By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan // @LucyRK78
The New Orleans Saints are marching into Los Angeles Sunday, for a game fans many Saints fans have been breathlessly awaiting.
The Saints and Los Angeles Rams will meet for the first time since maybe the most controversial playoff games the league has ever seen, with the outcome leading to a change in NFL rules.
Fans are still fired up and even recently, still trying to sue the Rams or Rams players for the Saints losing their chance to go to the Super Bowl.
On Wednesday, Saints quarterback Drew Brees was asked how long it will take him to forget the non-call and the loss it caused.
“Still haven’t, never will,” Brees told reporters. “But when you say, ‘forgotten about,’ you have to find a way to compartmentalize it to the point where you can move on in a positive way. I found a way to do that, but as far as just the events, you live and learn and sometimes things don’t go your way and you’ve got to find a way to come out better on the other side.”
Even if this weren’t a game filled with such deep emotional ties, it would still be a great matchup to watch, and I won’t be surprised if these two teams meet again in the championships. Both have great offenses that carried their games in Week 1. And both the Saints and the Rams have some of the best players in the league on their rosters.
Drew Brees? Elite quarterback, still proving that age “ain’t nothin’ but a number.” The strength he showcases in laser sharp, focused throws downfield are legendary. They also have Alvin Kamara – arguably one of the top 5 running backs in the NFL.
However, I do think the Rams are the better team.
I see the Rams roster as more complete – with top players on both sides of the ball. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is just the player we need to take down Brees, who is very well protected by his team.
As odd as it is for me to write about linebacker Clay Matthews in LA, if he can stay healthy, he has the potential to be the go-to man for putting pressure on the passer. Today he’s on the injury list, so I’m not sure we will see him Sunday, but I’m highly anticipating watching his impact on the Rams.
This past season I was very disappointed with his ability to make the plays he always used to for the Packers. L.A. forced 30 turnovers in 2018, third best in the league, including 18 interceptions. I’d love to see big turnover numbers Sunday.
Los Angeles has my favorite cornerbacks in the NFL: Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Last year, when Peters was outplayed by Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, Talib wasn’t playing. I don’t think there’s any question that the talent of Peters and Talib together is not going to get outplayed this year.
So what will happen? Can LA’s defense hold their own against a New Orleans running offense, one that may be coming with even more fire?
I’m taking the Rams over the Saints, 26-20. Tweet me and tell me who you’re taking @lucyrk78
Tweet Lucy and let her know who’s going to win at // @Lucyrk78