Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams will look to get some payback against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints when they hit the road to take on their top-seeded rivals in the NFC Championship game on Sunday. With Brees and company looking to duplicate their regular season win over L.A. and the Rams looking to pull off the big upset, let’s find who’s getting the ATS cover and the SU win to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 53.
NFC Championship Game: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints
What: NFC Championship Game: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints
When: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 3:05 PM ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Last two standing in the NFC.@RamsNFL. @Saints. It's on. #NFLPlayoffs
📺: #LARvsNO | Sunday 3:05pm ET on FOX pic.twitter.com/CZ0A92QOVi
— NFL (@NFL) January 14, 2019
Why bet on the Los Angeles Rams?
The Rams (14-3 SU, 8-8-1 ATS, 9-8 O/U) won their final two regular season games and got past Dallas 30-22 this past Saturday to narrowly cover the spread as a 7.5-point home favorite. Veteran running back C.J. Anderson rushed for a team-high 123 yards and two touchdowns while star running back Todd Gurley added 115 rushing yards and one score in the win.
“We always talk about attacking success, never fearing failure,” McVay said after the win. “We wanted to come out here and try to play fearless tonight.”
Los Angeles’ offensive line dominated Dallas’ highly-publicized front seven from beginning to end.
“Feels great, just running the ball the way we did,” quarterback Jared Goff said after his first career playoff win. “Two 100-yard rushers, that’s rare, and it starts with those five guys up front.”
The Rams average 32.9 points per game to rank second in scoring while allowing 24.0 points per game defensively (20th). Anderson commented on the Ram’s newfound duo in the backfield.
“It’s scary,” Anderson said of joining superstar franchise back Todd Gurley. In L.A.’s backfield after being let go by the foolish Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders late in the regular season.
“We’ve got two different styles, and we can keep teams off balance. … Playing on the field with Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott, I’m just trying to make my statement and make my stamp in this game, too.”
The Rams have gone 6-2 SU and 4-4 ATS in eight road dates this season.
Why bet on the New Orleans Saints?
The Saints (14-3 SU, 10-7 ATS, 7-10 O/U) won three straight before losing to Carolina in a meaningless regular-season finale. More importantly, New Orleans used a fantastic defensive effort, first and foremost, to get past Philadelphia 20-14 in their thrilling NFC divisional showdown on Sunday. Drew Brees completed 28 of 38 passes for 301 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and Philly had absolutely no answer for Pro Bowl wide receiver Michael Thomas who caught 12 passes for 171 yards and one score.
“What you saw from him today is what I see every day in practice,” Brees said of Thomas. “He’s a big-time player who wants to be the guy to make plays.”
New Orleans showed a lot of fortitude after falling into a 14-0 deficit after one quarter against the defending Super Bowl champs.
“Listen, they got off to a fast start, they’re a great team,” Brees said. “Nick Foles has done a phenomenal job for them. We knew it was going to be different than last time.”
The Saints average 30.8 points per game to rank a stellar third in scoring while allowing 22.1 points per game defensively (14th). New Orleans has won seven of nine at home this season while going 4-5 ATS down in the Big Easy.
Expert Pick and Prediction
The Saints beat the Rams 45-35 in a high-scoring affair in Week 9 to cash in as a surprising 1.5-point home underdog and I’m expecting New Orleans to duplicate their win over L.A., even if it doesn’t come by double digits.
While both teams’ defenses showed up in a big way to lead them to victory in their respective NFC divisional round matchups, the fact of the matter is that I don’t really trust L.A. to duplicate that performance while New Orleans has been pretty rock-solid on defense since about the midway point of the regular season.
Not only that, but Brees and head coach Sean Payton have never lost a home playoff game during their stint together in the Big Easy and I don’t expect them to lose this contest either – even though I am expecting a great effort from the Rams.
Los Angeles has gone an uninspiring 1-4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record while New Orleans has gone a bankroll-boosting 25-7 ATS in their last 32 home games against a team with a winning road record, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game and an encouraging 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in the month of January.
Last but not least, L.A.’s Jared Goff can’t hold a candle to Drew Brees. In the end, New Orleans is playing at home, with the better defense and a future Hall of Famer at quarterback that has never lost at home in the postseason. New Orleans wins and very narrowly covers the chalk!
Predicted Score Los Angeles Rams 27 | New Orleans Saints 31