Saints vs Rams NFL Free Pick & Prediction [12/21/2023]

New Orleans (7-7) at LA Rams (7-7)
When: Thursday, December 21st, 2023
Where: SoFi Stadium,
Inglewood, CA

Time: 8:15 ET | TV: Prime
Opening Odds: Los Angeles -4/44.5

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The Week 16 Thursday Night Football game features two teams on the cusp of making the postseason. Major postseason implications are at stake as the New Orleans Saints visit the Los Angeles Rams from beautiful SoFi Stadium. Both teams enter the game with identical 7-7 records. The Saints are in better position for making the playoffs because of not just the wild card but they also are tied for the NFC South lead with Tampa Bay. The Bucs currently hold the tiebreaker. New Orleans has won two straight after a 24-6 home win over the New York Giants.

Los Angeles can’t win their division since the San Francisco 49ers have already clinched it, but the team stands as the NFC’s final wild card team and win the tiebreaker over New Orleans based on conference winning percentage. Of course, the winner of Thursday’s contest owns the head-to-head tiebreaker and that will trump it all. L.A. has won four of their last five after a 28-20 home win over the Washington Commanders last Sunday.

The Rams franchise – including St. Louis – leads the all-time series 43-35. They played in Week 11 last year in New Orleans and the Saints won 27-20. Andy Dalton, now a backup with Carolina, had a great game, completing 21-of-25 for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Matt Stafford started for the Rams and went 11-for-18 for 159 yards and two scores before leaving with a concussion. He would end up not playing the rest of the season in what was a lost year for the Rams.

The Saints beat a hot Giants team last week despite not having No. 1 WR Chris Olave. Derek Carr, who is having a rough season, was solid on Sunday, throwing three touchdowns with zero turnovers and only five incompletions. Carr is the third player in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards in each of his first 10 career seasons, joining Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson. The Saints rank 21st in red-zone efficiency, but have scored nine touchdowns in their last 10 red-zone trips. Tanoh Kpassagnon had three sacks against New York, and New Orleans totaled seven sacks while holding the Giants to 60 net rushing yards. The Saints will a huge game at Tampa Bay next week.

New Orleans Saints Injury Report [Week 16]

Chris OlaveWRProb Thurs - Ankle - 12/19/23
Lonnie Johnson Jr.CBQues Thurs - Knee - 12/18/23
Ryan RamczykTQues Thurs - Knee - 12/18/23
Carl GrandersonDEQues Thurs - Shoulder - 12/18/23
Cameron JordanDEQues Thurs - Ankle - 12/18/23
Nick SaldiveriOLQues Thurs - Shoulder - 12/18/23
Isaiah FoskeyDEQues Thurs - Quadricep - 12/18/23
Kendre MillerRBOut indefinitely - Ankle - 12/17/23
Malcolm RoachDLOut indefinitely - Knee - 12/6/23
Marcus MayeSOut indefinitely - Shoulder - 12/6/23
Michael ThomasWROut indefinitely - Knee - 11/21/23
Marshon LattimoreCBOut indefinitely - Ankle - 11/25/23
Payton TurnerDEQues Thurs - Toe - 12/18/23
Eno BenjaminRBI-R - Achilles - 8/6/23
Andrew DowellLBI-R - Knee - 8/3/23
Trai TurnerGI-R - Quadricep - 8/3/23

It looked like another lost season for Los Angeles after playing the Super Bowl just a few years ago. They entered the Week 9 bye at 3-6, but now sit in the final wild card spot in the NFC. Stafford threw two more TD passes in the win, his fourth straight game with multiple TD throws and third straight without a pick. The Rams offense has seen a boost by the return of running back Kyren Williams from an ankle injury. He has averaged 124.3 rushing yards in the four games since his return. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp has matched his season high in catches (eight) in each of the last two games, finishing with 111 and 115 yards. The only Rams players not to practice Tuesday were backup cornerback Tre Tomlinson (hamstring) and offensive lineman Joseph Noteboom (foot).

Los Angeles Rams Injury Report [Week 16]

Ahkello WitherspoonDBProb Thurs - Groin - 12/19/23
Rob HavensteinOLProb Thurs - Groin - 12/19/23
Tutu AtwellWRProb Thurs - Concussion - 12/18/23
Joe NoteboomOLQues Thurs - Foot - 12/18/23
Tre'vius TomlinsonDBQues Thurs - Hamstring - 12/18/23
Alex WardLSOut indefinitely - Neck - 12/12/23
Hunter LongTEI-R - Knee - 12/12/23
Duke ShelleyDBOut indefinitely - Hamstring - 11/28/23
Ronnie RiversRBQues Thurs - Knee - 12/19/23
Stetson BennettQBOut indefinitely - Illness - 9/13/23

The Saints have a very solid defense, but the Rams offense is cooking now. Stafford is having another fine season. Kupp has his game back and Williams has sparked the offense with his running. The Saints have beaten up two of the worst teams at home the last two weeks, but things are different on the road. New Orleans has dropped three of their last four away from home and scored less than 20 in each of the setbacks. I’ll back the hot Rams here at home.

Week 16 Staff Selections

Pick: Rams -4