The Los Angeles Rams are 1-0, but it came the hard way, but now they face another difficult challenge in hosting the New Orleans Saints.
The Los Angeles Rams managed to escape with a win over the Carolina Panthers with a win on Sunday, beating the Panthers 30-27.
It was a sloppy game by the Rams, where they were forced to “win ugly” over the Panthers, but a win is a win, no matter what.
Sometimes, NFL teams have to do this to get by, and depending on your perspective, Sunday’s game can be seen as sloppy play by a good team that didn’t play in the preseason or signs of the defending NFC champions preparing to represent their conference in the big game again.
Believe it or not, the reality is a little bit of both for the Rams.
In fact, let’s take a look at some changes that need to be made by Los Angeles as they prepare to play the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in what is expected to be a tough rematch from last January.
McCaffrey torched the Rams, and Kamara may do the same
Christian McCaffrey, or “Run CMC” as they sometimes call him, had a career day on Sunday with 209 total yards and two touchdowns.
Luckily, the Rams didn’t lose the game, but if they did, McCaffrey would have been the reason why.
Unfortunately for the Rams, the Saints have their offensive weapon running back in Alvin Kamara, and he may be better than McCaffrey.
Kamara had 96 receiving yards on 11 catches in January when the Rams beat the Saints in the NFC Championship game.
Will the Rams have a better plan to stop him than they did in January, or will the defense struggle to contain last week against McCaffrey?
Jared Goff was sloppy and missed throws
Rams quarterback Jared Goff did not play great in Week 1, going 23 of 39 for 186 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
More than the stat line, though, Goff missed some wide open throws, either by making a poor throw to an open receiver, or more regularly, not seeing the open receiver streaking across the field.
The good news is that the scheme is working. Receivers are getting open and the plays are there to be made, but Goff still needs to play better.
The battles with the Saints tend to be shootouts, and Drew Brees will not miss those throws.
Hopefully, a week of preparation with a game under his belt will help Goff settle down and play like we all know he can play.
Despite signing a massive deal a few weeks ago, considering his last two games were a poor performance in the Super Bowl and Sunday’s game against the Panthers, it is not a stretch to say Goff still has something to prove.
Ram’s defense gave up 27 points, despite forcing three turnovers
The win by the Rams has a lot of fans talking about how well their defense played, and there is some truth to that.
To top it off, the team was opportunistic to the tune of forcing three turnovers, all because of heads up hustle plays by the team.
And yet, despite forcing three turnovers, the defense of the Rams still gave up 27 points in the win.
Even if seven of those points were due to a blocked punt that gave the Panthers a short field, there’s still no excuse since some of the missed throws by Newton are ones that Brees will not, .
Not to mention, 27 points to the Panthers may result in 45 points by the Saints.
Can the defense step up and contain Brees, putting pressure on him in the pocket and make every drive difficult? Unfortunately, this seems like the only way it happens for Los Angeles.
Special teams was sub par
Johnny Hekker had a punt blocked against the Panthers, leading to a touchdown.
Greg Zeurlein missed a crucial field goal that would have put much more pressure on the Panthers at the end of the game.
These are the mistakes that fans are not used to seeing the Rams special teams unit make.
In division rival games, special teams play becomes all the more important. Can the team get it fixed by Sunday? We will find out in a few days.