LA Rams (14-3) at New Orleans (14-3)
When: Sunday, January 20th, 2019
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome,
New Orleans, Louisiana
Time: 3:05 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: New Orleans -3.5/56.5
For most of the season, we pretty much knew that the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints were the two best teams in the NFC, but would someone like the Bears, Eagles, Vikings, or Cowboys sneak into the NFC Championship Game? Nope! The No. 1 and 2 seeds will meet on Sunday for the right to go to Super Bowl 53 in a couple of weeks to take on the Patriots or the Chiefs from the AFC. These teams have already met this season – in Week 9 – and it was a terrific game. The Saints gained home field advantage because of that 45-35 win at home, but both teams have stepped up their defense since that shootout. New Orleans fell behind the Philadelphia Eagles last week 14-0, but then took control of the game and gained a 20-14 win as eight-point favorites, improving to 6-0 in home playoff games under Drew Brees/Sean Payton. Brees, who threw for 346 yards in the Week 9 matchup with Los Angeles, recorded 301 yards and two scores against the Eagles. The Rams eliminated the Cowboys last week behind a dominant rushing attack, scorching a great Dallas run defense for 273 yards. L.A. held off a late Dallas charge for the 30-22 home win as seven-point favorites. New Orleans is in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since the franchise won its only Super Bowl following the 2009 season, while the Rams are in it for the first time since the 2001 season. They were the St. Louis Rams then and went on to lose to New England in Super Bowl XXXVI. It’s the second playoff meeting all-time between the Rams and Saints, with New Orleans beating St. Louis in a December 30th, 2000 Wild Card Game.
Running back Todd Gurley returned after missing the final two regular-season games with a knee injury to record 115 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, as the Rams did whatever they wanted on the ground versus the Cowboys. When Gurley took a breather, it was veteran C.J. Anderson who kept the ball rolling with 123 yards and two scores on 23 carries making both great picks in this week’s Fantasy Football Playoff contests. Goff wasn’t asked to do much in this one and had just 186 yards and no touchdowns, but threw for 391 yards and three scores in the Week 9 game at New Orleans. On defense, the Rams held Ezekiel Elliott to 47 yards rushing and put constant pressure on Dak Prescott helping Sean McVay (age 32) become the youngest head coach to win a playoff game.
The Saints overcame an early 14-0 deficit to the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to earn their biggest playoff comeback win in franchise history. Brees hooked up with his favorite target – Michael Thomas – 12 times for 171 and a score. The defense really clamped down after the Eagles scored two early touchdowns and Marcus Lattimore led the way with two interceptions of Nick Foles, including at the Saints’ 27 with just under two minutes left to clinch it. The bad news is that defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins suffered a likely season-ending injury in that game.
Both of these teams looked good last week, and I know the Saints only won by six, but they really dominated the Eagles after the first five minutes. New Orleans is literally unbeatable at home in the playoffs with Brees and Payton running the show. The defense is very underrated and will make it tough for the Rams’ ground game to get going.
Pick: Saints -3 -125
- Rams are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Rams are 21-45 ATS in their last 66 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Rams are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 playoff games.
- Rams are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in January.
- Rams are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 playoff road games.
- Rams are 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Rams are 1-4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Saints are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Saints are 25-7 ATS in their last 32 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Saints are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Saints are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in January.
- Saints are 48-23-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Saints are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC.
- Saints are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win.
- Saints are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Saints are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games on fieldturf.
- Under is 5-1 in Rams last 6 road games.
- Over is 9-2 in Rams last 11 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Over is 6-2 in Rams last 8 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Over is 5-2 in Rams last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Over is 7-3 in Rams last 10 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 6-1 in Saints last 7 playoff home games.
- Under is 6-1 in Saints last 7 vs. NFC.
- Under is 4-1 in Saints last 5 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game.
- Under is 4-1 in Saints last 5 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Under is 6-2 in Saints last 8 games overall.
- Over is 18-7-1 in Saints last 26 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Over is 10-4-1 in Saints last 15 playoff games.
- Under is 5-2 in Saints last 7 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Over is 11-5 in Saints last 16 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 21-10-1 in Saints last 32 home games.
- Home team is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
- Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in New Orleans.
- Over is 9-4 in the last 13 meetings.