By Cedric Williams
When the Los Angeles Rams return to the Memorial Coliseum for Sunday’s matchup of division leaders against the New Orleans Saints, they could find themselves without a pair of their key starters.
Wide receiver Robert Woods, who leads the Rams in targets, receptions, and receiving yards, and is tied for the team-lead in receiving touchdowns, will definitely not play on Sunday. He has a severe shoulder injury and was officially listed as out.
Los Angeles could find itself without one of its key defensive starters as well, as cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, who didn’t practice with the team at all this week, was listed as doubtful. That could be a major blow for the Rams defense, which will be facing the NFL’s No. 1-ranked offense in the Saints, led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.
The 8-2 Saints average a league-best 415.7 yards per game, with more than 270 of those yards coming from the Brees-led passing game. New Orleans is also ranked third in rushing yards (144.0 per game) and points scored (30.2 per game), so being short any of its starters will be tough to take for the Rams.
On the positive side, the Rams do believe that cornerback Kayvon Webster, who cleared the concussion protocol this week, will be available to play on Sunday. Rams head coach Sean McVay told the media on Friday that Webster will be “good to go.”
A very excited Webster spoke for himself on Friday, and all said he expected to play on Sunday.
“Everthing’s good,” Webster said. “Back to regularly scheduled programming.”
The Saints also released their official injury report on Friday and had two of their defensive starters listed as out for Sunday. Defensive backs Marshon Lattimore (ankle) and Ken Crawley (abdomen) won’t play, which is a tough loss for the red-hot Saints, who have won eight games in a row.
Most experts believe New Orleans will especially miss Lattimore, a rookie cornerback from Ohio State, who was having a sensational season. Following last week’s huge comeback win over the Washington Redskins, Lattimore led the Saints in passes defensed (9), while ranking second in solo tackles (31) and interceptions (2).