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Saints X-Factors vs Rams

Predicting the X-Factors for the New Orleans Saints in their Week 11 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.

The New Orleans Saints (3-7) need a victory and momentum to be shifted in their favor. A few weeks ago, it appeared New Orleans had turned a corner on the 2022 NFL Regular Season. 

Shutting out the Raiders at home with a tenacious defense and a heavy dose of Alvin Kamara offensively looked like the Saints' game plan moving forward. However, the Black and Gold have taken a complete 180-degree turn and are at a crossroads.

In Week 11, they will battle the defending Super Bowl champions Los Angeles Rams (3-6), who will be without star wide-out Cooper Kupp and potentially quarterback Matthew Stafford. The matchup means a lot to both sides, and both need a win to keep any playoff hope alive.

Below, we predict the New Orleans Saints X-Factors for their Week 11 matchup against the Rams.

Offensive X-Factor:

Running Back - Alvin Kamara


Alvin Kamara is averaging 11.5 touches per game over the past two weeks in the Saints' struggling offense. The vanilla play calling and inability to get Kamara, their best offensive weapon, involved has directly resulted in the poor performances they have had. 

With injuries to the wide receiver room, offensive line, and running backs, the Saints needed to rely on Kamara as the offense's focal point. However, Pete Carmichael has done the exact opposite. Kamara's usage is at a season low, and the five-time Pro-Bowl selection's stats look more like a borderline NFL starting running back.

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The Saints need to control time of possession, something they have failed to do well in recent weeks. That starts with establishing the run game and creating extensions of the run game (screens, swing passes, etc.). If the Saints want 2022 to get any better, a high dosage of No. 41 is a pretty good anecdote. 

Defensive X-Factor:

Linebacker - Demario Davis


At this point in any season, good and bad teams are leaning on their captains to steer the ship down the stretch. That remains true even for the Saints, who are in the bottom five of the NFL according to record. 

New Orleans is far from dead and gone in 2022. With a tight race in the NFC South, the Saints are just a few games from first place and still play all their divisional opponents a second time. For the Saints to slowly climb that ladder, they must take it one game at a time.

Against a potentially depleted Rams team, the New Orleans defense needs to be the team's backbone and keep the Rams' offense off the field for long stretches. Linebacker Demario Davis' instinct and ability to set up the Saints' defense will be crucial, whether it be against a young quarterback or veteran, Matthew Stafford.

Look for Davis and the Saints' defense to swarm around the football and create turnovers. If they do this, I like their chances at home on Sunday.

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