Posted on January 19, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Heading into their Week Nine matchup with the New Orleans Saints everything was clicking for the Los Angeles Rams. The offense looked great, the defense was playing well enough and they were undefeated. They had played some tough teams and had some close games, the Saints would by far be the toughest.
While they played well overall and put up a good fight, they ended up losing, 45-35. Just like that, the undefeated season was over.
More than likely, the Rams are not going to be looking for or even thinking about getting revenge Sunday when they take on the Saints in the NFC Championship Game. Just knowing they have a shot at the Super Bowl will likely be enough.
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But if they want it, it’s there for the taking.
All they have to do is contain Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Michael Thomas, and Drew Brees. No problem, right?
Back in Week Nine, Brees had a phenomenal day throwing for 346 yards and four touchdowns. Most of those yards were hauled in by wide receiver Michael Thomas (12 receptions for 212 yards and a touchdown). Ingram didn’t have a big day but Kamara did account for 116 total yards and three touchdowns (two rushing and one receiving).
So, yeah—the Rams defense is going to have its hands full. But there could be hope for them. The front seven did step up against the Dallas Cowboys and hold Ezekiel Elliot to just 47 yards on 20 carries. If they can have a similar game against the Saints, they may be able to contain Kamara and Ingram somewhat— at least keep them from running wild.
But that would just mean Drew Brees is going to throw more and that isn’t good. But with a healthy Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib lining up at cornerback, the Rams could make it a little tougher for Brees to work his magic.
Of course, the best defense against a great offense like the Saints is offense and the Rams did have the No. 2 scoring offense during the regular season. With defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins out, maybe it will not as tough to get Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson going.
If they could and start grinding out drives like they did against the Cowboys, the Saints could be in trouble. Then again, the Saints run defense was the second-best unit in the NFL during the regular season.
Much like the game back in Week Nine, this one is going to have a lot of fireworks in the passing game but not a lot in the run game. But unlike the earlier game, the Saints are not going to blow the Rams out of the water in the first half. If anything, look for the Rams to come out guns blazing and catch the Saints a little off-guard.
But the Saints will recover and eventually catch back up. In the end, it will not be surprising if whoever wins this one is the team who has the ball last.
Take the Saints to win straight up but the Rams to win against the spread (+3.5). As for the over/under—we have two of the top four scoring offenses in the NFL here. Take the over (57).