NFC Championship Game preview: Rams-Saints
NEW ORLEANS - The No. 1-seed New Orleans Saints will host the No. 2-seed Los Angeles Rams in the 2019 NFC Championship Game on Sunday at 2:05 p.m CT.
When you put these two juggernauts on paper, there's not much difference. Both teams are coached by arguably the two brightest/innovative offensive minds in football with Sean McVay and Sean Payton.
Both offenses feature outstanding running games that utilize a double back system. Both possess underrated defenses that force plenty of turnovers. Both feature a top-tier talents at quarterback with future Hall of famer Drew Brees and rising star Jared Goff.
And, both are 14-3.
So, the question is, what gives on Sunday?
"I think tempo is important whether it's on and off the field with your personnel groups and then certainly the ability to go on the quicker cadence the slower cadence," head coach Sean Payton on Wednesday. "Good thing is we're at home and so that's a significant advantage relative to the communication.
One area to pay close attention to, is how well does New Orleans hold up against the run on Sunday? Last week Rams' running backs Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson both racked up more than 100 yards on the ground against a Cowboys defense that's been solid all season.
And, with how loud the Superdome will be this weekend, expect the Rams offense to establish the run early to take pressure off quarterback Jared Goff who is making his first-ever career road playoff start.
Despite losing DT Sheldon Rankins (achilles tear), New Orleans should still be well-suited to contain the Rams' vaunted rushing attack. The Saints rank second in rushing yards allowed (80.2 per game).
"They always say defense wins championships," said linebacker Demario Davis. "And the way I look at it, you have to have something to defend. If the offense scores points and puts you in a position to win, it's your job to defend that. You've got to be ready to get stops in crucial situations and I think that's just part of playing complementary football."
New Orleans won the first matchup 45-35, but this time they're three-point favorites over Los Angeles.