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Saffold, Kendricks and McDonald must deliver for Rams

Saffold, Kendricks and McDonald must deliver for Rams
Rams guard Rodger Saffold gets ready to take the field before a game earlier this season. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

RAMS WHO MUST DELIVER ...

Offensive lineman Rodger Saffold. The versatile veteran, who in his career has played every position on the line except center, has started 10 games at left guard next to struggling tackle Greg Robinson. The Rams need Saffold to step up and lead a unit that must protect rookie quarterback Jared Goff and pave the way for back Todd Gurley.

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Tight end Lance Kendricks. He committed a costly penalty late in last week's loss to Miami, two weeks after dropping a certain touchdown pass at the Coliseum against Carolina. Kendricks did, however, catch four passes against the Dolphins, and the Rams need him to be a reliable veteran presence for rookie Goff.

Safety T.J. McDonald. The Rams intercepted one pass against the Dolphins but they could have had several more, including one that was knocked out of McDonald's grasp. McDonald helped set the aggressive tone against Miami and needs to do the same against Saints receivers who are deployed all over the field.

SAINTS TO WATCH OUT FOR ...

Tight end Coby Fleener. Receivers Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas and Willie Snead get most of the attention, but Fleener also has been productive for quarterback Drew Brees. Fleener has 33 catches for 402 yards and has scored three touchdowns.

Running back Mark Ingram. With 16th-year quarterback Drew Brees directing the NFL's top passing offense, it's easy to forget about Ingram, who was going through concussion protocol last week but has said he expects to play. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama is averaging 4.7 yards a carry and has rushed for two touchdowns.

Defensive end Cameron Jordan. The former California star has four sacks and has forced a fumble for a defense that has not played poorly as of late (ranked 14th against the rush, and 27th overall). The 6-foot-4, 287-pound Jordan, the 24th player chosen in the 2011 draft, would no doubt like to make it uncomfortable for Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in the draft from Cal.

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