NEW ORLEANS — The Saints and Rams are preparing for a rematch with the Super Bowl on the line. A few key match-ups could be the difference between victory and defeat.
From the Saints standpoint the most critical thing to watch will be Andrus Peat. He did not have a good game in the divisional round against the Eagles and he is going up against two enormously talented inside guys in Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald who might be the single best defensive player in the NFL. How Andrus peat can hold up against those two guys will go a long way to determining how much time Drew Brees has in the middle.
The saints did a great job neutralizing Donald and that front the first time through.
Another thing to watch -- that I think is going to be very interesting -- Drew Brees threw for 346 yard s in Game 1, Mike Thomas caught passes for 211 yards. Almost the entire game Marcus Peters was covering Thomas.
That may not happen again because the Rams have their No. 1 Cornerback, Aqib Talib, back. Peters is now their second-best guy. Do they keep him on Thomas? Do they put Talib on Thomas? Do they mix and match? All that remains to be seen, but in theory the Rams secondary should be significantly better than it was in Game 1.
On the Saints side, the team didn’t have Tedd Ginn and that almost matches the addition of Talib, but Aqib Talib is an elite NFL CB when he’s playing at his best. He is the kind of guy that could change the outlook of a game -- and remember -- these two teams were tied 35-35 roughly half way through the fourth quarter in Game 1. The saints were able to pull away and win.
Good news on the injury front, Terron Armestead isn’t even listed. Now, he’s not 100 percent, but the fact that he’s a full participant and not even on the injury report is good news. Three offensive linemen were limited at practice. I’d expect to see the full starting five on Sunday. How healthy they are and how well they can play will go a long way to deciding if the Saints will win.