Rookie Cooper Kupp looks set to make an impact for the LA Rams when they host New Orleans in the NFL on Sunday.
New Orleans at Los Angeles Ram (2125GMT, Sky Sports Main Event and Action)
The big games will start to flow with some regularity now and two high-scoring divisional leaders meet in California for Sky Sports’ second live offering on Sunday evening.
The Saints somehow managed to extend their winning streak to eight games after a late rally in Washington last week but the Rams found Minnesota way too strong and will now attempt to show some resolve after a 24-7 defeat.
The Rams have been one of the surprise stories of the season, to be honest the Saints aren’t far behind on that front, and rookie head coach Sean McVay took the blame for the performance but feels his side can fix the issue and move on.
There is no shame at all to be shut down by an excellent Vikings’ defense and some of the salty veterans inside the locker room feel the experience could be of benefit further down the line this season.
"We need some adversity," said offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth and I get exactly where he is coming from, as this young but improving outfit are sure to have learnt plenty playing against a top team in a hostile atmosphere.
The course of the game could have altered if rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp had not fumbled the ball on the Minnesota one-yard line and the youngster out of Eastern Washington is going to need a short memory with Robert Woods now sidelined by a shoulder injury so Kupp’s involvement is likely to increase significantly as a result.
He has the opportunity to go out and shine too against a beaten-up Saints’ secondary which will be missing outstanding first-year cornerback Marshon Lattimore and starter Ken Crawley.
Such is the problem, New Orleans have been forced to add a couple of players in the week for some depth with PJ Williams and De’Vante Harris expected to step into the starting roles.
The visiting rushing defense has struggled too but should get a boost with linebacker AJ Klein and hard-hitting safety Kenny Vaccaro both on track to return from injury but a healthy dose of Todd Gurley, who had a quiet time against the Vikings (37 yards), will more than likely help highlight why they are ranked 20th when it comes to stopping the run.
The equivalent unit of the Rams is even worse (28th) and will not be looking forward to trying to keep a lid on Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram so there is a realistic chance this develops into a contest where both teams take a turn to put a touchdown on the scoreboard.
Kupp appeals as a very lively candidate in that department following last week’s error and the usually sure-handed wideout is very much on my radar in the anytime market.
Prediction: New Orleans 28-31 Los Angeles Rams
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Posted at 1950 GMT on 25/11/17.