With the season on the line, the Saints and Rams square off today in the NFC Championship Game. Here are keys to the Saints advancing to Atlanta.
Game day is finally here! After a week of trash talking between the two teams, hundreds of predictions and talk about how the Rams are not the same team, we get to see the Saints and Rams duke it out in the NFC Championship Game.
As always, exploiting matchups, especially on the defensive side of the ball will go a long way in determining who gets to Super Bowl LIII. However, let’s take a look at three simple keys to success the Saints will need to achieve to book their ticket to Atlanta.
The Saints Front-Seven Have to Stop Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson.
This is the most obvious of the three “keys to success”. However it may be the most important. Todd Gurley, who was already an MVP candidate for 2018, is now joined by C.J. Anderson. Anderson has shown a reemergence this year by rushing for 423-yards in just his first three games for the Rams. Of those yards, 123 were against a Dallas defense that punished the Saints back in Week 13 of the regular season.
The loss of Sheldon Rankins is a huge blow, but Rankins did not factor much into one of the leagues top rushing defense this year. Still, the Saints and Payton will need to figure out how to implement a contingency to help mitigate the loss. I expect to see a lot more linebacker coverage on the run. If the Rams duo cannot be stopped on the ground, then there won’t be much hope in stopping the Rams and Sean McVay in the air.
The New Orleans Saints Offense Will Have to Start Quicker
If there is one way to win this game, it is to put up points, and fast. Last week against the Philadelphia Eagles the very first play was an interception of an underthrown pass by Drew Brees. The Superdome crowd lost its momentum, as did the Saints. The first quarter ended with the Saints down 14-0. Playing against an Eagles team with multiple holes and flaws, it was a doable comeback for the Saints. If that happens again this week against the Rams, the odds are slim to none that the Saints will be able to crawl their way back.
Scoring early and often will keep the crowd engaged, and loud, which is something that a young quarterback such as Goff will have a tough time coping with. As for the Saints, playing ahead and at home cannot be emphasized enough on how that will affect gameplay.
Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara Will Need a Big Day
The Rams will have their starting cornerback Aqib Talib back for the rematch against the Saints. Even with this addition, the Rams secondary is prone to getting picked apart by high-flying offenses. Both teams will air it out, and the game should be high scoring.
The Saints key to victory will be having their duo of running backs, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, establish the running game. If the running game can be established, the Saints can dominate time of possession, keeping the ball out of Goff’s hands. Another 11-minute drive that results in a touchdown could do the trick.
The Rams will most certainly attempt to do the same thing, however, the Saints front-seven will need to step up (see key number one), and provide solid coverage.
Sunday’s musical lineup shaped out to be pretty good! Jimmy Buffett, Choppa and Ying Yang Twins will all be performing.
Alvin Kamara suited up as a blue collar worker for a commercial
My prediction for today’s game is 41-35 Saints.