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    New Orleans Saints at Rams: Who has the edge?
    • December 20, 2023

    SAINTS (7-7) at RAMS (7-7)

    When: Thursday, 5:15 p.m.

    Where: SoFi Stadium

    TV/Radio: Amazon Prime Video/710 AM; 93.1 FM; 1330 AM (Spanish); Sirius 226, 225

    Line: Rams by 4

    Notable injury designations

    Saints: OUT: DE Payton Turner (toe), DE Isaiah Foskey (quad), S Lonnie Johnson (knee), T Ryan Ramcyk (knee); QUESTIONABLE: RB Kendre Miller (ankle)

    Rams: OUT: CB Tre Tomlinson (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: OL Joe Noteboom (foot)

    What’s at stake? As much as anything can be during the regular season. The winner of this game secures its grip on one of the NFC’s final two playoff spots while taking control of the tiebreaker over the loser with two games left in the season.

    Who’s better? The teams are even in the standings, but the Rams have had the harder strength of schedule to get to this point, with the Saints only having beaten one team with a record above .500. While the New Orleans defense is on par with the Rams’, the Rams offense clearly stands above the Saints. QB Derek Carr has struggled in his first season in New Orleans and the Saints haven’t managed to get a reliable run game going, averaging 3.7 yards per carry.

    Matchup to watch: Rams WRs vs. Saints DBs. Paulson Adebo (15), Isaac Yiadom (13) and Alontae Taylor (12) are in the top 12 in pass breakups this season. Paired with crafty veterans Marshon Lattimore and Tyrann Mathieu, the Saints have a dangerous secondary. But the Rams have their own weapons to counter. Cooper Kupp appears to have rediscovered his magic now that he’s close to 100% health. Rookie Puka Nacua continues to move the sticks. Veteran Demarcus Robinson has three touchdowns in three games. And the explosive Tutu Atwell is out of concussion protocol and ready to stretch defenses again. This is the matchup that could determine the game.

    Rams win if: They take care of the football and don’t turn it over more than once. … They limit RB Alvin Kamara to below 100 yards rushing and turn the Saints into a passing team. … RB Kyren Williams rushes for over 100 yards for the fifth time in six games to take pressure off Stafford and the receivers.

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    Fantasy sleeper: WR Demarcus Robinson. He can’t possibly do it four games in a row, right? Well, this was exactly who Robinson looked like in training camp and as soon as he’s gotten an opportunity he has matched that production. Pair in the fact that he’s clearly won over Stafford’s trust and it’s not a bad bet to put Robinson in your flex this week.

    Prediction: Rams 31, Saints 24. Beat reporter’s record: 9-4 for the season; 7-6 against the spread.

    ​ Orange County Register