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Ram View: Week 8 – Part VIII

RamView, November 1, 2009
From The Couch
(Report and opinions on the game.)
Game #8: RAMS 17, Lions 10

* Who’s next?: It will look like throwback week in St. Louis in two weeks, not because the Rams will be in their old blue and yellow, but because it’s going to look like the Greatest Show on Earth is back in the form of the New Orleans Saints. It’s going to take more than one bye week for the Rams to figure out how to keep up with the Saints, who have already hung 48 on the Giants, for crying out loud, and just hung 46 on a Miami team that also got an extra week to prepare. The Saints average – average! – 40 points a game! The Rams scored their 40th point of the 2009 season in week SIX! And that’s probably all you need to know about the looming matchup on November 15th.

The undefeated Saints bring the NFL’s #1 offense and the league’s hottest QB in Drew Brees, who nearly broke Dan Marino’s single-season yardage record last year, and a scary receiving lineup – Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, Robert Meacham, even Jeremy Shockey. Yet their rushing offense rates higher than their passing offense: 3rd in the league vs. 6th. Once their aerial circus puts them out in front, Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell wear out the defense and keep them there. No one’s had an answer for the Saint offense this season. Spagnuolo will need to repeat his Super Bowl XLII game plan success just to slow this juggernaut down. The Dolphins had the best chance to beat the Saints so far in 2009 last week, taking (and blowing) a 24-3 lead. New Orleans struggled early with Miami’s 3-4, and the Fins really mixed up their blitzes and coverages. They brought blitzes from everywhere but underground and had Brees confused and throwing awful, stupid passes for a half. And they still nearly gave up 50 points ! If the Saints have a weak link, it’s LT Jermon Bushrod, who’s there because Jammal Brown’s lost for the season. To disrupt the Saints at all, James Hall and Chris Long HAVE to come up big in that matchup.

Their offense takes all the headlines, but the Saints’ dominance this season is also defensively-infused. The rest of the NFL has long dreaded the day the Saints got an even-decent secondary. Well, that day is here. Jabari Greer is a terrific young playmaker and cover man; his signing was the overlooked free agent move of the offseason. Tracy Porter has made a huge leap in his second season. Strong safety Roman Harper is having a Pro Bowl season, and Darren Sharper is having a Defensive Player of the Year season, having already picked off a ridiculous six passes and returned three of them for TDs. Preventing defensive TDs is not something the Ram offense has exactly excelled at. The Saints are top-10 against the run, too, behind Harper, Jonathan Vilma and former Ram Scott Shanle. The Saint pass rush is tied with the Rams at just 23rd in the league. Jason Smith will have a big assignment against Charles Grant, though the Rams can partially slow the Saint pass rush by comping Anthony Hargrove a suite at Harrah’s. The Ram offense is going to have to be themselves to stay close with the Saints. Lots of power running with Jackson and very little risk-taking in the passing game against the Saints’ big-play secondary.

Will that be enough? It doesn’t seem likely; this Saints game is shaping up as a redux of the Colts game, as the Rams continue to get pummeled by a brutal schedule. My advice? Don’t think about the Saints until they get here, and just enjoy watching them play. You only get to see offensive greatness like theirs every ten years or so. Meanwhile, we’ve got two weeks to bask in a Rams victory, and we should use them well. Prosit, Rams Nation!

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3 Responses to “Ram View: Week 8 – Part VIII”

  1. Rob says:

    It might be ugly, but thank god Rams had a bye week to prepare. Rams also are coming off a win so they might have a little something figured out. They have to score early and not let the Saints run away with this one,control the ball with Jackson’s running game and keep the Saints offense off the field as much as they can, do not turnover the ball, and keep a lot of pressure on Brees. If they do this it will be better than people expect, but Rams pulling it off is like a D1-AA team beating Florida or Alabama

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