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Rams vs. Saints: How the two teams match up for Sunday's game

Rams vs. Saints: How the two teams match up for Sunday's game
The Rams are still trying to get receiver Tavon Austin more involved in the offense. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

A look at how the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints compare for their game at 10 a.m. Sunday:

Rams pass offense vs. Saints pass defense: Rookie quarterback Jared Goff makes his second start. Last week against Miami, he completed 17 of 31 passes for 134 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. After playing it ultraconservatively against the Dolphins, Rams offensive coordinator Rob Boras is expected to open the playbook. The Rams are still attempting to find a way to get Tavon Austin more involved. He was targeted only twice last week and had one catch. The Saints rank 31st in the NFL against the pass, giving up 280.7 yards per game. End Cameron Jordan has four sacks. 

EDGE: Rams.

Rams run offense vs. Saints run defense: Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that he was considering changes on the offensive line. His team definitely needs a spark. Last week, left tackle Greg Robinson was penalized for a block in the back that nullified an 11-yard scramble for a first down by Goff. Center Tim Barnes did not practice this week but is expected to play. Running back Todd Gurley did not practice Friday because of illness but also is expected to play. Gurley, still looking for a breakout performance, is averaging 59.1 yards rushing per game. Linebacker Craig Robertson has a team-best 90 tackles for the Saints, who rank 14th against the run. 

EDGE: Saints.

Saints pass offense vs. Rams pass defense: Drew Brees is completing 71% of his passes, 26 for touchdowns, with eight interceptions. The 16-year veteran commands the NFL’s top passing offense, which averages 316.8 yards per game. Rookie Michael Thomas, who played at Woodland Hills Taft High, has a team-best 56 catches, five for touchdowns. Brandin Cooks has 51 receptions, six for touchdowns. Willie Snead has four touchdown catches. The Rams rank sixth against the pass, giving up 215.7 yards per game. Last week they collapsed in the final minutes versus Miami. Rams’ Aaron Donald has five sacks. 

EDGE: Saints.

Saints run offense vs. Rams run defense: Running back Mark Ingram was going through concussion protocol but said he expected to play. He is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and has rushed for two touchdowns. Tim Hightower is his backup. Fullback John Kuhn has rushed for three touchdowns. Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree has a team-best 86 tackles for a unit that ranks 16th against the run, giving up 102.6 yards per game. Last week, the Rams did a fairly good job containing Miami running back Jay Ajayi, who has two 200-yard games this season. The Rams should be at full strength along the defensive line. 

EDGE: Rams.

Special teams: The Rams have blocked only one kick this season, but could have more opportunities against a Saints team that has had three blocked, two that resulted in points for the defense. The Saints hired special teams assistant Kevin O’Dea this week to address the issue. Rams punter Johnny Hekker is averaging 46.5 yards per kick and has put 33 of 58 inside the 20-yard line. Greg Zuerlein missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt against Miami, but has made 15 of 18. Saints kicker Wil Lutz is 16 for 22. Four misses came from beyond 50 yards. Thomas Morstead is averaging 49.4 yards per kick. 

EDGE: Rams.

Gary Klein's pick: This is the first of back-to-back trips for the Rams after last week's crushing loss to Miami at the Coliseum. Goff has one game under his belt but this will be the first time playing in a hostile environment with crowd noise that could make it difficult for the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft to command the offense. The Saints are no juggernaut: They are 2-3 at home this season. The challenge for the Rams will be keeping up with a Saints team that has averaged 28.5 points a game. The Rams average a league-worst 14.9. If Goff is passing downfield more, that could help the running game.

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Saints 24, Rams 21

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein

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