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Our offense vs their defense: Los Angeles Rams

The Saints offense had a nice day against the Giants, but can they maintain it?

New York Giants v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints just took down the New York Giants 24-6 to get back to .500 on the season. The Saints will have a short week and will travel to Los Angeles to face off with the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night.

The Saints offense had possibly their best game of the season. Derek Carr completed 23 of his 28 passes for 218 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. This was Carr’s first three touchdown game as a member of the Saints, and he’s going to look to keep that momentum up on Thursday night, though it won’t be easy.

The Rams defense ranks 19th in the NFL, allowing 22.3 points per game, which is .4 less than the Saints offense averages (21.9). They’re obviously led by Aaron Donald, but have gotten some nice contributions from some lesser known players such as Kobi Turner and Ahkello Witherspoon.

In the pass game, the Rams rank 21st in the NFL, giving up 226 yards through the air per game. As I just talked about, Akhello Witherspoon is their leader in the secondary. He’s allowed just 46.7% of passes thrown his way to be caught for 447 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. If Chris Olave goes, Witherspoon is likely to follow him around for most of the game.

While Witherspoon is their leader in the secondary, Derion Kendrick is the Rams highest graded coverage corner with a 70.4 coverage grade. He’s allowed 413 yards and two touchdowns on 57 targets, but he’s recorded five pass breakups and one interception. He’ll likely be the one to follow Rashid Shaheed when the Rams are in man coverage.

Where the Rams defense really excels is the run game. Led by Donald and Turner, the Rams are allowing 113 rush yards per game, but in their last three that number has dropped to 99.

The Saints have continued to struggle in the run game, averaging just over 100 yards per game, but they rank 27th in yards per carry with a 3.7 average. Running up the middle is going to be tough with Turner and Donald inside, so outside runs and the Taysom Hill package will have to succeed if they want to get anything going on the ground.

The Rams have had a surprisingly lackluster pass rush, getting opposing quarterbacks on the ground just 2.2 times per game. While the Saints offensive line was bad early in the year, they’ve somehow made their way to 8th in the league in sacks allowed per game, ironically allowing 2.2 sacks per game. With Donald and Turner both tied for first on the team with seven sacks apiece, once again the interior of this offensive line needs to at least play a solid game.

While the Rams defensive numbers are middle of the pack, they’re 11th in the league in red zone touchdown percentage allowed at 51.28%. On the flip side, the Saints are right at 50% in the red zone this season, but over their last three games, that number has jumped to an astonishing 90% (maybe they need to keep putting Jimmy Graham in when they get inside the 20).

If this Saints offense can continue to play like they have the last two weeks, they should be fine, but the question is, can they sustain it?

That question has been asked many times this year and the answer has pretty much always been no. It seems like on a short week, traveling across the country, this is as good a week as any for the offense to falter.

We won’t know what’ll happen until the game on Thursday, but I’ll remain cautiously optimistic about this offense heading into Thursday’s showdown.

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