L.A. Rams at New Orleans Saints
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
NEW ORLEANS – The Los Angeles Rams almost saw their perfect record go by the boards last weekend, but they will face perhaps a more daunting challenge this weekend in what could be a battle for supremacy in the NFC. The lone undefeated team at the midway point of the season, the Rams will square off against another surging team when they visit Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon.
Los Angeles will be facing an elite quarterback for the second time in as many weeks, having squeezed out a 29-27 victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. “You’re looking at another week where a guy, first ballot Hall of Famer, all-time leading passer, completing 77 percent of his balls,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said of the prospect of facing Brees. New Orleans owns the league’s second-longest winning streak — behind only Los Angeles — with six consecutive victories after knocking off Minnesota 30-20 in a rematch of last season’s NFC playoff game. “When we’re able to execute at a high level, I don’t think there’s anybody on the field that can stop us,” Saints defensive end Cam Jordan said. “We have to be able to do that for all 60 minutes though.”
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Rams -1.5. O/U: 59.5
ABOUT THE RAMS (8-0): Todd Gurley has been unstoppable for Los Angeles, rushing for 800 yards and 11 touchdowns — both league highs — and posted 31 catches for 351 yards and four scores after accounting for 195 yards from scrimmage against Green Bay. Quarterback Jared Goff has 17 TD passes versus five interceptions and will get one of his top targets back in Cooper Kupp, who has a team-best five touchdown receptions despite missing the past two games with a sprained knee. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald has registered an NFL-high 10 sacks for a unit that acquired pass-rushing linebacker Dante Fowler from Jacksonville at this week’s trade deadline. “We feel like he’s going to help us, specifically from a rush perspective,” McVay said of the former No. 3 overall draft pick.
ABOUT THE SAINTS (6-1): After squeezing out a one-point win at Baltimore when the Ravens missed a tying extra point, New Orleans relied on its defense to avenge last season’s loss at Minnesota with an interception return for a score and a fumble return that set up a TD. Brees tossed his first interception last week but has 14 touchdown passes and sports a league-leading 77.4 completion percentage and gaudy 118.2 passer rating. Alvin Kamara’s workload has been reduced with the return of fellow running back Mark Ingram from a four-game suspension, but he had a rushing and receiving score last week to boost his season total to nine touchdowns. Kamara is expected to play despite missing practice Thursday due to illness, but rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport did not practice for a second straight day.
1. Saints WR Michael Thomas has 14 receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns in two games versus Los Angeles.
2. Gurley joined Jim Brown and Priest Holmes as the only players with at least 15 TDs through the first eight games.
3. Brees has thrown for 1,045 yards with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last three at home.