By Lucy Rendler-Kaplan // @Lucyrk78
The NFC Championship Game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints may be held in the Big Easy, but this matchup will be anything but.
This is a rematch of Week 9, a game that the Saints won. Could the Rams have won? Yes. Should the Rams have won? I vote yes.
Still, the Rams finished the season at 13-3, tied for the best record in the NFL. Only problem? The team they tied with IS the Saints.
Defense will be the key here. If I found a magic genie lamp, my first wish would be that defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh play a similar game like they did last Saturday night when they dominated the Cowboys’ impressive rushing game. They need to apply that same pressure to the Saints offense and keep quarterback Drew Brees down.
Another major key will be containing Saints receiver, Michael Thomas. We know I’m not a fan of cornerback Marcus Peters, and I’m pointing to him NOT covering Thomas well in Week 9 as the major factor in our first loss. Luckily, cornerback Aqib Talib is back for Sunday’s game.
Past that, it’s tough to play in New Orleans. The Saints have a big home-field advantage. The crowd noise will make it harder for the players to hear head coach Sean McVay and Saints fans will do all they can to get loud and try to rattle the Rams. BUT! They HAVE played here before. Asked about the noise in interviews this week, QB Jared Goff said, ‘’We learned some good things — how to operate there and how to do some things in the noise.”
It’s rare to face a team three times in one season. For the Rams, this hasn’t happened since 1989 when faced the San Francisco 49ers four times. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself – in ’89, the Rams lost the championship game.
Currently, New Orleans is favored to win this game. But this Rams team is a way better team than the Saints faced in Week 9. The Rams have running back C.J. Anderson now, an explosive Aaron Donald and a healthy Talib. I think those factors give them the edge.
CJ Anderson says he’s told the team you have to win on third down and win in the red zone in the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/JEFU2hUUEl
— Joe Curley (@vcsjoecurley) January 17, 2019
I’m going Los Angeles Rams 27, New Orleans Saints 24. Tweet me @lucyrk78 and let me hear YOUR score predictions!
Tweet Lucy your score predictions, and talk Rams with her on Twitter // @lucyrk78