5 Reasons Why The Saints Will Win/Lose On Sunday
The New Orleans Saints return to action this Sunday, and it’s time to take a look at five reasons why they will win, and five reasons why they will lose.
The Saints, who are currently 4-6 on the year, will be home to take on the Los Angeles Rams, who will also enter the contest at 4-6, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.
Kickoff time is scheduled for noon.
5 Reasons The Saints Will Win:
1)—Drew Brees: Brees leads the NFL in passing yards-per-game, averaging 328.0, and is coming off a game against the Carolina Panthers in which he threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Sure, Los Angeles has a top ten defense, but then again, they have to face is Brees. He’s having his best season since 2011, and will likely play at a high level on Sunday.
2)—Los Angeles Rush Defense: The Rams, as good as their defense is, are allowing 103.1 rushing yards-per-game, which only 18th ranks 18th in the NFL. By comparison, the Saints are allowing 102.1. Some might be surprised to hear it, but the Los Angeles rush defense has been susceptible, at times, this season, allowing 77 rush yards to Jay Ajayi last week, 98 rush yards to Matt Forte a couple of weeks ago, and 150 yards to LeSean McCoy in week five. The Saints aren't likely to rush for 150 yards, but they are likely to be able to run the football just enough to not allow the Rams to worry solely about the pass. When teams are able to run the ball at the Rams, they've been at least semi-successful. When the haven't been able to run, it's been a long day.
3)—Jared Goff: The rookie may be good one day, but probably not today. In his NFL debut last week against Miami, Goff completed 17-of-31 passes for 134 yards. They're not going to ask him to do a lot, but quite frankly, he's not capable of doing a lot right now, especially wit the lack of play-makers for the Rams.
4)—Lack Of Offensive Firepower For Rams: The Saints are averaging 28.5 points-per-game, which ranks fourth in the NFL, while the Rams are last, averaging about 15 points-per-game. Last Sunday, Los Angeles only scored 10 points against the Dolphins. The Saints have a future Hall of Fame quarter, along with a big play receiving group, while the Rams have a rookie quarterback, with not a lot of receiving help for him to throw to. If the Saints score a least 20 points, something they've done in all but one game this year, they have a good chance to win.
5)—Saint Are Getting Healthier: Sheldon Rankins, who missed the first 8 games of the year, has been impressive in his first two games, while Delvin Breaux, who missed 7 games earlier in the season, before being inactive last week against the Panthers, should be back. Yeah, the Saints are still hobbling, and the status of running back Mark Ingram, who was put into the NFL's concussion protocol following a big hit against the Panthers, along with and offensive tackle Terron Armstead, are still uncertain, but having your first round draft choice, along with your top cover cornerback available for what we hope are the final 6 games of the season is certainly a plus.
5 Reason the Saints Won’t Win:
1)—Kenny Vaccaro: He’s facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. In Vaccaro’s case, the drug in question is Adderall. Vaccaro has been really good this year, compiling 58 total tackles, second most on the team, to go along with one sack and interception. If he's unable to play, it will unquestionably be a blow to the Saints, for this week, as well as the next three.
2)—Chances Are The Game Will Come Down To One Play: Okay, New Orleans has played 10 games so far this season, and 8 have been decided by 6 points or less. The Saints are good enough to hang in there with almost anybody, but not good enough to blow out most teams. Chances are, this game is going to come down to a couple of plays, and if that happens, anything can happen. It's excruciating at times this year to be a Saints fan, what with all the close games, and losses, but don't expect it to change.
3)—Todd Gurley: Yeah, his stats aren't what a lot of people projected them to be at the beginning of the year, but he’s still an outstanding running back, capable of carrying the Rams to victory on his own. Part of the problem is that Gurley has really been all on his own. The Rams haven't done enough with their passing attack to keep defenses honest, and Gurley's stats have suffered because of it. The other problem is that he's been banged up, suffering from a thigh injury this season. He's averaging just slightly more than 3.0 yards-per-carry, and he's not had one single 100-yard rushing game yet this year. He's just way better than that. He's way overdue for a big game. Let's just hope it doesn't come on Sunday.
4)—Rams Defense: They're allowing less than 20 points-per-game, and have an outstanding front seven, led by defensive tackle Michael Brockers, defensive end Robert Quinn, and linebacker Mark Barron. The Rams don't get to the quarterback a whole lot, nor do they force a lot of turnovers. What they do well is not allow the big play, play smart, and tighten up in the red zone.
5)—Special Teams: This one isn’t hard to figure out; the Saints rank 31st (16.3) in terms of yards-per-kickoff return, while allowing the 9th-most in the league (23.9). The Saints have been bad on special teams all year, and have arguably lost three games this season, including the last two, specifically due to special teams. Sunday's game will like be close, and special teams could be the difference. If it is, the Saints could be in trouble.