(CBS Los Angeles/CBS Local) — The New Orleans Saints come to Los Angeles to face the Rams, in what’s been billed as a rematch of the the 2018 NFC Championship. As football fans certainly remember, that game turned on a controversial pass interference non-call. What gets lost is that both teams had a chance to win after the defining play, and the Rams are the team that pulled it out.
The Rams also won a close one in Charlotte against the Panthers in Week 1. The 30-27 triumph saw an unspectacular Jared Goff do enough, going 23-39 for 186 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. Todd Gurley split time with Malcolm Brown. While Gurley picked up more yards (14 carries for 97 yards), Brown (11 carries for 53 yards) found the end zone twice. The Rams defense couldn’t slow Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who turned 19 carries into 128 yards and two TDs. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald was uncharacteristically quiet, turning in just one tackle.
While the Rams led their game much of the way, the Saints climbed back into theirs in the second half, then pulled out a close one. They have some last-minute Drew Brees magic and a long field goal to thank. But Brees had pretty big day overall, throwing for 370 yards while completing 32 of 43 attempts. Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr. both topped 100 receiving yards, while Alvin Kamara turned 20 touches into 169 total yards.
Can the Rams win again in Week 2?
A lot will depend on Jared Goff. And SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein sees improvement from Goff. “At home, where he had 22 touchdowns, three interceptions last year, I think he plays a lot better.”
Revenge may also be a factor, with the Saints still sore about missing the Super Bowl last season. But as Harstein notes, “the Rams are also not liking the talk about how they didn’t deserve to be in the Super Bowl… It can kind of play both ways.”
For all the analysis and ongoing storylines, the Saints-Rams matchup may simply come down to scheduling. Hartstein elaborates, “[the Saints] Coming off a very tight Monday night game. They have to travel cross-country, short week. I think the advantage is with the Rams.”
The Rams face the Saints Sunday @ 1:25 PT.