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O/U Bet for Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints

Los Angeles Rams(4-6-0) @ New Orleans Saints(4-6-0)

  • Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans, Louisiana
  • When: November 27, 2016 1:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Rams +7 (EVEN) vs. Saints -7 (120)
  • Moneyline: Rams (+270) vs. Saints (-320)
  • Over / Under: Over 46 (-105) vs. Under 46 (-115)

It’s a must-win situation for the New Orleans Saints as they try to breathe life into their fading playoff hopes Sunday at home against rookie quarterback Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams.

After winning four of five games to erase an 0-3 start and reach .500, the Saints have dropped back-to-back contests to last year’s Super Bowl participants. First was a 25-23 home loss in Week 10 to the Denver Broncos, who scored the winning points on a blocked extra point return. With a short turnaround to start Week 11, New Orleans came up short in a fourth-quarter rally to lose 23-20 at Carolina on Nov. 17.

Drew Brees threw for 285 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but an ineffective second quarter in which he threw an interception and the Saints had a field goal blocked contributed to a 17-point second quarter by the Panthers that proved too much to overcome. The loss left New Orleans tied with Carolina for third in the NFC South, two games behind division-leading Atlanta.

While having the same record as the Saints, the Rams already have an eye to the future as Goff — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft — got his first career start in Sunday’s 14-10 loss to Miami. He completed 17 of 31 passes for 134 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions as the Rams finished with only 227 yards of total offense.

Offensive struggles are nothing new for the Rams — they rank last in the NFL with 149 points — and they have totaled just 39 in their last four games combined. Los Angeles has dropped five of six games since its 3-1 start and three of its last four despite limiting opponents to 50 points in those games.

Can the Saints Put it Together for Four Quarters?

In three of New Orleans’ five losses this year — Week 1 at Oakland in which it allowed 22 fourth-quarter points, Week 10 versus Denver (15 in the fourth) and last week against Carolina (17 in the second), it has been one 15-minute span that has been its undoing. With the exception of their Week 3 loss to Atlanta, the Saints have been competitive in every game, and this weekend is one they must win to have any chance of reviving their post-season chances.

As always, Brees has done his part. The veteran has thrown for 3,277 yards and 26 touchdowns — both NFL highs — and has completed 75 percent of his passes for 911 yards and eight TDs with three interceptions in his last three games. But this is a game tailor-made for New Orleans’ much-maligned defense to step up. The Saints have not held an opponent under 20 points since their 16-13 loss to the New York Giants in Week 2, and they face a quarterback in Goff making his first career road start and second overall. If both sides can put together a 60-minute effort, it should result in a Saints victory.

Gurley Is Overdue for a Breakout Game

Call it the sophomore jinx, but Rams running back Todd Gurley has not enjoyed his second year in the NFL. After the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft burst onto the scene with four consecutive 100-yard games in his first four pro starts en route to finishing with 1,106 yards, Gurley has reached the century mark just once in his last 18 games and that came last season. This is mainly because defenses are keying on him since former starting quarterback Case Keenum and now Goff in his limited sample size have done little to make defenses respect them.

Gurley did bust loose for a 24-yard touchdown run last week against Miami, but his other 19 carries resulted in only 52 yards. He’s averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and been stuffed for losses on 23 of his 187 attempts this year — Gurley had negative yards on 27 carries in 229 attempts in 2015 — and the Saints will present a challenge since they held the Broncos and Panthers to a combined 153 rushing yards on 64 attempts.

Why I’m Taking THE UNDER

In Keenum’s last three games under center, the Rams averaged 36.69 yards per point. While it improved to 22.7 with Goff last week, that four-week average of 30.54 yards per point is just ghastly to look at, even with the prospect of facing a porous Saints defense. Los Angeles has scored 17 or more points just three times this season, most recently in their 31-28 loss to Detroit in Week 6, and it has scored exactly one touchdown in each of its last four games.

Additionally, Goff had the creature comforts of home in his first professional start. He’ll get no such kid gloves this week since the Superdome can get loud in a hurry if the Saints start fast. The Rams have enough quality on defense to force New Orleans into time-consuming drives, and that, coupled with their ineffectiveness on offense leads to my recommendation to take THE UNDER of 46 points at -115 at the Bovada Sportsbook.


Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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