Rams vs Saints, Tightening Grip on Playoffs

Rams vs Saints, Tightening Grip on Playoffs

Analysis

NFL

December 22nd, 2023

Rams vs Saints: With both teams harboring realistic playoff hopes, Rams vs Saints was a primetime collision. In the end, only one team looked like a postseason contender. The Rams defeated the Saints 30-22, fending off a late rally while Matthew Stafford threw for another 300 yards. This win boosts the Rams' playoff chances to 78%, while the Saints stumble into Week 17 at 7-8, their postseason dreams hanging by a thread.

Rams on Fire

The Rams have won 6 of their last 7 games, their only loss coming in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens. Stafford's return has sparked the offense, with 5 straight games of at least 28 points. Running back Kyren Williams surpassed 1,000 yards rushing, becoming the first Ram since Todd Gurley in 2018 to accomplish this feat. Stafford completed 24 of 34 passes for 328 yards and 2 touchdowns, extending his streak of multiple passing touchdowns to 5 games. Rookie pass-rusher Kobie Turner leads all NFL rookies with 6.5 sacks this season, while Demarcus Robinson emerged as the No. 3 receiver, scoring his 4th touchdown in a row.

Saints' Stumbles

The Saints had a golden opportunity to grab control of the NFC South with a win against the Rams vs. Saints. Defensive end Cameron Jordan knew the stakes, stating, "The moment we falter is the moment we give somebody else our fate." Falter they did, taking a major step back in one of their most pivotal games. The loss not only hands the NFC South lead to someone else, but also requires the Saints to win out and get help to even reach the playoffs for the first time since 2020.

Late Surge Not Enough

While Derek Carr led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, it was too little, too late. The Saints dug themselves another early hole, similar to their December 3rd loss to the Lions, making any comeback attempt futile. They travel to face the Buccaneers next Sunday with playoff hopes flickering faintly.

Silver Linings

There are a few bright spots for the Saints. Wide receiver Rashid Shaheed continues to impress, leading the NFL with 5 receptions of 40 or more air yards this season. J.T. Gray's near-blocked punt in the fourth quarter gave the Saints a chance, but that's all they could muster.

The Rams vs Saints game may have shifted the NFC playoff landscape significantly. Will the Rams solidify their grip on a postseason berth, or will the Saints find a way to defy the odds and sneak into the playoffs? 

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tag: Los Angeles Rams , New Orleans Saints

Klind Parangoni Author

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