In what could be a preview of a future playoff matchup, the Los Angeles Rams will travel to New Orleans for a battle with the Saints.
As I said prior to the Rams’ Week 1 matchup with the Oakland Raiders (a 33-13 win), this franchise went all-in during the offseason to build a team capable of bringing home a Super Bowl title, and they’ve done nothing in their 8-0 start to suggest my analysis was incorrect.
Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff has experienced a phoenix-like rise in his career trajectory after a 2016 rookie season under then-head coach Jeff Fisher that didn’t show much promise. It’s clear current head coach Sean McVay knows how to tap into Goff’s strengths, and now Goff appears to be the next “elite” quarterback.
Pairing Goff with a do-it-all type back in running back Todd Gurley reminds me of those “Greatest Show on Turf” years. It’s hard to believe that was almost 20 years ago.
Although the Saints have their own high-powered offense, they have two good running backs in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. It’s not meant as a slight to those backs that I call them merely “good,” but Ingram is more of a power back, while Kamara brings the speed, elusiveness and solid pass-catching ability.
They’re both good at what they do, but if they’re not in the backfield together, it makes the Saints predictable. I don’t see Ingram posting a 15-catch game anytime in his career.
If the Rams find a way to completely neutralize wide receiver Michael Thomas while turning up the heat on quarterback Drew Brees, then this game has the potential to be a rout.
I don’t see it going that route. Expect Saints head coach Sean Payton to find some creative ways to get his weapons open and keep this contest competitive.
The reality of this matchup is the Saints are good.
The Rams are just better.
Final score: Rams 38, Saints 35
Thursday Twitter pick
I’m sure I’m not the only one who had no clue who San Francisco quarterback Nick Mullens was before the kickoff of Thursday night’s game between the 49ers and Oakland Raiders. After the 34-3 beating he gave the Raiders, the mainstream sports world is well aware of his presence.
Best of the rest
Chicago Bears 24, Buffalo Bills 13
It won’t be long until the Bills can forgo the free agent market and just build a snowman to play quarterback … if they can find a magical hat.
Kansas City Chiefs 41, Cleveland Browns 23
Don’t expect the Victory Fridges to unlock this week.
Miami Dolphins 23, New York Jets 20
The Dolphins give up 143.1 rushing yards per game -- a deficiency the Jets could have exploited if they actually had healthy running backs.
Minnesota Vikings 28, Detroit Lions 22
It won’t take long for the Lions to start missing their former wide receiver Golden Tate.
Washington Redskins 24, Atlanta Falcons 21
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan faces off against a defense that only gives up 19.1 points per game.
Carolina Panthers 33, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
In the past five quarters, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has shown the world how good he can really be in Norv Turner’s offense.
Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Baltimore Ravens 20
The Steelers are hitting their stride after limping out the gate to start the season.
Houston Texans 26, Denver Broncos 19
After a five-game winning streak, I’m sure Texans head coach Bill O’Brien has forgotten how hot his seat used to be.
Los Angeles Chargers 27, Seattle Seahawks 24
Football fans in Los Angeles need to realize they’re blessed with a pair of great teams.
New England Patriots 30, Green Bay Packers 23
Even though New England has some offensive line injuries, I have my doubts about whether the Packers can put enough pressure on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Dallas Cowboys 29, Tennessee Titans 16
Newly-acquired Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper was rescued from the abyss known as “The Black Hole” and should find a welcoming home at “Jerry World.”
Last week’s record: 12-2
Overall record (through Week 8): 69-52
Perfect picks: 1
Contact Shane Dunaway via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyHome_Shane.