Dec 2, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) celebrates a touchdown reception against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams Vs. New Orleans Saints: 3 Key Matchups


 

Most will not give this game a second thought, with their mindset fixated on the St. Louis Rams record instead of their performance over the last four games. In fairness, the Saints are still in a vicious battle in the NFC, stuck between fighting for the No.1 seed in the conference and attempting to hold off the quickly-raising Carolina Panthers. Meanwhile, the Rams are playing for “pride,” with a majority of the fan base likely more interested in the outcome of the Redskins-Falcons game today. Still, the players on this squad have undoubtedly embraced the role of “spoiler,” and would love to finally show-up a high-ranking NFC power team.

Like with any game, there will be a myriad of matchups that will eventually determine the winner of the game this evening. However, here are Ramblin’ Fan’s three “key” matchups of the day…

 

Jimmy Graham vs. Alec Ogletree

Say what you want about “the Gonk,” as Tony Kornheiser would say, but Jimmy Graham has been the most dominating player at any position in the NFL this season. Graham has 74 receptions for 1,046 yards, and leads the league with 14 touchdown catches. The St. Louis Rams attempted to use T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod on the Cardinals tight ends last week, leading to Jim Dray and Rob Housler finishing second and third on the team in receiving yards. This week, Tim Walton Jeff Fisher will likely rely heavily on Alec Ogletree to man-up against Jimmy Graham. Ogletree’s two best coverage games of the season have come against the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears, both of which have top-tier receiving tight ends. Let’s hope he can hold his own against the “best of the best” at the position.

 

Robert Quinn vs. Charles Brown

Charles Brown is currently ranked 52nd overall among offensive tackles in the NFL this season, out of 79 qualifying players; 69th in pass protection. Meanwhile, Robert Quinn is ranked No.1 among 4-3 defensive ends, and is averaging 5.6 quarterback disruptions per game this season. The “Black Lightning” in the Rams defense has eaten lesser offensive tackles for lunch so far this season, and will need to come up big in this game if the Rams hope to slow this dynamic Saints’ offense…

 

Cameron Jordan vs. Jake Long

Much like Robert Quinn, Cameron Jordan has made a habit of demolishing not-so-great offensive tackles, including three sacks against the Carolina Panthers and eight disruptions against the Atlanta Falcons. However, Jake Long certainly does not fit into the “lesser” category, currently ranked No.5 overall among offensive tackles, with an invitation to the Pro Bowl likely waiting for him at the end of the season. Long has already faced off against several of the top pass rushing defensive ends in the NFL this season, and has more than held his own. My guess is that New Orleans will likely look to switch Jordan to the left defensive end spot on obvious passing downs, something they have done in a couple of game this season, and just avoid the stone wall that is Jake Long.

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