The New Orleans Saints are coming off back-to-back losses in Weeks 9 and 10. They hope to halt their slide and return to the win column as they face the Los Angeles Rams at home in Week 11 of the 2022 NFL season. A win here can lift the Saints out of the cellar in the NFC South. Here are our Saints Week 11 predictions as they take on the Rams.
The Saints have struggled to win recently, losing four of their previous five games. That includes a 20-10 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. Quarterback Andy Dalton had a bad day in the pocket. He completed just 17-of-27 passes for 174 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions, and a 23.9 QB rating. Ouch.
Meanwhile, in QB Matthew Stafford’s absence, the Rams also struggled last week. The defending champions gained only 256 total yards in a 27-17 defeat to rival team the Arizona Cardinals.
With all these in mind, here are our four bold predictions for the Saints in their Week 11 game against the Rams.
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4. Andy Dalton starts but shows a mediocre performance
Despite rumors of a quarterback change, Saints head coach Dennis Allen said that Andy Dalton will continue to start this week against the Rams. Since Week 4, Dalton has started for the 3-7 Saints. In that span, he has gone 141-for-217 for 1,559 yards, 11 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
Keep in mind that only twice this season has Dalton finished with a triple-digit passer rating. He is also coming off back-to-back games with passer ratings of 84.0 or lower. Not surprisingly, the Saints have limited his workload, as he hasn’t attempted more than 30 passes since Week 7. Dalton also goes up against a tough Rams defense. Since Week 5, the Rams have ranked eighth in passing yards allowed per game and have allowed the NFL’s lowest explosive pass rate.
We project him to finish with a total of not more than 220 yards with one touchdown and one INT. He will have another sub-90 passer rating performance.
3. Chris Olave impresses in Week 11
With wide receiver Jarvis Landry returning to the field for the first time since Week 4, Saints rookie wideout Chris Olave was only targeted five times. That’s his lowest number since Week 1. Olave had been the offense’s go-to target while Landry and Michael Thomas were out. Now, while Landry surpassed Olave last week, we feel this trend won’t continue.
Overall, Olave has a target share of 26.1 percent and a yardage share of 40 percent. Those are close to elite metrics. He’s been struggling recently, though, gaining under 70 yards in two of their last three games. We see that just as a hiccup, given Olave’s use remains high. He also ranks second among wideouts in deep targets and twenty-first in red zone targets. Olave will be tested here by both Jalen Ramsey and David Long, but we still have the rookie putting up impressive numbers. How do 80+ yards and a TD sound?
2. Alvin Kamara puts up under 100 total yards
Saints RB Alvin Kamara exploded on 27 total touches for 158 yards and three touchdowns three weeks ago. In the two games since, however, he has touched the ball only 23 times for 111 yards and no touchdowns. This week, Kamara faces a Rams defense that ranks 29th in rushing yards allowed per game. On the surface, that might bode well for Kamara, but we also expect a defensive battle here at the Caesars Superdome. As such, we may yet see another potentially disappointing outing from Kamara.
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Keep in mind that Kamaracarries an average of 18.9 touches and 100.9 total yards per game. He also has the second-highest snap share, the fifth-highest opportunity share, and the ninth-highest weighted opportunities for all RBs in the NFL this season. The only issue is his continued lack of usage in the red zone, where he ranks 36th in touches. In fact, he has only seen two red zone opportunities since Week 8.
On the flip side, running backs continue to struggle against the Rams, which is what makes us doubt if Kamara can go over 100 yards in this game.
1. Saints get a huge win at home
With Rams QB Matthew Stafford still in concussion protocol, backup John Wolford is likely to make his second straight start for the Rams. Los Angeles’ offense has been awful for the majority of the season, but it has been even worse with Wolford at the helm. In fact, they have generated only 190 passing yards and 66 rushing yards over 12 drives with him under center.
On the other side of the field, the Saints honestly have not looked much better than the Rams. However, New Orleans does have three different quarterbacks to choose from. Furthermore, the Saints’ offense appears to be more complete now that the Rams have placed top wideout Cooper Kupp on injured reserve.
There isn’t much reason to enjoy the Rams without their best offensive tandem. Even if the Saints have a lot of holes in their game, they should still pull out a big win here against the visiting champs.