NFC Championship Preview - Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints

Jonathan Chan
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Image Credit: Keith Allison/Flickr

The teams with the best regular season records in the NFL will meet for the NFC Championship when the New Orleans Saints host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon.

Sean Payton is hoping that he and his $200,000 incentive can bring the Saints back to the Super Bowl for the first time since their victory at Super Bowl XLIV.

Master job creator Sean McVay and his high-flying Rams are looking to reach their first Super Bowl since moving back to LA and cap a meteoric two-year rise to the NFL’s upper echelon.

These two teams met in a Week 9 showdown that saw the Saints come out on top 45-35. Jared Goff threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns while Drew Brees answered with 346 yards and four touchdowns. It’s shaping up to be a shootout once again this Sunday, but with a couple key differences.

The addition of C.J. Anderson to the Rams offense has given them a brand-new dimension. Through their first 14 games of the season, LA gained 150 rushing yards three times. Since acquiring Anderson, they have reached 150 in three consecutive games.

LA flexed their rushing muscle in the Divisional round when Anderson and 2017 MVP candidate Todd Gurley rushed for 238 yards and three touchdowns against the Cowboys.

Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins tore his Achilles tendon last week against the Eagles, creating a huge hole on their defensive line. Without his pass rushing abilities, the Saints may struggle to apply pressure to Goff, whose QB rating drops from 117.1 to 59.8 when under pressure.

Despite a recent downturn in the Saints’ offensive production, you can never count out Brees. At 40 years old, he posted an MVP-worthy season and has Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara by his side, two of the most dangerous weapons in the league. 

Based on DVOA, the Saints also boast the best defense remaining in the playoffs, which could prove to be the difference in what will likely to be an offensive exhibition.

The Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be raucous on Sunday afternoon in a show between two of the best offenses in the league.