The New Orleans Saints are rolling right now, eight straight victories, oh how sweet it is. This week the team heads to the Pacific time zone for the first and only time this season to take on the NFC West leading LA Rams (7-3)

This match-up between two first place teams should be an intriguing one to say the least. This week I have the unfortunate task of brainstorming five reasons why the Saints will come up short and the Rams will halt their eight game winning streak.

For the five reasons why the Saints will win this week, check out Steve Peloquin's article.

Now, onto the negativity, dilly-dilly!

1) High Flying Offense vs. Banged up Defense

It's no secret that the Saints, who have been able to be pretty injury free this year, are now dealing with some injury concerns on the defensive side of the football. Last week alone they lost DE Alex Okafor for the season with a torn Achilles and Marshon Lattimore for most of the game last week with an ankle injury. Lattimore missed a couple days of practice while his running mate Ken Crawley has been dealing with an abdomen injury. It's now known that both of these guys won't be in the lineup for the Saints this Sunday. These are all key pieces on one of the best defenses in the league this year, the Rams have scored the second most points in the league. This doesn't seem like a recipe for success for the Saints.

2) Rams Defense Slightly Better

The Saints defense has received a ton of praise this season, as they should, that unit has been much better than expected after week's one and two. However, the numbers don't lie and the numbers say that the Rams actually have a slightly better defense under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. They rank sixth in points allowed per game (18.6), tied for fourth in turnovers forced (19), and tied for ninth in sacks (28).Comparatively, the Saints are tied for eighth in points allowed on a per game basis (19.6), tied for eighteenth overall in turnovers forced (13), and tied for twelfth in sacks (27). If the Rams end up winning this game it'll be because their defense forces a key turnover or figures out how to contain the two headed monster of Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara.

3) Special Teams Matter

There have been a couple issues in the special teams department for the Saints this season and that's led to that unit being ranked 22nd overall in the league. On the flip-side, the Los Angeles Rams are ranked second overall in special teams. Rams kicker, Greg Zuerlein is one of the most reliable kickers in the league (28/29 FG's, 4-50+, 31/31 XPA). For the Saints, the poor decisions made by kick returners have constantly cost them yardage and field position.

4) West Coast Travels

We all know it's not easy traveling across the country, even if it isn't coast to coast. When you change time zones your body needs time to adjust and the Saints have been one of the most travel taxed teams in the league this year. The travel could affect the Saints and if they struggle on Sunday that could be a factor.

5) Rams Control The Clock

The Rams resurgent running game has been a major factor in their success this season with Todd Gurley. This game could turn into a time of possession battle in which we see which teams offense can keep the others on the sidelines longest. If the Rams win this game they'll have a good advantage on the time of possession side of things and controlling the game with Todd Gurley might be a good recipe for their success.

 

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