NFL Preseason Week One: New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams NFL Pick, Odds, Prediction 8/8/14
New Orleans Saints (0-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-0)
NFL Football: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Edward Jones Dome)
The Line: St. Louis Rams -3 -- Over/Under: 38 See the Latest Odds
TV: NFL Network
The Saints and Rams meet in week one of the preseason in a nationally televised game on NFL Network on Friday night.
The New Orleans Saints returned to form in 2013 finishing with an 11-5 record but losing to the eventual champion Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs. Drew Brees had another stellar season as the Saints ranked 2nd in the league in passing yards and the defense rebounded from a dismal 2012 campaign as Rob Ryan’s addition as defensive coordinator took the squad in the right direction. Gone from the 2013 team are spark plug safety valve Darren Sproles and WR Lance Moore, but the Saints should still be considered a juggernaut offensively with plenty of speed at receiver behind the reliable Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham including Kenny Stills, Robert Meachem and Brandin Cooks. At backup QB the Saints feature journeyman Luke McCown who has logged time on five different teams over 11 years but never been given meaningful minutes in the regular season. Behind him is undrafted Ryan Griffin who worked his way into the preseason roster by working with the practice squad. Head Coach Sean Payton has gone 18-16 in the preseason since 2006, going 6-4 in week one games and most notably going 7-1 in week three (where the starters see the bulk of the action).
USA TODAY Sports
The St. Louis Rams went 7-9 in 2013 but if it weren’t for a 1-5 record against the ultra-competitive NFC West things might have ended up better for this scrappy up and coming team. Sam Bradford’s health is the big question mark for this team as the 5th year starter played in just seven games last year, but when he was on the field he completed 60.7% of his passes. Last year’s defense was stout against the run ranking 9th in the league and also proficient in getting to the quarterback ranking third in the league with 53 sacks. At backup QB the Rams feature journeyman Shaun Hill who has a decent amount of regular season starts under his belt in his career but has largely sat dormant over the past three seasons behind Matthew Stafford in Detroit. Behind Hill is Austin Davis who doesn’t have much experience at all in his second year. The offense appears to have significant depth at the skill positions as this young team has a lot of roster battles to settle before the season begins. Head coach Jeff Fisher is 23-18 in the preseason since 2003 and has gone 8-8 all time in week one matches. Interesting to note is that Fisher is 12-4 all time in game four of the preseason, so look to take the Rams against Miami this year knowing that an otherwise meaningless game might mean a bit more to Fisher in preparing his team.
Drew Brees can certainly put up a quick score in this one but the question is if it holds up as the Rams are the younger team with more chemistry to develop at this stage of the preseason. I’ll take the three points in hopes that the Saints have an easier time scoring out of the gate as the more capable offensive unit.