Los Angeles Rams (4-6 SU, 4-5-1 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (4-6 SU, 7-3 ATS)
Week 12 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: LA +7/NO -7
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The Los Angeles Rams come to the Superdome on Sunday to face the New Orleans Saints in week 12 action. New Orleans fell on the road to the Panthers, 23-20, on Thursday Night Football to fall to 4-6 on the season. It was an unsettling loss with a lot of pieces to their recent success not delivering, but in the NFC South, they still have something to fight for this season. For the Rams, the picture is less rosy, as they fell to 4-6 on Sunday in a 14-10 loss at home to the Dolphins. The game featured the debut of new Rams starter and top pick Jared Goff. But with ten points of scoring, the Rams' offense remains largely incapable of capitalizing off a defense that is one of the best in the NFC.
Against Carolina with a chance to go to 5-5 and get right into the NFC South race, the Saints weren't able to find their footing until late when they made a run at it and got the cover. It was their 7th cover in ten games, as they've been solid at the betting windows. They just got started too late against the Panthers, with mistakes costing them dearly. A Drew Brees fumble and pick were costly miscues. The run game, which had been electric lately with Tim Hightower and Mark Ingram both breaking off huge scampers, was not terribly impactful.
On the right day, the Saints can be a handful. They'll run the ball on you, while Brees commandeers a prolific aerial attack. And an improving defense has followed suit, playing better as the offense has improved. But that has to be against the right team. Against the wrong team, they can struggle offensively with a defense unable to withstand the pressure without being supported by the other side of the ball. But to their credit on Thursday on the road, they held Carolina to a reasonable amount of offense, with Newton not having a good day and the Panthers run-game kept in-check. At the end of the day, they just gave up too many big plays.
Still, you have to hand it to the Saints for even being in this spot after an 0-3 start that saw them playing very badly. Their recent losses are all by very close margins. Offensively, they enter week 12 the top-rated group in terms of yardage with the top-rated passing attack. Brees was not at his best on Thursday, but can usually be counted on for 300 yards in the air. He makes great use of his offense. Along with Hightower and Ingram in the backfield, he has at his disposal good receivers like Michael Thomas, Willie Snead, and Brandin Cooks. Hightower and Ingram both can catch a lot of balls. There are a lot of different guys in this offense that can get you.
The Saints' defense is by no means tremendous, but they don't need to be. And after stinking it up so badly in the first several weeks of the season, they have made strong gains over the last handful of games. In their last five games, all of their opponents have scored 20-27 points. Again, that's not great until reflecting on some of the offensive free-for-alls that were yielded earlier in the season. They're at least giving the team a chance to win.
Again, the Rams' offense is really in the dumps, having not surpassed ten points in their last four games. Their defense is good, but not that good. One can only wonder how good their defense would be if not hung out to dry so often by an anemic offense. In their last three games, the Rams have given up only 33 points. Most teams would have won all those games with the defense doing so well, but the Rams could manage only one win in that stretch. On Sunday, we saw the defense do some good things. The pass-rush was pretty good, as Robert Quinn rejoined the fray with a sack after a health scare last week. Dominique Easley had two sacks. Maurice Alexander had a pick. They held Miami to only 240 yards of total offense and only one converted third down on 11 attempts. Again, it's a shame it all goes to waste with an offense that can't get much of anything right.
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Jared Goff was in his first NFL game, not a time to really make too many concrete judgments. And against a Miami defense that has been playing well lately and is on a big win-streak, Goff had an unremarkable debut. He was 17-for-31 passing with just 134 yards. He didn't throw any touchdowns, but he didn't throw a pick, either, so that's a plus. Todd Gurley had 76 rushes on 20 carries with a TD. The fact that Sunday was one of his better performances of the season only understates how far off the mark he has been this season with his production. In addition to Gurley under-performing, the line has been mostly subpar. The receiving crew is also a big reason why the Rams are 32nd out of 32 teams in scoring. Kenny Britt is their top receiver, but he's hardly a bonafide number-one receiver and the Rams are paying a dear price for their overall lack of offensive firepower.
After showing promise in weeks 2, 3, and 4 with wins, the Rams have lost every game except for a 9-6 win over the beleaguered Jets. They look to be circling the drain unless Goff can somehow lend some fire to this offense. This is his first road game, but he may be facing a defense that gives him more opportunity to shine than he faced in his debut against Miami. New Orleans, however, really needs this one to stay in the mix after working so hard to get there. Rested after the long week, I see the Saints making life hard on the Rams and getting the cover.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the New Orleans Saints minus 7 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Rams vs. Saints game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!