Sunday 15 September 21:25
It’s the rematch that the NFL has been waiting for as the NFC Conference finalists go head to head in Week Two in a fixture that could well be repeated in the 2019 play-offs.
Head to Head
One of the oldest rivalries in the NFL, this fixture has been played 75 times since the Rams beat the Saints 27-13 in September 1967, and the Rams hold a 41-33 lead in the regular season, though their two play-off games have resulted in a win apiece.
Both of last season’s encounters came at the Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints were triumphant in an entertaining 45-35 game in November, but the Rams won the game that mattered, clinching the NFC Championship game 26-23 thanks to a controversial missed call against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, that took the game to overtime.
Can the Rams Repeat?
The Rams lost some key players in the off-season, including offensive line stalwarts Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan, as well as Ndamakukong Suh from the defensive line, and while they were able to hold on for a win against the Panthers in their opening game last week, the Panthers’ subsequent lost to Tampa Bay raises question marks over the form of that win. Bookmakers have them as 3/4 favourites going into this game, with home advantage obviously in their favour, but the ageing Rams line-up has some questions to answer here.
Saints Break their Curse
New Orleans broke their opening day curse last week, with a narrow 30-28 victory over the Houston Texans, in which they looked pretty rusty. In particular, their weakened defensive line was a worry, but Drew Brees was as effective as ever, and Alvin Kamara once again provided the offensive spark. Getting that first win against a solid Houston team was important, even if the manner of it was not entirely convincing and the Saints are rated a 6/5 chance for this tougher test.
Another High Scoring Game?
Both of these teams look a little weaker on defense this time round, so as well as being a fascinating rematch, this could be a high scoring affair, particularly given that Brees has more offensive weapons this season, and the visitors will be focused on revenge for that play-off defeat.