The Rams and Saints will meet Sunday in what will be a highly anticipated NFC Championship game rematch. Much of the talk early on will be about the controversial no call in last years title game that in all likelihood altered the outcome of that game, but lets take a look at some key players for the Rams heading into this matchup.
Cooper Kupp – WR
Many would argue that when Kupp got injured last year, that was a big reason for Jared Goff‘s decline towards the end of the year. Kupp has come back and in week one showed that he is close to being 100% again.
Kupp finished the opener with seven receptions for 46 yards, and while those numbers may appear pedestrian, there is a clear connection between Goff and Cupp. Expect Cupp to have a big impact on this one.
Todd Gurley – RB
After one week, it appears that Gurley’s usage is going to be a topic of conversation throughout the season. Obviously, it is only one week, but last week against Carolina, Gurley had five carries for eight yards in the first half. In addition, only one reception in the first half.
Malcolm Brown was the back of choice for Sean McVay for most of the game. Gurley’s knee issue has been speculated upon for much of the offseason and heading into the season. Gurley’s touches increased in the second half, specifically in the fourth quarter so it will be interesting to see how McVay chooses to deploy his running backs.
Marcus Peters – CB
After a regular-season loss to the aforementioned Saints, Peters took offense to some of the comments from the sideline from Saints head coach Sean Payton. Peters ultimately got the last laugh with the win in the title game, but it’s easy to imagine that Peters circled this rematch as soon as the schedule was released. Don’t expect Peters to follow Michael Thomas all over the field, but you know Payton will look to exploit the aggressive corner.
Cory Littleton – LB
Littleton caused two turnovers in the week one win against the Panthers and he will be key for the Rams in this one. Littleton should be all over the field on Sunday. His biggest assignment will be slowing down Alvin Kamara out of the backfield.
Aaron Donald – DT
Donald is arguably the best player in the NFL. He causes havoc for any team he goes up against and Sunday will no different. Even if his stat sheet would say otherwise, Donald commands a lot of attention. Expect the Saints to put multiple bodies on Donald and that still may not be enough to slow him down. Drew Brees likes to get the ball out quickly and on time, but even with that being the case, Donald is so explosive that he can get back there before Brees can get it out.
Both teams won their week one games, and look to build upon those performances. Hopefully the conversation after this one will be about how great of a game it was, and not about the referees and Al Riveron.