For another look at today’s game, check out our short video:
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana
When: Sunday, January 20, 2019 3:05 pm Eastern
The National Football Conference playoffs to determine the NFC representative to the Super Bowl is finally upon us. This coming Sunday, the Los Angeles Rams head southeast to the “Big Easy” for a matchup with the New Orleans Saints. The Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 30-22 in their Division playoff game and the Saints snuck past the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 20-14 to secure their place in Sunday’s game.
Rams Knock Off Cowboys
The Los Angeles Rams finished their 2018 campaign with a fantastic 13-3 record and are the reigning NFC West Champions with a perfect 6-0 mark in division play. Los Angeles finished second in the NFL in points scored per game (32), number two in the NFL in total offense per game (421 yards), fifth in passing yards per game (281 yards) and third in rushing yards per game (139 yards) so this tackle football team is accustomed to getting things done on the offensive side of things.
“It’s going to take a great week of preparation from us."
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 14, 2019
The Rams aren’t reporting any major injuries for this game, but check back later in the week for updates.
Jared Goff has a season that few quarterbacks have been able to accomplish; Goff threw for 186 yards without an interception in the Rams 30-22 victory over Dallas and threw for 4,688 yards, 32 touchdowns, twelve interceptions and was sacked 33 times this season. Goff has rushed for an additional 108 yards and two touchdowns in 2018.
Todd Gurley II is another Rams player who had an outstanding season; Gurley finished third in rushing yards (1251), first in the NFL in touchdowns (17) and rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown against Dallas. In 256 attempts this season, Gurley has fumbled the ball only once, which is outstanding. Gurley plays a solid role in the Rams passing attack, with 580 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season.
The Rams probably didn’t have any idea when the signed CJ Anderson on December 18, 2018 that he would become such a valuable player on the offense. In his three games since that signing, Anderson has rushed for 167 yards against the Arizona Cardinals, 132 yards against the Denver Broncos and scampered for 123 yards and two touchdowns in Rams playoff game against Dallas.
How did Gurley + Anderson split playing time against the Cowboys?
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 14, 2019
Seven Rams players have at least 100 receiving yards this season; wide receiver Robert Woods leads Los Angeles with 1,219 receiving yards and six touchdowns, wide receiver Brandin Cooks has 1,204 receiving yards and five touchdowns and wide receiver Josh Reynolds has 402 receiving yards and five touchdowns this season.
Defensively speaking, the Rams are nineteenth in the NFL in yards allowed per game (358) fourteenth in passing yards allowed per game (236), twenty-third in rushing yards allowed per game (122) and the Rams 24 points allowed per game leaves them twentieth in the National Football League.
The Rams defense was fifteenth in the NFL with 41 sacks and Aaron Donald led not only the Rams but the entire NFL with 20.5 sacks this season. Los Angeles finished the regular season third in interceptions (18) and returned three of those picks for touchdowns this season.
The Rams defense held Ezekiel Elliott to just 47 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was held to 266 yards and one touchdown. Los Angeles held Dallas to 308 total yards and allowed 22 points in their playoff game; those numbers are encouraging for the Rams and well below what the Rams averaged during the regular season.
Saints Limit Eagles to 49 Rushing Yards
The New Orleans Saints breezed through the NFC South with a 13-3 overall record and had four wins against two losses in divisional play. The Saints finished eighth in total yards per game (379), third in points scored (31.5), twelfth in passing yards (252) and sixth in rushing yards per game (126). This is a high scoring Saints team and they will have to score plenty of points if they want to defeat the Rams and reach the Super Bowl.
After trailing 14-0, the Saints scored the last 20 points of the game. The 14-point comeback is the largest in #Saints postseason history, surpassing the 10-point comeback to defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) January 14, 2019
The Saints aren’t reporting any major injuries for this game, but check back later in the week for updates.
Drew Brees has been phenomenal this season, throwing for 3,992 yards, 32 touchdowns, five interceptions and was sacked 17 times this season. Brees also rushed for an additional 22 yards and four touchdowns this season. Brees threw for 301 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that included getting sacked twice in the Divisional playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Saints have a pair of backs that have done major damage this season; running back Alvin Kamara leads the Saints with 883 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns and has an additional 709 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season.
Running back Mark Ingram II missed four games due to various injuries, but still managed to rush for 645 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Ten Saints have at least 100 receiving yards and leading the way for the Saints is wide receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas led the National Football League in receptions (125) and amassed 1,405 receiving yards and nine touchdowns this season. Thomas caught 12 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown in their playoff victory over Philadelphia. Rookie wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith had 28 receptions for 427 yards and five touchdowns this season and tight end Benjamin Watson caught 35 passes for 400 yards and two touchdowns for the Saints in 2018.
"He is a 'Gimmie the ball and I'll make the play."@Saints QB Drew Brees talks about how important @Cantguardmike is to the offense after beating the Eagles in the Divisional Round. pic.twitter.com/g0XgeO8xF2
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) January 14, 2019
Onto the defense; New Orleans ranks fourteenth in the NFL in both points (22) and total yards allowed (349) and twenty-ninth in the NFL with 268 passing yards allowed per game. The Saints are the second best team in the National Football League in rushing yards allowed (80), fifth in the NFL in sacks (49) and eighteenth in interceptions (12) with one of those interceptions returned for a touchdown.
The Saints defense held Nick Foles to 201 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception and didn’t record a sack. New Orleans limited the Eagles to just 49 rushing yards in their 20-14 victory over Philadelphia.
- Home team is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
- Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in New Orleans.
Updated on Jan 19 at 11:15pm EST
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
New Orleans opened at -3.5 and moved to -3. The total opened at 56.5 and remained there. The betting is on New Orleans at 53% on the spread and 56% on the Rams on the money line.
Injury / Weather Report
No weather issues in Superdome.
no major key injuries other than WR CooperKupp, who tore his ACL in mid-November and is out.
TE Ben Watson (appendectomy) is questionable.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I really want to go with the Rams, but I just can’t seem to pull the trigger. Winning at home is one thing; winning a playoff game on the road against Drew Brees at home is quite another. This is going to be a shootout and the old gunslinger Brees at home is worth laying the wood for, because he knows how to deliver. I don’t trust either defense and for my money, Brees is the hill I am willing to die on this Sunday. I’m playing the Saints at -3 on Sunday.
Prediction: Saints -3.5 Points
Full-Game Total Pick
The defenses are okay, but neither is very good at stopping the pass. And we have in abundance on Sunday. Two of the best throwing quarterbacks indoors with no wind and plenty of Brees is just what these two quarterbacks live for. The Rams lost by ten points in their last visit to the “Big Easy” and but both teams combined for 80 points. Look for the same type of game on Sunday. I’m playing the over on Sunday.
Prediction: Over 57 Points