NFL

USA TODAY Sports’ Week 8 NFL picks: Do Vikings or Saints take big step forward in pursuit of Rams?

The Los Angeles Rams (7-0) are cruising toward a playoff spot, though this Sunday's opponent — the Green Bay Packers — will serve as more than a speed bump on a possible path to perfection for L.A.

Who might actually have the best chance to knock out the Rams when it counts? Sunday night's matchup between the Vikings and Saints may provide an important indicator. Minnesota hung tough before falling in L.A. last month. New Orleans will host the Rams in Week 9. But in the here and now, the Vikings and Saints face what could be their own important steps to a first-round playoff bye, perhaps also a precursor to an NFC Championship Game showdown in Hollywood.

USA TODAY Sports' panel of NFL experts likes the visiting Saints on Sunday … but not by much.

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