Rams (8-0) at Saints (6-1)

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - WEEK 9 MATCHUPS - John M. Sigler

Sun­day, 4:25 p.m. ET, Su­per­dome, Or­leans

TV: Fox

Danny Sheri­dan’s line: by 2

Rams’ keys to vic­tory: Take ad­van­tage of a slow Saints de­fense. RB Todd Gur­ley could have trou­ble against a solid Saints run de­fense, but that hasn’t been how the Rams have won so many games. Com­pet­ing with an in­tel­li­gent, high-flying at­tack through the air will give Saints coach Sean Pay­ton a taste of his own medicine. Rams coach Sean McVay is the best in the game right now when schem­ing guys into easy yards gained af­ter the catch, so it’ll be tough for Saints de­fend­ers LB De­mario Davis and SS Vonn Bell in cov­er­age. This is also a sneaky re­venge game for WR Brandin Cooks, who was shut down by Saints CB Marshon Lat­ti­more last year while play­ing for the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots.

Saints’ keys to vic­tory: Not let­ting up on offense. The Saints have an offense that can threaten the Rams in a cou­ple of ways — through two key pass-catch­ers, RB Alvin Ka­mara and TE Ben Wat­son. The Rams de­fense is among the worst in the league in catches, yards and touch­downs al­lowed to those po­si­tions. QB Drew Brees is still a le­git­i­mate MVP can­di­date at 39 years old, and he should carve up a vul­ner­a­ble Rams se­condary.

Matchup to watch: Saints WR Michael Thomas vs. Rams CB Mar­cus Peters. Thomas’ num­bers have de­clined while other weapons have emerged, while Peters has steadily re­turned to form. Both are among the best at what they do.

Who wins? The Saints are one of the only teams that can match the Rams offense, but their de­fense will come up just short.

Rams, 35-33 Mercedes-Benz New

Rams RAMS SCHED­ULE

W ....... at Oak­land ....... 33-13 W ............ Ari­zona ............ 34-0 W ..... L.A. Charg­ers ..... 35-23 W ........ Min­nesota ........ 38-31 W ......... at Seat­tle ......... 33-31 W ......... at Den­ver ......... 23-20 W...at San Fran­cisco...39-10 W ........ Green Bay ........ 29-27 Nov. 4 .at New Or­leans .4:25 Nov. 11 ....... Seat­tle ....... 4:25 Nov. 19 K.C. (Mex. City) 8:15 Nov. 25 ............... Bye ............... Dec. 2 ......... at Detroit ......... 1 Dec. 9 ........ at Chicago ........ 1 Dec. 16...Philadel­phia...8:20 Dec. 23 ..... at Ari­zona ..... 4:05 Dec. 30 .San Fran­cisco .4:25

L ...... Tam­paBay ...... 48-40 W ...... Cleve­land ...... 21-18 W .. at At­lanta .. 43-37 (OT) W ...atN.Y.Gi­ants ...33-18 W .... Wash­ing­ton .... 43-19 Oct.14 ............. Bye ............. W .... atBal­ti­more .... 24-23 W ...atMin­nesota ...30-20 Nov. 4 .... L.A. Rams .... 4:25 Nov.11...atCincin­nati...1 Nov.18 ...Philadel­phia ...1 Nov. 22 ..... At­lanta ..... 8:20 Nov. 29 .... at Dal­las .... 8:20 Dec. 9 ... at Tampa Bay ... 1 Dec. 17 .. at Carolina .. 8:15 Dec. 23 .. Pitts­burgh .. 4:25 Dec. 30 ...... Carolina ....... 1

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