Week 16 TNF Recap

Written by: William Petersen

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With three weeks remaining in the regular season, playoff spots are getting harder to come by and the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams are in the thick of it. Week 16 started off with a primetime matchup between a visiting Saints team that is fighting to win the NFC South while the Rams are battling with the Seahawks and other fringe teams for a wildcard spot. Derek Carr came into SoFi Stadium looking to prove that he was the viable successor to Drew Brees in a season that has been up and down in a division that has been equally inconsistent. Carr struggled to generate much offense early but only found his squad down 10-7 at half. Carr would finish 27/40 for 319 yards, 3 touchdowns, and an interception in a 30-22 loss on Thursday Night Football that now makes the Saints chances of winning their division much tougher. Matt Stafford and the LA Rams are now 8-7 after leading the entire game due to Stafford’s steady performance, 24/34 for 328 yards and 2 touchdowns, and another 100 plus yard receiving game from rookie Puka Nacua. Nacua finished with 9 receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown in another standout game for the Penn State receiver who now has 6 games this season with over 100 receiving yards, only Justin Jefferson and Odell Beckham Jr. have more with seven.

The Bayou will be waking up with a little more anxiety for a Friday morning after struggling to find any offensive production in the first half. The Saints are now hoping for a Falcons loss to the Colts on Sunday after failing to slow down an explosive Rams offense. The Saints had a hard time getting Alvin Kamara going who finished with 9 rushes for 19 yards and 5 receptions for 16 yards. Kamara has been a workhorse back for the Saints in the near past, but this season Kamara has had a hard time finding momentum after his early season suspension. New Orleans also struggled to get Stafford on the ground, only recording one sack and three quarterback hits. The one bright spot for the Saints this game is Carr’s ability to bring the Saints back, even though it was too little too late. Chris Olave continues to be the WR1 the Saints were hoping he would be, recording 9 receptions for 123 yards. New Orleans now looks to a tough division matchup next week with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who could take control of the AFC South in week 16 if they are victorious in Indianapolis on Christmas Eve. I have not been keen on the Saints all year and I have a feeling Baker Mayfield will dice up the Saints secondary en route to winning the division.

LA has a real reason to believe they could be in the playoffs at the end of the regular season after having an ideal second half of the season, winning their last five out of six games. Kyren Williams continues to have a productive season, finishing with 22 rushes for 104 yards and a tough nosed touchdown that ended with compassion with Williams throwing the ball to his mother in the endzone. Cooper Kupp finished with a modest 6 receptions for 52 yards after his stellar week last week, proving how loaded this Rams offense is. One week Kupp can go off and the next Nacua can and the Rams offense has no problem operating in that fashion. Sean McVay will now get his squad ready for a trip to the Meadowlands next week for a date with Tommy DeVito and the New York Giants who are just waiting for this season to be over. I would be shocked to see McVay let his squad drop this game to an inconsistent Giants team, but it is the witching hour of the NFL season and stranger things have happened on Sundays in January.