Is it bad to laugh at the fact that this may be a first round matchup in the playoffs? The New Orleans Saints versus the NFC West winning St. Louis Rams. Come on, that’s pure comedy! The Sam Bradford led Rams have already equaled the number of games (six) won in the three years P.B., or pre-Bradford. Who would’ve thought? Nobody at ESPN that’s for sure.
This game is not a must-win for the Rams, it’s a must-learn. Steve Spagnuolo should take the entire 60 minute game to size-up the Saints. Learn everything about them. Run things they haven’t seen before, on offense and defense. Confuse, confuse, confuse.
If the Rams are serious about making a run in the playoffs, they’re going to need the Spagnuolo special in order to do so. Remember the defensive game-plan he engineered against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLll? Yeah, just like that.
Eight games are plenty to win the NFC West. That means the Rams just need to win two of their final four, at New Orleans, Kansas City, San Francisco, at Seattle, to reach game No. 17.
In my opinion, there’s no reason to make the playoffs if they are just going to get blown out.
If they’re going to lose to the Saints it should be now, not in January. Winning the West means home-field in the first round. The Rams at home with the Spagnuolo special would be tough to beat.
On a side note, I’d like to take a moment to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.
Keys to the Game:
Be physical with Saints’ receivers
The Rams’ secondary has been burned badly in more than a few games this season. Sure they’ve been decimated by injuries, but is that really an excuse for allowing Troy Smith to put up 356 on you? Believe me, it’s not.
Drew Brees and the Saints have the third ranked passing offense in the NFL, averaging close to 291 yards a game. And Brees isn’t even at his best. He’s thrown 16 picks this year, five more than he threw all of last season and there are still four games to play. The guy is good, but he’ll make mistakes.
Marques Colston, Lance Moore and Robert Meachem have all had their share of drops this season. If the Rams’ secondary can play physical, it’ll go straight to their heads. Speed receivers don’t like contact. They like open-space. I say hit ‘em early and often.
Win the turnover battle
Through 16 games:
Rams: plus five Giveaway/Takeaway
Saints: minus four G/T
The only way the Rams win this game is if they can steal possessions from the Saints. The only way to stop Drew Brees is to take the ball out of his hands.
Chances need to be taken, often.
Stat of the day: New Orleans’ defense ranks first in passing touchdowns against (eight), and somehow they rank last the league in interceptions (seven). Try to make sense of that.
Here’s something you can make sense of–my game plan.
The Saints’ defense is 21st in the league in rushing touchdowns against (11). Seeing as they don’t give up scores in the air, the ground seems the way to go. Get Steven Jackson going early in the game. Establish him as the vehicle for victory. The Saints will struggle to stop him and be forced to put eight in the box. When that happens, bombs away with Bradford.
Next up: Kansas City
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About the Author
Written by Bear Heiser
Hello!!! Thanks for stopping by, I'm Bear Heiser, St. Louis Rams Featured Columnist. Please feel free to comment on anything I write. You can find me on Twitter @ramsreport and @bearconsults. My Rams coverage doesn't stop here. I can also be found covering the Rams on the blog blitz over at NFL.com Still want more Rams???? Rams Featured Columnist at BleacherReport.com Love University of Illinois football? I got you covered. Go to www.prosportsblogging.com , where you'll find me breaking down the Illini, week in and week out. Want more? My personal blog is www.bearconsults.com You can find me covering, Lakers, entertainment and music for ALL CBS Radio websites in Los Angeles. I have been told my passion for sports is an addiction. Now I get paid to be addicted to something I love. Cool right?