On paper, the New Orleans Saints’ meeting with the winless St. Louis Rams on Sunday looks like a mismatch if there ever was one.
Of course, you can never take anything for granted in the NFL - which the current Saints who were with the team back in 2007 will readily tell you. That year, the Saints were coming off a fourth consecutive victory, a 41-24 bashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars, when they came across the 0-8 Rams and suffered an embarrassing 37-29 loss.
The 0-6 Rams look a lot like that 2007 Rams team, before their shocking upset in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Rams have five touchdowns this season, three fewer than the Saints scored in last Sunday night’s win over the Indianapolis Colts, and their 56 points - the second-lowest total through six games in franchise history - is six points less than the Saints had in a 62-7 clubbing of the Colts.
Running back Steven Jackson has three of the Rams’ five touchdowns.
That doesn’t mean the Saints are thinking about how bad they’re going to beat the Rams - not by any stretch of the imagination.
“We set a standard for how we’re going to play every time out, and it doesn’t matter who you play because this league is too hard,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “There’s too much that goes into it into the preparation throughout the week. You can never look at another team’s record and just assume that’s the type of game it’s going to be.”
Brees moves up
After moving into 14th place in career touchdown passes with five on Sunday night, Brees can climb a couple of more notches in Sunday’s game.
The 32-year-old Brees tossed five scoring passes in the rout of the Colts, giving him 253 for his 11-year career and moving him past Drew Bledsoe (251) for 14th place.
With three more touchdowns, Brees will vault past Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Fouts (254) and Sonny Jurgensen (255) and into 12th place all-time.
Even though running back Mark Ingram (heel) and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee) didn’t practice again Thursday, the Saints got a little bit of good news on the injury front.
Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (ankle) and weakside linebacker Jonathan Casillas (knee) practiced on a limited basis, however, after being held out of Wednesday’s workout.
Also working limited on Thursday were tackle Zach Strief (knee) and tight end David Thomas (concussion). Tight ends Jimmy Graham (ankle) and John Gilmore (neck/shoulder) and strongside linebacker Will Herring (hamstring) had full participation after being limited Wednesday.
Bradford held out
For the Rams, quarterback Sam Bradford likely won’t play against the Saints after he was sidelined again Thursday by a high ankle sprain that forced him to sit out last week’s game with the Dallas Cowboys.
While coach Steve Spagnuolo said Bradford was day-to-day, the second-year pro walked with a protective boot on his foot Wednesday.
Other key players missing Thursday’s practice were wide receiver Danario Alexander (hamstring), linebacker Brady Poppinga (calf) and tackle Jason Smith (neck/concussion).
The Saints had two firsts this season in the win over the Colts as they didn’t turn the ball over and their defense came up
with three takeaways, helping them win the turnover battle for the first time this season at plus-3.
That came one week after the Saints had four giveaways in a 26-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Under Sean Payton, the Saints are now 16-0 in regular-season play when they have no turnovers and are 2-0 in the postseason.
The Saints win over Colts was the most lopsided result in the six-year history of Sunday Night Football on NBC.
The Saints led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, 34-7 at halftime and 48-7 after three quarters. The 62 points scored by the Saints tied the record for most points scored in a game since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
Voting ends Friday
Fans have until 11 a.m. Friday to vote on the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors with Brees and Ingram among the finalists in the respective categories.
Fans can vote online at http://www.NFL.com/FedEx and www.NFL.com/rookies. The winners will be announced later Friday.