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Monday, December 16, 2013

Analyzing the Rams' Win Over Saints

I wouldn't have expected the Rams to take on the Saints in the fashion
they did, but they left a bit to look at against New Orleans.

First off, St. Louis remained a very physical team. New Orleans is a
fairly finesse offense - and a defense that uses a ton of different
players, many of them small. They're also fairly dirty - as Carolina
saw. I'm not expecting them to be exceptionally dirty, but Carolina
must be physical. They must hit harder, be stronger mentally and
physically than last time. They must dictate the tone of the game to
win this one. It's something that worked out well against other teams -
like the win at San Francisco, or the should've-won game against
Seattle.

The Rams didn't have exceptional QB play, but career backup Kellen
Clemons executed the offense, and from the looks of things the Rams
don't take any fewer deep shots than normal. Actually, no one Ram had a
ton of yardage, four guys had at least 2 receptions and from the looks
of things, three guys had plays of 20+ yards. That's something that's
repeatable, since Carolina not only runs the same offense as Brian
Schottenheimer but also brought back some deeper passing this week
(finally).

It's also somewhat repeatable to gash the Saints inside - that's their
defense's weakness, and former fullback Zac Stacy's 28 for 133 can be
mirrored a bit by more carries by Mike Tolbert (though it's hard to
argue historically against the history of Deangelo Williams at home
against the Saints, too).

That physical play - which could've included a little home-field
advantage in physical play by the Rams CBs - extended a bit as well by
getting two picks on Brees, who was 39/56 and had one TD. It's not that
they did an exceptional job outside - Marques Colston had 8 receptions
for 92 and a score, for instance, but they kept the Saints in come from
behind mode by going up 17-0 early - yet another thing Carolina has
traditionally done this year, get ahead early.

So, there's some room to be had, a window of opportunity, to win this
weekend. It being at home (with the Saints struggling on the road)
doesn't hurt either - but, they also just lost, and they bounce back
from losses well. So, who knows.
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