Rams vs. New Orleans Saints matchups, how to watch and prediction

Rams receiver Allen Robinson tries to make a touchdown catch during a loss to the Dallas Cowboys in October.
Rams receiver Allen Robinson tries to make a touchdown catch during a loss to the Dallas Cowboys in October. The Rams will try to put their recent struggles behind them against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Breaking down how the Rams (3-6) and the New Orleans Saints (3-7) match up heading into their game at 10 a.m. PST on Sunday at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. The game will be shown on Fox (Ch. 11) and streamed on the Fox Sports app and NFL+.


When Rams have the ball

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford rolls out for a pass against the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 18.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Quarterback Matthew Stafford will return to the lineup after sitting out last week’s defeat by the Arizona Cardinals because he was in concussion protocol. Stafford has passed for eight touchdowns with eight interceptions — statistics that pale compared with last season, when he passed for 41 touchdowns with 17 interceptions.]


Star receiver Cooper Kupp will be sidelined at least four games after having surgery for an ankle injury suffered against the Cardinals. Allen Robinson, Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Brandon Powell, Tutu Atwell and Lance McCutcheon will try to fill the void. Look for tight end Tyler Higbee to be Stafford’s favorite target. Higbee has 44 catches.

Center Brian Allen will be out because of a thumb injury, so Coleman Shelton probably will start in his place for an offensive line that will have a different lineup for the 10th time in 10 games.

Rookie running back Kyren Williams got his first NFL carry last week and could get more as the Rams try to jump-start a running game that ranks last in the league.

Linebacker Demario Davis has a team-best six sacks for the Saints. End Cameron Jordan is out because of an eye injury. Safety Tyrann Mathieu has the Saints’ only two interceptions.


When Saints have the ball

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt, left, chases New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt, left, chases New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton on Nov. 13.
(Keith Srakocic / Associated Press)


Andy Dalton will start at quarterback for a Saints team that also features backup Jameis Winston. Dalton, a 12th-year pro, has passed for 11 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Versatile Taysom Hill, who is listed as a tight end but also plays quarterback, has rushed for five touchdowns. He also caught a touchdown pass and has passed for a touchdown. Running back Alvin Kamara, one of the NFL’s most dynamic playmakers, has rushed for a touchdown and has two touchdown catches.

A few weeks ago, the Saints lost star receiver Michael Thomas for the season because of a toe injury. Chris Olave is their top receiver with 46 catches, two for touchdowns. Tight end Juwan Johnson has a team-best four touchdown catches. Receiver Jarvis Landry is among other targets.

The Rams continue to be turnover-starved. They have not intercepted a pass or recovered a fumble in three games, and they have forced only one turnover in the last seven.

Lineman Aaron Donald has a team-best five sacks. Lineman Greg Gaines returns after sitting out against the Cardinals because of an ankle injury. Linebackers Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones are the top tacklers, and star cornerback Jalen Ramsey is the leader of the secondary.


When they kick

Powell, who returned a punt for a touchdown last season, is looking to break one. He is averaging 19.1 yards per kickoff return, 8.1 yards per punt return.

Matt Gay has made 12 of 13 field-goal attempts for the Rams. Riley Dixon is averaging 41 net yards per punt.

Saints kicker Wil Lutz has made 15 of 20 field-goal attempts. Blake Gillikin has averaged 42.7 yards per punt.

By the numbers: Per-game averages except for sacks, turnovers. NFL rank in parentheses:

Gary Klein’s prediction: The Rams are struggling, but the Saints are worse. The Rams have never lost four games in a row under coach Sean McVay. In a season of firsts for him, McVay should be able to avoid that one.