Kickoff three:05 p.m. ET, on Fox
ABOVE VIDEO: Rams vs. Saints NFC Championship preview. No.2 seeded Rams will journey to face the top-seeded Saints. The sport shall be broadcast nationally on Fox at three:05 p.m. ET Sunday.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA– For the second time up to now 4 years, the highest 4 groups within the NFL will meet on Convention Championship Sunday.
In the AFC, the No.1 seeded Kansas Metropolis Chiefs will host, who else, the No.2 seed New England Patriots and within the NFC, the No.2 seed Los Angeles Rams will journey to face the top-seeded New Orleans Saints.
There are a number of intriguing elements to those video games. Every contest is a rematch of two of the higher video games performed within the league this season and for the primary time because the convention championship video games have been tailored in 1970, the 4 highest scoring groups through the common season have reached the ultimate 4.
In the course of the 2018 common season, the Chiefs led the league with a scoring common of 35.three factors per recreation, adopted by the Rams (32.9), Saints (31.5) and Patriots (27.three).
It’s as much as the leagues prime 4 groups to make this playoff season somewhat extra compelling.
The typical margin of victory throughout Wild Card Weekend was slightly underneath a landing (5.75 factors) however that doubled within the Divisional spherical as the highest seeds entered the combination and gained by a mean margin of almost two touchdowns (11.5 factors)
Common Season Contests:
ABOVE VIDEO: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints handed the Rams their first lack of the season as the 2 groups mixed for almost 1,000 complete yards of offense.
The Patriots and Saints every delivered the Chiefs and Rams their first losses of the season once they met again in weeks six and 9 respectively.
In New Orleans in Week 9, future Corridor of Fame 40-something signal-caller Drew Brees outdueled his youthful counterpart, Jared Goff because the Saints knocked off the Eight-Zero Rams, 45-35 within the Tremendous Dome.
Each groups scored touchdowns on every of their first two possessions and the monitor meet didn’t cease. Brees handed for 346 yards and 4 touchdowns eclipsing Goff, who totaled 391 passing yards and three touchdowns.
The Saints led 35-17 on the half however Goff led the Rams again to tie it at 35 with 21 unanswered factors in lower than 21 minutes. Brees and the Saints would go onto rating 10-points within the video games remaining six minutes, together with 72-yard landing cross from Brees to Michael Thomas with three:52 to play.
SAINTS VS RAMS:
- SERIES RECORD — Rams lead 41-34
- LAST MEETING — Saints beat Rams 45-35, Nov. four, 2018
- LAST WEEK — Rams beat Cowboys 30-22; Saints beat Eagles 20-14
- RAMS OFFENSE — OVERALL (2), RUSH (three), PASS (5)
- RAMS DEFENSE — OVERALL (19), RUSH (23), PASS (14)
- SAINTS OFFENSE — OVERALL (Eight), RUSH (6), PASS (12)
- SAINTS DEFENSE — OVERALL (14), RUSH (2), PASS (29)
This recreation seems like a contest between two groups heading in reverse instructions. The Saints haven’t seemed to be the group that seemed unstoppable once they beat LA in Week 9.
Los Angeles led the NFC in complete yards per recreation (421.1) and factors per recreation (32.9) and ranked third the within the convention in turnover differential (+11). The competition options the youngest head coach to ever win a playoff recreation within the Rams head coach, Sean McVay.
The New Orleans Saints have gained 14 postseason video games in franchise historical past, 13 of them have include Sean Payton as head coach and Drew Brees at quarterback. The final time New Orleans performed within the convention title recreation they gained the Tremendous Bowl following the 2009 season.
Final week towards the defending Tremendous Bowl champions within the Divisional spherical, the New Orleans Saints appeared to discover a solution to win after trailing 14-Zero early within the recreation.
Following their comeback and with the lead late within the recreation, they wanted assist to complete off the champs and Eagles WR Alshon Jeffrey offered it as he let a ball slip between his arms throughout a drive that appeared destined to finish the Saints season however as an alternative, the interception ended any probability of Philly comeback.
The final time the Rams superior to an NFC title recreation was in 2001 once they have been referred to as ‘The Greatest Show on Turf.’
Led then by Corridor of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, the Rams set data for factors scored within the league at the moment and lots of believed this model of the Rams had an opportunity to be as excessive octane within the passing recreation with franchise QB Jared Goff underneath middle.
ABOVE VIDEO: Highlights of Saints win over Eagles in NFC Divisional spherical.
However over the previous three video games, the offense has morphed right into a dashing beast led by the flexibility of Todd Gurley and the facility of C.J.Anderson. Gurley led NFL with 21 scrimmage touchdowns and ranked fourth with 1,831 scrimmage yards within the common season.
Final week towards the Dallas Cowboys fifth-best rush protection, a protection that simply the week earlier than held the top-ranked Seattle Seahawks dashing recreation to a measly 73 yards, Gurley and Anderson every eclipsed 100 dashing yards turning into the primary duo of operating again teammates to every rush for at the very least 100 yards in a playoff recreation because the 1997 Wild Card Spherical when Denver’s Terrell Davis and Derek Loville did it vs the Jaguars.
The Rams 459 internet yards of offense and 273 dashing yards within the Divisional Spherical set Rams franchise postseason data.
On protection, the Rams possess the most effective gamers within the league in Aaron Donald. The previous College of Pittsburgh standout is a defensive deal with that hits like Dick Butkus however performs as quick as a cornerback.
ABOVE VIDEO: Final week towards the Dallas Cowboys fifth-best rush protection, Gurley and Anderson every eclipsed 100 dashing yards.
Drew Brees and the Saints might want to account for Donald on each play. He led NFL with 20.5 sacks and have become 11th participant since 1982 with 20-plus sacks in a single season. Donald ranked first in NFL with 25 tackles for loss.
In the LA secondary, cornerback Aqib Talib has a little expertise in video games like this. He performed within the 2012, 13, and 15 Convention Championship video games with the Patriots and Broncos and was a member of the Broncos Tremendous Bowl 50 profitable group
Final week towards Dalls, Talib had seven tackles and compelled a fumble final week. He didn’t play in earlier assembly
The Saints protection completed second within the NFL stopping the run this previous season. Nevertheless, an enormous a part of the rationale they have been so profitable gained’t be on the sector Sunday as they misplaced defensive deal with Sheldon Rankins to a torn Achilles tendon final Sunday.
Rankins stepped up through the 2018 season with eight quarterback sacks whereas additionally demonstrating a capability to drop into cross protection, a uncommon knack for a 300-pound inside lineman.
In reality, the previous Louisville star is an enormous cause why the Saints are enjoying this recreation at house. Rankins chased down a Pittsburgh receiver and compelled a downfield fumble late within the Saints’ Dec. 23 victory over the Steelers, thereby clinching home-field benefit within the playoffs.
ABOVE VIDEO: Offensively, the Saints not simply depend on Drew Brees to make performs. RB Alvin Kamara ranked second within the NFL with 18 scrimmage TDs (14 dashing, four receiving) and ranked seventh with 1,592 scrimmage yards in 2018.
Backup David Onyemata and undrafted rookie Taylor Stallworth will step in and attempt to substitute him. It’s not all gloom and doom with out Rankins. The Saints have playmakers in any respect three ranges of their protection. Defensive finish Cameron Jordan is headed to the Professional Bowl if the Saints lose. He had 12 sacks this season and can look to use strain on Goff in passing conditions
In the center of the protection is linebacker Demario Davis who led the workforce with 110 tackles and behind him is cornerback Marshon Lattimore who picked off two passes vs. the Eagles final week.
Offensively, the Saints not simply depend on Drew Brees to make performs. RB Alvin Kamara ranked second within the NFL with 18 scrimmage TDs (14 dashing, four receiving) and ranked seventh with 1,592 scrimmage yards in 2018.
He had 106 scrimmage yards (71 dashing, 35 receiving) final week vs Philadelphia.
ABOVE VIDEO: Arguably probably the most underrated sign caller to ever play within the NFL, Brees can additional add to his legacy as one of many all-time greatest with a win vs. the Rams.
Vast receiver Michael Thomas led NFL with 125 catches and had franchise single-season document 1,405 yards receiving, surpassing Joe Horn’s 1,399 yards in 2004.
Thomas had 12 receptions for 171 yards and a TD final week and he had 12 catches for 211 yards, together with the 72-yard TD within the final assembly with Rams. With that stated, if the Saints are to win this recreation, the headline Monday morning will probably learn, Brees Leads Saints Again to Tremendous Bowl.
Arguably probably the most underrated sign caller to ever play within the NFL, Brees can additional add to his legacy as one of many all-time greatest with a win vs. the Rams. For those who doubt Brees’ standing as one of many prime 5, six, seven or eight sign callers to ever play the sport, contemplate the next.
Brees holds the NFL data for profession move yards, completions, profession completion proportion, and is second in profession passing touchdowns, 19 behind Peyton Manning.
He has handed for over 5,000 yards in a season 5 occasions—no different NFL quarterback has carried out so greater than as soon as. He has led the NFL in passing yards a report seven occasions and in passing touchdowns a record-tying 4 occasions.
He threw a TD move in 54 consecutive video games general and 60 consecutive residence video games, each NFL data.
He was the NFL’s Comeback Participant of the Yr in 2004, the Offensive Participant of the Yr in 2008 and 2011, and the MVP of Tremendous Bowl XLIV. Sports activities Illustrated named Brees its 2010 Sportsman of the Yr and he’s one among three QBs to beat all 32 groups.
There have been 84 rematches performed within the playoffs between non-divisional opponent courting again to 2003. Since then, the workforce that gained the primary assembly has gone 50-34 when the staff’s faceoff within the playoffs.
With that stated, the Rams look like in a greater place than do the Saints. The Rams protection shut down the most effective operating backs within the NFL in Ezekial Elliott and stored the Cowboys one dimensional.
Gurley and Anderson are as a lot of weapon for the Rams protection as they’re for the Rams offense. If the Rams can run the soccer half in addition to they did towards the Cowboys, they may advance to Tremendous Bowl 53.
The important thing quantity immediately is third down and time of possession. The group that wins each of those stats wins the soccer recreation. Final week the Rams held the Cowboys to only 1-10 on third down and held the ball for over 36-minutes.
In the Rams and Saints first assembly, New Orleans was 7-10 on third down they usually held the ball for 36 minutes, that has to vary for the LA to advance to their first Tremendous Bowl since 2001.
With the best way Todd Gurley, C.J. Anderson, and Aaron Donald are enjoying, I like their possibilities on the street to get it finished towards a Saints staff that appears to be operating out of luck.
The NFC championship recreation shall be broadcast nationally on Fox.
RAMS 31 SAINTS 27
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