everybody understands the run game. But when you have Drew (Brees) and the weapons outside, you can push the ball down the field and make first downs. They can do whatever they want to do.”
Rams DE Chris Long on the challenge of putting pressure on Drew Brees:
“Well, Drew (Brees) does a good job of moving in the pocket. He might not be the fastest guy in the world, but he has adequate speed. What he has is a really good understanding of just trying to move a little more subtlety in the pocket, not looking to run, but to avoid the rush. Their offensive line is good. They are really solid and they play the run as well as they do the pass. That is going to be a big challenge and I know their guards get a lot of praise, but their tackles I think do a pretty good job too. Charles (Brown) has done a nice job stepping in at that left side and my guy has been there a while. (Zach) Strief has been there a while. I can remember watching tape of him throughout my career, but I haven’t played him yet or maybe I played him in 2010. It seems like a half a decade ago, which it almost was. He has been there forever. They are a good group and when you have a quarterback like that, it makes everyone around you better.”
Saints QB Drew Brees’s response when asked if this week’s game is a trap game:
“No, I don’t. This is a very good football team we are about to play, especially over the last six weeks and I know they’re coming off a tough loss at Arizona. I know they’re well-coached and they’re going to be ready to play us based upon the track record there and what’s on stake.”
Saints Coach Sean Payton on the play of OLB Junior Gallette:
“He’s obviously come a long way. He was a free agent we looked closely at. We saw speed and athleticism in the player. To his credit, he came into a real good locker room and really made this his number one priority. That sounds like a given, but where he’s at now is because he had a vision and he worked extremely hard to put himself in that position. I think that each year he has gotten better. He’s extremely focused on his position and on his job.”
The Big Chief’s Final Analysis:
Well folks, this looks like a game the Saints should win. With that said, New Orleans has been at St. Louis before in the same situation and come away disappointed. The Saints control their own fate in the NFC South and as far as the #2 seed in the NFC is concerned.
Keys to the game:
1. Don’t let them have control. St. Louis’ QB play hasn’t been good. That’s why the Rams give the ball to promising young rookie RB Zac Stacy. Stacy has rushed for 721 yards this season. The Saints can’t let the Rams dictate the pace of this game. The longer the Rams stick around the better chance they have to win.
2. Get after their QB! The Saints took down Carolina QB Cam Newton five times last week in a 31-13 win over the Panthers. Rams QB Kellen Clemens is far less mobile. With the strong play of Cam Jordan and Junior Gallette, the Saints could really make things even more difficult on one of the worst passing offenses (205.7 per game) in the NFL.
3. Protect the football. The Rams don’t have a lot to brag about, but their defense isn’t bad. And currently the Rams are 7th best in the NFL in the turnover margin. St. Louis is (+7). If the Saints don’t turn the ball, the Rams can’t win.
4. Third and longer. The Rams are flat out bad when it comes to converting on third down. St. Louis ranks 30th out of 32 NFL teams. The longer the distance, the more challenging the Saints defense can make it on an already challenged Rams offense!
5. Just win baby! Hey, this ain’t no beauty contest. It’s a football game! It does not matter how or by how much…the Saints just need to win. Bottom line…WIN!
The Big Chief says – The Saints just need to win two of their last three games to lock up the NFC South and the number 2 seed. After this game, that magic number will be one. Take the Saints and give up the 5 ½ points. New Orleans 27 St. Louis 16.