One of the NFL’s newest rivalries is in the spotlight on Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams host the New Orleans Saints, exclusively live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event. Here is what to expect…
Story of the game
On this week’s Inside The Huddle podcast, NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche shared that Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan said to him: “All that smoke we usually have for our rivals Atlanta – that is going to the Rams.”
One of the NFL’s newest rivalries stems from two thrilling encounters last season – and all the discussion around them. After New Orleans came out on top of a 45-35 touchdown-fest in the regular season, Saints head coach Sean Payton singled out Rams cornerback Marcus Peters as someone they were looking to exploit.
Those comments did not sit well with Peters, who said after the game: “Tell Sean Payton keep talking that s***, we’re going to see him soon. You feel me?
“I liked what he was saying on the sidelines too. So I’ll tell [him] ‘Keep talking that s*** and I hope you see me soon. You feel me?’
“And then we’re going to have a nice little bowl of gumbo together.”
Despite the two playing it down in the build-up to an NFC rematch in New Orleans, the Rams winning in controversial fashion – a blown no-call on a pass interference preventing the Saints from getting a late first down which may have won them the game – Wyche has said the “bad blood” is most definitely still there.
Will Blackmon pointed out that: “The [Saints] took the defeat way too personal, though. Even the state sued!” Indeed, a lawsuit was filed against the NFL over the no-call, but was subsequently dismissed before the season.
Seasons so far
Last Monday night, the Saints (1-0) opened their season with a 30-28 thriller – and early game of the year candidate – as they toppled the Texans with a last-second Wil Lutz field goal.
Drew Brees orchestrated a surgical six-play, 35-yard drive with 37 seconds left to get his team into field goal range in vintage fashion.
8:22 Highlights as New Orleans won a thriller over the Houston Texans in Week One
Los Angeles (1-0) travelled to Carolina and held off the Panthers 30-27. Despite Malcolm Brown vulturing two touchdowns, Todd Gurley managed 101 yards on 15 touches and had a fantastic fourth quarter.
Jared Goff didn’t have his finest day (23/39, 186 yards, one touchdown, one pick) but he tossed a fourth-quarter score and the defense stepped up when it mattered most.
Ones to watch
It’s a joy to watch these head coach-quarterback duos in action, and on ITH, Vince Young and Blackmon expressed their thoughts on the two situations.
Young said: “I see Drew Brees winning MVP this year. I still see the old guy out there slinging that ball around, still in great shape, communicating well and leading his team out to battle every year.
“You see that in a lot of quarterbacks but there is something very special about Brees to me and I have a lot of respect for him.
“I’m just happy to see he is still going as him and Sean Payton‘s chemistry is doing well – getting touchdowns and getting the guys a lot of wins.”
Meanwhile, Blackmon lauded the Rams’ attack, saying: “I think Jared Goff and Sean McVay‘s relationship is phenomenal. You can see the immediate growth from when McVay took the job there. Immediately, the team became better.
“I had the pleasure of playing in Washington when McVay was the offensive coordinator and he had the same relationship with Kirk Cousins.
“We were watching McVay on the play-call – and he’s on the headset talking to Kirk all the way down until the last second with what’s going on and what to do.
“Eventually it took a while for Kirk to take ownership – because the one criticism for him was: once the play broke down, what to do now?
“Kirk eventually started making that adjustment on his own, and the same thing with Goff eventually starting doing that on his own as well.”