Things are hotting up in the NFL 2023 season and the third to last week of the regular campaign begins on Thursday night when two wildcard chasers in the NFC battle it out when the Los Angeles Rams host the New Orleans Saints.
The Rams currently hold the final wildcard spot in the NFC but they will be surpassed by the Saints should they lose this match as both go into it with 7-7 records for the year. The Saints will also move top of the NFC South with a win so there is plenty at stake here.
Los Angeles Rams
A season which started nicely was in danger of going nowhere for the Los Angeles Rams when they were 3-6 five weeks ago but to their credit they have won four of their last five outings and only went down in overtime in the other so they are powering home in the regular season. They are in control of their own destiny in terms of a wildcard spot but need to win out from here to guarantee an extension to their season.
The Rams have been pretty good offensively in this recent run. They have put up 28 points or more in their last four matches and you suspect if they do that again here then they are entitled to be tough to beat. That has been a good effort because they had to blood some younger receivers into the passing game. One concern is that teams are scoring fairly regularly on the Rams so that makes them vulnerable in close matches when the opponents have the ball late on.
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New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are involved in a right ding dong battle for the NFC South title and the schedule gives them the chance to put the pressure on the other teams in the race if they can come out on top in this contest. Being on the road on a short week is never the easiest thing in the league, especially this late in the season when teams are a little more banged up but the incentive is certainly there to rouse themselves if they can.
The Saints go into this match off the back of successive wins to get them back to 7-7 for the year. You would imagine they are going to need to win at least two of their last three to extend their season, whether that is by winning the division or getting a playoff spot. The recent wins are a positive but you can’t really say that they beat anything in the Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants who have just seven wins in 28 matches between them. They’ll need better here but they should have a bit of confidence behind them.
I think this is a good spot for the Los Angeles Rams. Their offense has suddenly caught fire and now they take on a team who play indoors at home and have to go on the road and play outdoors on a short week here, a team who could be flattered by beating very little in the last couple of weeks. In the three matches before that the Saints conceded 27 to Minnesota, 24 to Atlanta and 33 to the Detroit Lions and I think the Rams’ offense matches up to those.
Los Angeles have put up more than 24 points in their last four matches and I think they can make that five on the spin here. They have two good receiving options for Matt Stafford to find and a running back who balances this offense nicely and the longer the game goes on we tend to see defences tire on Thursday nights, understandably on the short week and should that happen to New Orleans I would imagine the Rams will butter their score late on. Whenever they do it, I expect them to go past 24.5 points here.
Back Los Angeles Rams – Over 24.5 points for a 3/10 stake at 1.95 with Betway