Offseason Opponent Breakdown: The New Orleans Saints

The 2018 NFL Season is still a few months from its official kickoff date, but the opponents for all 32 clubs have already been set.

Aside from their divisional opponents, the Rams will face teams from the NFC North and AFC West. Plus, Los Angeles will take on the reigning division champions from the NFC East and NFC South. 

In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, theRams.com will be taking an early look at each of club's opponents for next season. 

THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

LOCATION:The Rams will be on the road in 2018 to take on the Saints, facing off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

HEAD COACH:Sean Payton has been the head coach of the Saints since 2006. In his 11 seasons, Payton has led New Orleans to a 105-76 all-time record — including six playoff appearances and one Super Bowl Championship in the 2009 season.

MATCHUP HISTORY:As a former member of the NFC West division, the Saints have a rich series history with the Rams. The clubs have met 74 times, with one playoff contest, since 1967. Since Payton became the Saints head coach, the Rams have won four of seven meetings — including the most recent contest last season. In Week 12, Los Angeles welcomed the Saints to the Coliseum and ended their eight-game win streak with a 26-20 victory.

2017 RECORD: New Orleans finished 2017 with an 11-5 record and an NFC South division title. The Saints fell to the Vikings on a memorable play in the NFC's Divisional Round. 


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Check out photos of the Rams taking on the New Orleans Saints through the years.

WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT?**

Headlining the Saints free agency period was the re-signing of 12-year veteran quarterback, 11-time Pro Bowler, and former Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees. Although he just turned 39 in January, the Purdue product still helped the Saints return to the playoffs for the first time in four years last season, while setting a new NFL record for completion percentage (72.0). His extension ensures that Brees will remain the leader of New Orleans' offense for at least the next two years.

Other notable moves include the signing of veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, and bringing back one of the best free agent signings from 2017, defensive end Alex Okafor. Plus, the Saints acquired a new backup quarterback in Tom Savage after losing Chase Daniel to the Bears.

WHAT ABOUT THE DRAFT?

Although the Saints brought in Watson through free agency, New Orleans could go after a young tight end in this year's draft with. Many mock drafts have the club selecting players like South Carolina's Hayden Hurst or South Dakota State's Dallas Goedert as the No. 27 overall pick in the first round. But the Saints could also look to improve on defense in the earlier rounds.

Some players that may hear their names called by New Orleans include outside linebacker Harold Landry of Boston College, USF defensive tackle Deadrin Senat, and Alabama defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne.

LOOK OUT FOR:

Another close contest between two of the NFC's top teams. As the reigning NFC South and NFC West division champions, both will be looking to get back to the playoffs. With Brees back in 2018 and a revamped L.A. defense, the matchup should once again be one of the most exciting on the Rams' schedule.

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