Los Angles Rams, New Orleans Saints, NFC South, NFC West

NFC Conference Championship LA Rams @ New Orleans Saints

The LA Rams will be looking to make it third time lucky this season on Sunday night when they face the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome for a place in Super Bowl LIII (53). Their previous two trips didn’t go down too well, Losing 28-0 in their final Pre-season meeting and them more crucially as far as seedings were concerned that classic early November encounter, which was a lot closer than the45-35 score would indicate. In that meeting the Rams can point to a costly interception inside the last two minutes of the first half, which lead to 7 points, a missed field goal and two failed fourth down conversions as mitigating circumstances for the defeat. Jared Goff even managed to rack up 391 yards passing in that game, surpassing Drew Brees, however, they struggled a bit with the run game, with Todd Gurley being held to 68 yards. To be fair he has been rather up and down this year, and in his last two regular-season appearances only manage 76 yards total. However, an extra week’s rest seemed to help and he racked up 115 yards against Dallas in the divisional game. If LA is to have any chance in this one he will need to put in a similar performance.

The matchup its self is a classic clash of youth v experience with the seemingly evergreen Drew Brees facing up against the up and coming to Jared Goff who is one of the best QBs to come out of the PAC 12 in a while. Even the coaching is a battle in this department with Sean Peyton having already won a Super Bowl with the Saints looking to out scheme Sean McVey – the youngest ever NFL Head Coach. He is currently 25-9 including the postseason and he would set another first being the youngest head coach to get to a Super Bowl with a win. There is another twist in this one which as every Saints fan will know, the Super Bowl is to be played in the Georgia Dome home of the Atlanta Falcons their arch rivals. Every Falcons fan will no doubt be a Rams fan for the night and probably a Chiefs fan too as they won’t want to see New England Come to visit after Super Bowl 51.

Drew Brees

Action Sports Photography/Shutterstock

Wins wise both are 14-3 including their Divisional round wins, with LA having 4 regular season wins against playoff teams – including very good wins over the Chiefs & LA Chargers. However, both were at home and although their three losses have been to teams which made the postseason two were on the road.

The Saints have three regular-season wins over playoff teams, the best being that 48-7 demolition job on the Eagles, and would probably have been 14-2 if they had played their starters in the final game against the Panthers. Of course, they already had the home-field advantage sewn up so it was no surprise. Their other two defeats included a shoot out loss to open against the Buccs and a narrow 13-10  loss at playoff-bound Dallas.

Calling a Conference Final is never easy however Drew Brees like fine wine just seems to get better with age and since 2006 the Saints are 6-0 in postseason games played at home. Jared Goff is a great QB in the making but he didn’t look great against the Cowboys last week and he was not great in 2017 on the road against the Falcons in his other Postseason game. Sean McVay got them through last weeks game on the back of heavy run call play, but I don’t think they can do that against the Saints Defensive front and if Goff is forced to throw the ball New Orleans corners will be waiting.

Overall we think that the Saints will win this by more than the current 3 points spread on their way to a classic matchup with either Tom Brady and the Patriots or more likely (in our opinion) a meeting with the Chiefs and one of the other most promising young QBs in Patrick Mahomes.

Prediction New Orleans 38 LA Rams 33

 

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