The Los Angeles Rams are traveling to face the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome in Week 11 for the first time since these two teams met in the NFC championship in the 2018 season. The outlooks on both of these teams were much different in 2018 with both teams now having just three wins in the first 10 weeks of the 2022 campaign.
The Rams have lost three consecutive games and injuries continue to mount up for them with Cooper Kupp, Alaric Jackson, and Chandler Brewer being placed on injured reserve. Brian Allen is questionable to suit up and Matthew Stafford has returned to practice, but he’ll still need to clear the concussion protocol to play on Sunday.
Amid what has been a chaotic season for the reigning Super Bowl champions, let’s take a look at five players to watch on the Rams ahead of their road showdown with the Saints in Week 11.
The Rams have not been able to run the ball with any success this season despite trying a multitude of different running backs. After suiting up for the first time since Week 1 in Week 10, rookie Kyren Williams could see an expanded role sooner rather than later.
Sean McVay didn’t deploy Williams until the game was essentially over last week, though, the first-year back managed to record 30 receiving yards on three receptions while carrying the ball once for nine yards. With the Rams not getting much out of Darrell Henderson Jr. or Cam Akers, Williams could see more touches against the Saints, who have allowed 180-plus rushing yards in back-to-back weeks.
It goes without saying that Kupp is sorely going to be missed in the offense, especially with the offense struggling even when he was on the field. With Kupp sidelined, the Rams need a few guys to step up in the passing game, including Van Jefferson.
While Allen Robinson is going to be viewed as the new No. 1 wideout for Stafford, Jefferson has the most experience working with Stafford in the current wide receiver room. Jefferson is going to be playing his third game of the season on Sunday after catching three passes for 27 yards and a touchdown last week. And the Rams are going to need more from him in Week 11.
Rob Havenstein cracked the list of players to watch in Week 10 ahead of a matchup against J.J. Watt and Watt certainly won the majority of the reps they lined up across from each other. Following a matchup with Watt, Havenstein will be tasked with trying to slow down another premier edge defender in Cameron Jordan, assuming he suits up on Sunday.
Even though some would say that Jordan isn’t playing at the same level he’s been at for years, he still has 5.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss (both are second-most on the Saints) this season. Considering all of the injuries on the offensive line, the Rams need Havenstein to have a strong performance on Sunday.
The Rams haven’t gotten much production out of their edge rushers this season. The edge rushers have combined for only five sacks this season and Leonard Floyd has three of them.
Meanwhile, the offensive line of the Saints is dealing with a bevy of injuries, so the Rams need to take advantage by providing consistent pressure on Andy Dalton. Floyd has played much better recently as he’s recorded all three of his sacks in the last three weeks.
Despite all of the playmakers that the Rams have on the defensive side of the ball, they’ve had a shortage of takeaways thus far. Through the first 10 weeks, Los Angeles has only posted eight takeaways (tied for the third-fewest in the NFL).
After recording an interception in Week 1, Troy Hill has yet to show up on the box score with another interception this season, though, injuries have limited him. With the Rams desperately seeking a win to end their current losing streak, and the fact they’re facing a mistake-prone quarterback in Dalton, Hill should have a couple of opportunities to make a game-changing play in Week 11.