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Game of the Week: Week 3
By Kurt Ison
Special to rzl-football.com

GAME OF THE WEEK
(2-0) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS V ST.LOUIS RAMS (2-0)



History:
Played 9
Saints 7 - 2 Rams

Recent Form:
Saints: -WW
Rams: -WW

Two of the most impressive teams early in the season clash in St.Louis, Missouri as the New Orleans Saints take on the Rams in a blockbuster. The Saints have surprised most, at full strength they are a tough match for any, but when they lost Matt Moore in the preseason for a extended period many thought they might struggle, hard fought wins over Carolina and Philadelphia have shown this team is made of the right stuff. No one has doubted St.Louis for along time and they have proven why with huge victories over Seattle and Indianapolis in the opening weeks. But the Rams face a battle hardened and mentally strong team in New Orleans who aren't ready to allow 40 points on them. This has a great feeling to it and it will live up to the expectation.

Team Leaders
Passing:
NO - QB A.Dalton - 37/71, 511 YDS, 2 TD's, 1 INT's = 79.0 RAT
STL - QB J.Flacco - 42/72, 810 YDS, 6 TD's, 0 INT's = 125.3 RAT

Rushing:
NO - HB R.Williams - 43 CAR's, 135 YDS, 3.14 AVG, 0 TD's
STL - HB B.Phillips - 36 CAR's, 113 YDS, 3.14 AVG, 2 TD's

Receiving:
NO - WR M.Finch - 13 REC, 249 YDS, 1 TD
STL - WR T.Underwood - 12 REC, 365 YDS, 2 TD's

Tackles:
NO - LB A.Spitler - 12 TAK's
STL - LB H.Battle - 10 TAK's

Sacks:
NO - DT J.Worthy, DE L.Buck, DT R.Gross - 1 SCK
STL - DE K.Cummings, DT D.Barrios - 2 SCK's

Interceptions:
NO - CB D.Van Dyke - 2 INT's for 17 YDS
STL - DT D.Barrios - 1 INT for 0 YDS

Injury Report:
Saints - QB Matt Moore 7 Weeks.
The veteran leader was injured in the final week of the preseason, every team in the RZL dreads the moment they hear their starting quarterback is injured. Luckily the Saints have managed without him but as time goes on the chances of his replacement slipping up grows.

Rams - OLB Darren Lindsay
Suffering a torn pectoral in the pre-season and being under a question mark heading into the teams first games. However Lindsay proved his toughness and desire by playing in both games and theres no reason to doubt he won't suit up again this week.

Key Match-up:
Rams Joe Flacco V Saints Defence
"Glass" Joe as he often is referred to has been at his best in the early stages, over two hundred yards clear of the closest passer. He also ranks the highest on quarterback percentage and is the engine to the Rams powerful offence. The Saints defence is impressive, they have talent spread across and can cause even the best offence troubles. No team has managed to shut down or even slow down Flacco this season, New Orleans needs to win this battle if they want any shot at winning.

Watch out Rams!
St.Louis has been exposed on its run defence, the Saints know this and will be looking to give the ball to running back Ryan Williams early and often. The 5'9" pocket rocket will have a big workload if the Saints can stay in the game, maintaing possession is the key and finding the holes in the Rams run defence is crucial. Williams will need to find the end zone to help match the high scoring potential of the Rams.

Watch out Saints!
With Andrew Dalton starting for the third straight week the Rams will be looking to make him uncomfortable. Defensive enforcer Kenwin Cummings will be coming off the edge quick to make contact as hard and as often as possible. Crippling the Saints pass game will almost guarantee a win for the Rams. Cummings will be primed to knock up a win for the defence for once in St.Louis.

What they said..
New Orleans GM - Kevin Mullendore
"We will have our work cut out for us, no doubt about it. Going on the road to face the hottest team in the league and the number one scoring offense, this will be quite the challenge. Our defense is really going to have to step up again this week and Dalton needs to continue to play smart football for us to have a chance in this one."

St.Louis Rams GM - Jeff Downey
"The Saints have always been a big rival for the St. Louis Rams. They have had our number in the past throughout the regular season, winning seven of nine, and we hope we can buck that trend this week. This will be our first meeting since they managed to oust us from the playoffs in 2019. We do and always will respect what general manager Kevin Mullendore has done in New Orleans but this week it is all about winning, we want to be 3-0."

Prediction:
New Orleans are a well run team, with plenty of talent and a great mentality. However they are facing one of the best if not the best teams in the RZL. Heading into St.Louis and without your starting quarterback is a sure loss for most teams, the Saints have a chance but the odds aren't in their favour. The Rams have been devastating and will be looking to prove themselves against the competitions best. St.Louis by 13.
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