The Rams and Saints are both in must-win territory this week as they look to end their losing streaks and inch closer to the .500 mark. Both teams are dealing with injuries at this point in the season, but there are still some marquee matchups between important players on both sides.
Here’s a a look a four of the biggest individual matchups in this Rams-Saints showdown on Sunday afternoon in New Olreans.
Jalen Ramsey vs. Chris Olave
DeAndre Hopkins got the better of Jalen Ramsey in their matchup last week, but I fully expect Ramsey to bounce back with a strong performance against the excellent rookie Olave. Olave is the Saints’ leading receiver and can play pretty much anywhere in the formation, whether it’s outside or in the slot, so Ramsey will get to move around a bunch if the Rams do end up sticking him on the rookie.
If Ramsey can take away Olave and force Andy Dalton to target his other (less dangerous) receivers, it’ll give the Rams an edge on defense. This isn’t a Saints team rich with playmakers on the outside.
Bobby Wagner vs. Alvin Kamara
Kamara remains a big part of the Saints offense, especially as a receiver. He’s second on the team in receptions (39) and receiving yards (338), which works out to an average of just 8.7 yards per reception – a number that would be even lower if not for his 54-yard catch against the Seahawks.
His numbers may not be eye-popping and as spectacular as usual, but he’s as dangerous as he’s always been. Wagner will have to shed blockers and ensure he gets Kamara on the ground, especially on outside runs to the left where he’s averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
Leonard Floyd vs. Ryan Ramczyk
Assuming Ramczyk ends up playing, the Saints will have their best and most reliable offensive lineman at right tackle. Floyd will be the one rushing against him throughout the afternoon and the Rams really need their top edge rusher to step up his game. He has just 16 pressures in nine games and last week against the Cardinals, he only had two tackles with one pressure.
Aaron Donald is doing what he can on the interior, but Floyd has to improve. He currently has his worst PFF grade since 2017 and is on pace for about 30 pressures after finishing last year with 73.
Ty Nsekhe vs. Marcus Davenport
Cameron Jordan is still an excellent all-around defender, but Davenport has become a force on the edge himself. He ranks second on the team with 23 total pressures and has a run defense grade of 67.7, per PFF, and now he’ll be going up against Nsekhe. Nsekhe is the Rams’ third left tackle, filling in for the injured Joe Noteboom and Alaric Jackson.
This is a matchup that favors Davenport and the Saints, assuming he takes the field after missing Week 10 due to injury.