Matchup Analysis: New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Saints 25, Rams 28

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

New Orleans Saints Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Saints Offense30.0 (+5.8) (10)148 (+40) (7)362 (+98) (7)
Rams Defense27.0 (+2.8) (20)127 (+19) (24)216 (-47) (12)

Los Angeles Rams Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Rams Offense30.0 (+5.8) (9)166 (+58) (5)183 (-80) (24)
Saints Defense28.0 (+3.8) (22)180 (+72) (30)234 (-29) (13)

Saints Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Rams defense.

Mark Ingram's departure from the New Orleans backfield proved to be impactful in week one, not from an efficiency standpoint, but a personnel standpoint. Alvin Kamara played 61 percent of offensive snaps throughout 2018 when Mark Ingram was active for the New Orleans Saints. In week one of 2019, Alvin Kamara was on the field for 76 percent of New Orleans' offensive snaps. Kamara carried the ball 13 times for 97 yards in the season opener, while backup Latavius Murray carried the ball just 6 times. In 2019, Kamara's role will undoubtedly expand beyond his 2018 involvement in the Saints' offense. New Orleans' offensive line is one of the league's best units, especially at run blocking. In week two and beyond, Alvin Kamara will dominate the carries running behind one of the NFL's best offensive line. This combination of running back and offensive line talent will make New Orleans one of the league's most productive rushing attacks.

Los Angeles struggled defensively to stop the run in week one, as Christian McCaffrey gashed them for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries. Carolina's fullback Alex Armah also contributed a one-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. As expected, Aaron Donald was the Rams' top performer against the run, but the Panthers game planned to stop Donald as they frequently double teamed and ran away from the All-Pro. The Rams' linebackers were surprisingly ineffective in containing Christian McCaffrey in the season opener. Most notably, Cory Littleton, Los Angeles' leading tackler in 2018, was entirely unable to disrupt Carolina's rushing attack last week. The Carolina Panthers nearly mounted a second-half comeback thanks to the success of the team's rushing attack, which is extremely rare in the modern NFL. Los Angeles lost defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to free agency over the summer, and the void he left next to Aaron Donald on the defensive line is evident after just one game. Sebastian Joseph-Day and Michael Brockers failed to rise to the occasion without Suh, allowing McCaffrey to have a field day against this run defense. Unless a defensive lineman other than Aaron Donald steps up in week two, Los Angeles' struggles defending the run will likely continue once again here against New Orleans in week two.

Saints Passing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Rams defense.

New Orleans kickstarted their 2019 campaign with a thrilling 30-28 home victory over the Houston Texans. Quarterback Drew Brees showed no signs of slowing down in his age-40 NFL season, as he turned in another wildly-efficient 370-yard, multi-touchdown performance. Michael Thomas continued to dominate opposing defensive backs with yet another 10-catch and 100-yard performance to open the season. Following an injury-shortened season, Ted Ginn, Jr. re-emerged as Drew Brees' second-favorite wide receiver in the offense by catching all 7 of his targets for 101 yards against Houston. Second-year receiver Tre'Quan Smith was unable to carve out a significant role in the Saints' offense as many had hoped. Smith tallied just two targets in the opener, and slots in firmly as the third option at wide receiver as the pecking order currently sits. Running back Alvin Kamara proved to be an elite receiving option for the position in week one with 7 catches for 72 yards on 8 targets. Kamara registered the second-most targets on the team in 2018, and he will undoubtedly continue to make an impact there this season. New Orleans' notably strong offensive line stifled the Houston Texans' pass rush in the season opener. A clean pocket is critical to success for any aerial attack, and the New Orleans Saints excel at protecting franchise quarterback Drew Brees. Expect the Saints to continue to give opposing secondaries fits throughout the season in 2019.

The Los Angeles Rams turned in a fantastic defensive performance on the road in week one. The Rams held Cam Newton and the Panthers to just 239 passing yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception on the day. Christian McCaffrey finished the day as Carolina's leading receiver out of the backfield while D.J. Moore led the receivers with 76 receiving yards on 10 targets. The Rams' defense dominated on all three levels, as the defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs each contributed heavily. On the defensive line, Dante Fowler, Jr. turned in one of the most impressive performances of his career with 6 pressures and 2 sacks on Newton to open the season. Aaron Donald, unsurprisingly, dominated on the interior as well with three pressures of his own. At linebacker, both Cory Littleton and Bryce Hager defended the pass exceptionally well, with the former intercepting Cam Newton late in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory. Finally, in the secondary, the addition of All-Pro safety Eric Weddle paid dividends early thanks to an expectedly-strong performance at the back-end of this defense to go along with Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters who looks to rebound from a rough 2018. The Rams' defense is as talented as any at all three levels, and they will surely give offenses fits all season long.

Rams Rushing offense

Good matchup vs. the Saints defense.

After barely playing down the stretch in 2018, Todd Gurley opened the 2019 season by playing 71 percent of offensive snaps for the Los Angeles Rams. Throughout week one against the Carolina Panthers, Gurley carried the ball 14 times for 97 yards. Gurley's involvement in the offense increased from the levels he stooped to late in 2018, but still, do not quite match his early-2018 numbers. Gurley's backup, Malcolm Brown, also carried the ball 11 times in the season opener, including 2 carries inside the 5-yard line, which he converted into touchdowns. The Rams' offensive line has undoubtedly regressed since last season following critical departures on the interior of the unit in Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan. The tackles remain two of the best in the NFL in Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein who will be relied upon to anchor the offensive line to continue to drive this rushing attack forward.

In week one, the New Orleans Saints allowed the Houston Texans to run for 7.8 yards-per-carry, the 2nd-worst mark in the entire NFL. To add insult to injury, the running back that primarily did the damage was Carlos Hyde, a man most had thought was washed up after fizzling out in Cleveland, Jacksonville, and Kansas City over the last 12 months. Hyde carried the ball 10 times for 83 yards on the night himself, while Duke Johnson contributed with 57 yards on just 9 carries. Coming off a season in which the New Orleans run defense ranked second in the NFL in yards-per-carry allowed, this type of performance was stunning. All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan turned in the only notably-strong performance of the week in run-support. Behind him, however, there was little cause for optimism. Starting linebacker Demario Davis turned in his worst run-stopping performance since joining the New Orleans Saints. Also, Von Bell finished the 2018 season as one of the league's best safeties in run support. This performance was undeniably critical to New Orleans' success defending the run, and he, too, played one of his worst games in run support in recent memory. Following such a strong season, overreacting to one single game of weak run defense would be a critical error in evaluating this matchup. Expect New Orleans' run defense to correct itself shortly and return to form as one of the league's best units.

Rams Passing offense

Neutral matchup vs. the Saints defense.

Following a disappointing display in Super Bowl 53, head coach Sean McVay got the Rams' offense back on track in the 2019 season opener. Los Angeles posted 30 points on the road against the Carolina Panthers' expectedly-strong defense. One notable difference between the offense that posted a meager 3 points in the Super Bowl and the attack that lit up the scoreboard for 30 points to start 2019 was the reintroduction of Cooper Kupp to the receiving corps. Kupp tore his ACL midway through the 2018 season, which ultimately eroded the passing game's efficiency. Since the start of the 2018 season, quarterback Jared Goff has averaged 9.11 yards-per-attempt in games Cooper Kupp played, as opposed to a pedestrian 7.32 yards-per-attempt in games without Kupp. Los Angeles' week one passing numbers were underwhelming, in large part due to the conservative play-calling after the team opened up a 16-3 lead early in the 3rd quarter. Jared Goff only passed for just 183 yards on mostly-unadventurous attempts. The return of Cooper Kupp also positively impacts other wide receivers in this offense, as both Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks post more impressive numbers when Kupp is active. The tight ends in Los Angeles' offense are capable but unreliable: Tyler Higbee caught a touchdown in the season opener, suitable for half of his total from the entire 2018 season. The Rams' offensive line is in a period of transition, following the departure of two starters from last season. This turnover is cause for concern, as these new starters Brian Allen and Joseph Noteboom are clear weak links in the trenches. Sean McVay's schematic genius will likely overcome the ineptitude up front for the Rams, and overall Los Angeles is expected to have one of the league's strongest passing attacks once again in 2019.

New Orleans outscored Houston in a thrilling 30-28 shootout at home in week one. Deshaun Watson finished the game with 268 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. This strong stat line is in large part thanks to the mind-boggling talent of DeAndre Hopkins, as well as an ultra-impressive 54-yard reception by Will Fuller. As a whole, New Orleans' pass defense was strong aside from a few chunk plays. One notable strength of the defense was their ability to get pressure on Watson throughout the game. The Saints registered 6 sacks and 11 hits on the quarterback in week one, good enough for 1st and 2nd in the NFL, respectively. Behind the intense pass rush, New Orleans sports a strong group of pass defenders. Marshon Lattimore has established himself as one of the NFL's best cornerbacks over the last season, and week one was no different. At safety, Marcus Williams shined in week one following a sophomore slump in coverage duties. A matchup with Los Angeles offers little reprieve following a tough battle with Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, but the Saints' performance against the pass in week one does little to indicate they are a team that will struggle to defend the pass in 2019.

Rams vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)1 (-11.8)1 (-11.8)1 (-13.1)1 (-13.6)
1Cam Newton672538239013-2010.810.86.47.4

Drew Brees (FanDuel: $8000, DraftKings: $6200)

1vs HOU6632433702100025.525.521.824.8
2PROJ-Dodds24322731.60.612019.719.719.7 (H=43)19.7 (H=56)
2PROJ-Tremblay22332461.40.8120.117.917.917.9 (H=36)17.9 (H=47)
2PROJ-Bloom21292421.60.511018.118.118.1 (H=37)18.1 (H=48)

Taysom Hill (FanDuel: $6000, DraftKings: $4200)

1vs HOU15000002807.
2PROJ-Dodds128002100.1222.0 (H=1)2.0 (H=1)
2PROJ-Tremblay00300290111.0 (H=0)1.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom1190.10280. (H=1)2.3 (H=2)

Rams vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+20.3)32 (+24.8)32 (+22.5)32 (+27.2)
1Christian McCaffrey67191282111081032.942.937.945.9
1Alex Armah1211100006.

Alvin Kamara (FanDuel: $8700, DraftKings: $8200)

1vs HOU501397087.072016.923.920.423.9
2PROJ-Dodds13640.65.3480.316.621.919.3 (H=38)21.9 (H=51)
2PROJ-Tremblay17790.85.0410.2182320.5 (H=43)23.0 (H=55)
2PROJ-Bloom12610.65.0510.417.222.219.7 (H=40)22.2 (H=52)

Latavius Murray (FanDuel: $5900, DraftKings: $3700)

1vs HOU18643132.04010.712.711.712.7
2PROJ-Dodds10420.31.510078.57.8 (H=11)8.5 (H=22)
2PROJ-Tremblay8350.21.91406.187.1 (H=10)8.0 (H=19)
2PROJ-Bloom12510.61.0609.310.39.8 (H=17)10.3 (H=30)

Zach Line (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

1vs HOU1000000.000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds0000.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Tremblay0000.000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Rams vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)3 (-14.3)7 (-16.7)2 (-17.3)6 (-19.4)
1D.J. Moore631077600007.614.69.113.6
1Curtis Samuel62433200003.

Michael Thomas (FanDuel: $8500, DraftKings: $8000)

1vs HOU591310.0123000012.322.317.325.3
2PROJ-Dodds7.3840.500011.418.715.0 (H=25)18.7 (H=39)
2PROJ-Tremblay7.4880.500011.819.215.5 (H=27)19.2 (H=41)
2PROJ-Bloom7.0790.500010.917.914.4 (H=23)17.9 (H=36)

Ted Ginn (FanDuel: $5000, DraftKings: $4000)

1vs HOU4977.0101000010.117.113.620.1
2PROJ-Dodds2.9390.20005.186.6 (H=10)8.0 (H=18)
2PROJ-Tremblay3.3440.30006.29.57.9 (H=14)9.5 (H=24)
2PROJ-Bloom4.0540.30007.211.29.2 (H=18)11.2 (H=32)

TreQuan Smith (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $3700)

1vs HOU4222.02610008.610.69.610.6
2PROJ-Dodds1.8250.20003.75.54.6 (H=5)5.5 (H=10)
2PROJ-Tremblay1.0140.1000232.5 (H=1)3.0 (H=3)
2PROJ-Bloom1.0120.10001.82.82.3 (H=1)2.8 (H=3)

Keith Kirkwood (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3100)

1vs HOU1200.000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1.01100001.12.11.6 (H=0)2.1 (H=2)
2PROJ-Tremblay0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)
2PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Rams vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)12T (-3.8)14 (-4.8)15 (-4.3)14 (-5.1)
1Greg Olsen63943603.

Jared Cook (FanDuel: $6000, DraftKings: $4700)

1vs HOU4232.03703.
2PROJ-Dodds3.6430. (H=11)9.7 (H=21)
2PROJ-Tremblay3.1390. (H=8)8.2 (H=16)
2PROJ-Bloom3.0440. (H=11)9.2 (H=19)

Josh Hill (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

1vs HOU3211.0-20-
2PROJ-Dodds1. (H=1)2.3 (H=3)
2PROJ-Tremblay0.880. (H=1)2.2 (H=3)
2PROJ-Bloom1. (H=1)2.1 (H=2)

Rams vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21T (+2.2)21T (+2.2)25T (+4.5) (+0.0)
1Joey Slye23339912.012.0

Wil Lutz (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

1vs HOU3433121215.015.0

Rams vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10T (-3.1)10T (-3.1)10T (-4.8)10T (-4.8)
1Carolina Panthers3034911000332.02.0

New Orleans Saints (FanDuel: $3800, DraftKings: $2600)

1vs HOU28.0041461000887.07.0
2PROJ-Dodds30.404382. (H=10)5.5 (H=14)
2PROJ-Tremblay27.504152.41.10.500. (H=14)6.8 (H=21)

Saints vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)30 (+11.9)30 (+11.8)30 (+12.3)29 (+10.8)
1Deshaun Watson67203026831440134.434.431.731.7

Jared Goff (FanDuel: $7600, DraftKings: $5900)

1@ CAR7723391861140012.312.310.410.4
2PROJ-Dodds24352871.81360.121.721.721.7 (H=54)21.7 (H=69)
2PROJ-Tremblay24383071.71.1380.122.522.522.5 (H=57)22.5 (H=74)
2PROJ-Bloom21312051.8111016.516.516.5 (H=33)16.5 (H=43)

Saints vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)17 (-1.2)15 (-1.7)14 (-1.5)13T (-2.3)
1Duke Johnson429570543309.
1Carlos Hyde251083011208.

Todd Gurley (FanDuel: $7000, DraftKings: $7000)

1@ CAR541497011.04010.111.110.611.1
2PROJ-Dodds13590.62.5230.112.414.913.7 (H=26)14.9 (H=30)
2PROJ-Tremblay13570.72.6240.112.915.514.2 (H=28)15.5 (H=32)
2PROJ-Bloom13590. (H=17)11.1 (H=18)

Malcolm Brown (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $4100)

1@ CAR211153200.00017.317.317.317.3
2PROJ-Dodds8330.20.0004.54.54.5 (H=4)4.5 (H=6)
2PROJ-Tremblay8310.20.0004.34.34.3 (H=4)4.3 (H=6)
2PROJ-Bloom10410.50.0007.17.17.1 (H=10)7.1 (H=14)

Darrell Henderson (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $3900)

1@ CAR210000.000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds290.11.7140. (H=5)5.2 (H=8)
2PROJ-Tremblay1402.5200.135.54.3 (H=5)5.5 (H=9)
2PROJ-Bloom290.11.0130. (H=4)4.4 (H=6)

Saints vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)25 (+13.1)27 (+13.7)26 (+13.6)27 (+15.0)
1DeAndre Hopkins66138111200023.
1Kenny Stills28333710009.712.711.212.7

Robert Woods (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $6400)

1@ CAR73138.070021608.616.612.616.6
2PROJ-Dodds5.2670.41709.81512.4 (H=21)15.0 (H=34)
2PROJ-Tremblay4.8690.429010.21512.6 (H=22)15.0 (H=34)
2PROJ-Bloom6.0530.521109.415.412.4 (H=21)15.4 (H=35)

Brandin Cooks (FanDuel: $7000, DraftKings: $6300)

1@ CAR7162.03900003.
2PROJ-Dodds4.6710.40009.514.111.8 (H=20)14.1 (H=31)
2PROJ-Tremblay4.9740.30009.214.111.7 (H=20)14.1 (H=31)
2PROJ-Bloom3.0490.31507.210.28.7 (H=12)10.2 (H=17)

Cooper Kupp (FanDuel: $6800, DraftKings: $6000)

1@ CAR69107.04600004.611.68.111.6
2PROJ-Dodds5.1640.40008.813.911.4 (H=19)13.9 (H=31)
2PROJ-Tremblay4.8690.50009.914.712.3 (H=22)14.7 (H=35)
2PROJ-Bloom6.0510.50008.114.111.1 (H=19)14.1 (H=32)

Josh Reynolds (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3200)

1@ CAR2520.000000000.00.0
2PROJ-Dodds1.01200001.22.21.7 (H=1)2.2 (H=2)
2PROJ-Tremblay0.9120.10001.82.72.3 (H=1)2.7 (H=3)
2PROJ-Bloom0.000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Saints vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)5 (-5.7)4 (-9.7)4 (-7.7)4 (-10.0)
1Jordan Akins47211701.

Tyler Higbee (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $2900)

1@ CAR4054.020181210.012.0
2PROJ-Dodds2.6240. (H=8)6.8 (H=19)
2PROJ-Tremblay2.9330. (H=9)7.4 (H=22)
2PROJ-Bloom3.0220. (H=6)6.4 (H=17)

Gerald Everett (FanDuel: $4700, DraftKings: $2700)

1@ CAR3011.0700.
2PROJ-Dodds1.3120. (H=2)3.1 (H=5)
2PROJ-Tremblay0.6600.61.20.9 (H=0)1.2 (H=1)
2PROJ-Bloom1.0110. (H=1)2.7 (H=4)

Saints vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)8T (-2.8)8T (-2.8)8T (-3.5) (+0.0)
1Kaimi Fairbairn0044444.04.0

Greg Zuerlein (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

1@ CAR3433121215.015.0

Saints vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10T (-3.1)10T (-3.1)10T (-4.8)10T (-4.8)
1Houston Texans3051011000332.02.0

Los Angeles Rams (FanDuel: $3600, DraftKings: $2700)

1@ CAR27.0034331200999.09.0
2PROJ-Dodds27.404102.30.70.600. (H=15)6.9 (H=21)
2PROJ-Tremblay25.003732.20.80.600. (H=18)7.5 (H=24)