Rams Vs. Saints Week 11 Preview: Matthew Stafford Returns As Shorthanded L.A. Squad Tries To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Week 10 was not kind to the Los Angeles Rams because not only did they lose in the battle of backups, but also saw more players go down to injury.

No one is feeling sorry for the defending Super Bowl champions, especially their Week 11 opponents the New Orleans Saints who still have not forgotten the controversial call back in 2018 that cost them a chance at a Super Bowl appearance.

Both the Rams and Saints have largely underwhelmed during the 2022 season and each side’s playoff hopes are hanging on by a thread. A loss for either side would basically shut the door on a postseason spot, so this Sunday carries massive implications.

Rams Offense vs. Saints Defense

The Rams will be missing the heartbeat of the offense as Cooper Kupp was placed on IR earlier this week with an ankle injury. Los Angeles does get Matthew Stafford back after he was cleared from concussion protocol, but he’s been noticeably worse throwing to non-Kupp personnel.

The offensive line will also see another reshuffling with Alaric Jackson and Chandler Brewer also landing on IR. With so many pieces out, head coach Sean McVay may resort to shorter passes in the middle of the field as well as designed screens and play-action fakes to move the football through the air.

Fortunately, the Rams catch a break as the Saints are also dealing with their fair share of absences. Cameron Jordan and Marshon Lattimore will miss the contest, which means Stafford could finally have some time to make throws to his receiving options.

Rams Defense vs. Saints Offense

Andy Dalton draws the start at quarterback again for New Orleans and he has been turnover prone in recent weeks. This bodes well for Los Angeles who needs to capitalize on mistakes in order to help their floundering offense.

Chris Olave has taken over as the Saints’ new No. 1 receiver and he gets reinforcements in running mate Jarvis Landry. Both will be the focal points of the passing attack, so Raheem Morris may opt to shadow Olave with Ramsey on certain looks.

Alvin Kamara has had an up-and-down season but remains a threat both as a runner and pass catcher out of the backfield. He will need to be contained, so Ernest Jones and Bobby Wagner will need to be on high alert whenever he has the ball in his hands.

Taysom Hill is also another wildcard given his dual-threat ability, and the Rams have often struggled against mobile quarterbacks. They should expect to see the versatile Hill utilized in various packages.

Keys To Victory

1. Establish Allen Robinson as the new No. 1 option

Robinson’s first year in Los Angeles hasn’t gone the way most expected, but now’s the time for him to make good on the lucrative deal he signed in the offseason. Robinson’s production has picked up in recent weeks, but with Kupp out Stafford and McVay must find ways to get the ball in his hands.

2. Make Andy Dalton uncomfortable

Turnovers have plagued the Saints and Dalton is at the forefront of their issues. When pressured, Dalton has a penchant for throwing away the football and the Rams will need to force him into mistakes to help them win while they’re shorthanded.