The St. Louis Rams face their toughest challenge yet Sunday at 3:05 PM CST, when they travel to New Orleans for Week 14 to face the defending champion Saints, second in the NFC South at 9-3. The Rams head to the Superdome after two consecutive road wins against weaker teams, while the Saints' much-improved defense had some road hiccups in their 30-27 win against the Dallas Cowboys and 34-30 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Rams will need a better performance from Rookie of the Year candidate Sam Bradford, who stumbled a little against the Cardinals amid the rapid improvements he's made over his rookie season. Bradford was 18-for-29 with 187 passing yards and an interception last Sunday, just the third time the Rams have given him fewer than 30 passing attempts. Luckily for the Rams, they were able to move from Bradford for good reason—Steven Jackson had one of his better games of 2010, running the ball 28 times for 102 yards and just his fourth touchdown.
The Saints have been incredibly tough on quarterbacks this season, allowing just eight touchdowns on 2391 passing yards, so Jackson's performance will be crucial if the Rams hope to keep pace with the Saints' offense, which is less high-flying than in years past but still dangerous. Rookie Chris Ivory is averaging more than five yards per carry in his 10 games this season, which has proved to be a boon for Drew Brees, who has 3634 yards passing with 25 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Reggie Bush is back after missing much of the season with a broken leg, and Pierre Thomas is due back this week as well, but Avery has been so good that nobody expects his workload to decrease. That leaves the Rams' defense with an incredible number of offensive weapons to plan for and cover.