Under normal circumstances a team fighting for a solid playoff position taking on a home team that’s been eliminated from playoff content wouldn’t be a game you’d want to tune into. But today’s live NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams has some intangibles and history that don’t often befall such matchups. The Saints, with a 10-3 record and battling for a prime seed in the NFC playoff picture, have played better at home this season than on the road, and today’s game takes place in St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome. The Rams, with a 5-8 record and zero chance to sniff the postseason, have a history of playing the Saints close and even beat them in 2011 when the teams last met. Because of this, the Saints aren’t a unanimous pick among the oddsmakers at ESPN, though you can watch Rams vs Saints game online using one of several different tools to see if they know what they’re talking about.
ESPN had a great observation this week for those who’ve knocked the Saints this season for being so bad on the road. In reality, the Saints have actually managed a .500 record away from the Superdome, and according to the Worldwide Leader, the Saints have the best road record (24-14) in the NFL since 2009. So rather than Drew Brees playing poorly or the Saints offense not clicking on the road, it’s more a matter of the team playing at a normal level when traveling rather than the “super-human” level at which they play in New Orleans.
One of the biggest reasons the Saints can rack up so many points at home is the passing game of Drew Brees, who’s having a career year this season. Through 13 games, Brees has completed 353 passes for 4,107 yards and 33 touchdowns with a level of efficiency that’s landed him a #4 QBR in the process. But watch Rams vs Saints to see how Brees handles the defense from a team that would love to play the role of spoiler.
The Rams defense is tough with its pass rush, even as its secondary has been struggling. Because of the Rams’ rush, all-pro Brees is likely to feel some heat today, especially as he tries to break his habit of throwing two interceptions against the Rams, as he’s done in each of his five career games against them. It’s therefore important as you watch Rams vs Saints game online to keep an eye on the Saints ground game. With Brees having such a big year, nobody in New Orleans’ backfield has really broken out. Pierre Thomas has the most rushing yards for the Saints (500), and their next closest back, Mark Ingram, has only managed 278 yards. Neither back is expected to break for a 100-yard game today, but Brees and head coach Sean Peyton will undoubtedly call more rushing plays to keep St. Louis’ pass rush honest.
Perhaps the Rams’ biggest hope today comes in the intangible, off-field elements. Like for instance, the fact that New Orleans has dropped three of its last four road games, or the thought that the Saints can technically afford to lose. New Orleans can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Rams, and in fact if they win out they could win the division title and a first-round bye. But even if the Saints lose, they’ll still be able to nab a playoff spot with victories in the last two weeks of the season against Carolina and the Buccaneers, and both of those victories seem likely.
Seeing the Saints fight for the playoffs against a Rams team that’s really going nowhere is a bit anticlimactic. But it’s still worth it to try and watch Rams vs Saints game online via DirecTV’s website. Those who have the NFL Sunday Ticket with MAX Package, which requires a subscription, can watch the live streaming version free of any game, including today’s 4:25 EST / 1:25 PST NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams.