The New Orleans Saints host the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship this Sunday. The victor heads to Atlanta to take on the winner of the Chiefs-Patriots game.
The Saints got the best of the Rams in both the preseason and regular season in 2018. Are the Rams due for a win against the NFC’s No. 1 seed? The Turf Show Times’ staff make their picks...and we’ve got ONE person taking the Saints.
This is going to be a showdown for the ages. Yes, the Rams lost in the Dome earlier this season. But a lot has changed, and the Rams are evolving and morphing on offense. They have realized their weaknesses and are realizing their strength is the men up front. The Saints will need a brilliant game from Brees + Kamara + Thomas to keep up with our guys.
Prediction: Rams win, 42-41
Tevin Broner (@T_Bron)
The first time these two played, the game was closer than the final score indicated. With the Rams new wrinkle in the running game and with Aqib Talib back on the field, the Rams should be able to pull this out — although it is hard to bet against Brees.
Prediction: Rams win, 28-24
Charlie Hiller (@charliehiller)
I’ve never eaten gumbo in my life. Is it pretty much jambalaya without rice? Man, I hope Joe drops a good recipe. Oh, right, the game. What more needs to be said? I was 9 the last time the Rams were in the Conference Championship. This is a moment we’ve been waiting for, for far too long. Take it in, and I hope we aren’t done yet.
Prediction: Rams win, 30-26
Brennan Smith (@BrennanJSmith)
I don’t need to tell you that this is a big one. I don’t need to tell you that the Saints are invincible at home, that Drew Brees is a phenomenal veteran quarterback. That Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas can break a game open at any time. That Sean Payton is an offensive genius. Jared Goff will need to have the game of his life akin to his game against the Vikings in the regular season, but this time in deafening noise. CJ Anderson and Todd Gurley will need to crack the NFL’s second ranked rushing defense. The Rams interior offensive line will have to pick up blitzes and could have a slight edge with Sheldon Rankins out. Aaron Donald will have to be his dominant self and beat Brees’ quick release. This is going to be tough, but I think Goff plays up to the pressure and leads Los Angeles on a game-winning drive.
Prediction: Rams win, 34-27
Eddie Perez (@iAmEddieP_)
My guy Marcus Peters has been prepping his batch of gumbo for this matchup. And it’ll be a spicy one.
According to a mothership article by Adam Stites I read not too long ago, Peters allowed just 17 receptions & a 45.1 passer rating when QBs went his direction during the second half of the season (final eight games). If this Marcus is the one showing up to the feast, well shit – let me in on the feast!
The Rams’ two-headed RB monster is muhfucka! Todd Gurley & CJ Anderson can Tun crazy on New Orleans, especially with DL Sheldon Rankins out. Especially if the “Old Faithfuls” on the O-Line dominate again. As for Goff, as long as Cali Cool Jared doesn’t loose it…we’ll be good.
Prediction: Rams win, 35-31
Eric Nagel (@Eric_nagel)
I’ve picked the Rams every time this year. I haven’t been wrong often. Let’s fucking go to the Super Bowl. My body is ready.
Prediction: Rams win, 40-37
Skye Sverdlin (@skyeattolah)
Not sure if New Orleans is a fun place to party or not, never been there- but it won’t matter anyway, the We Not Me crew will be wheels up headed up headed back to LAX ( or Burbank?) with a some big ol’ smiles. Sean Payton looks miserable as Marcus Peters skips off with a pick.
Prediction: Rams win, 34-28
Kristian Ramirez (@KristianRamirez)
This is going to be a tough game. If we win this it’ll be close, I don’t see us blowing them out of the water.
Prediction: Rams win, 24-21
Joey Aucoin (@LARamsRamsRams)
The Rams are a different team since they last played the Saints. The smash mouth approach will still be in effect with Scat & Fat leading the charge.
Prediction: Rams win, 38-24
Elijah Kim (@Big_EZK)
The Rams head back to the Big Easy with much higher stakes on the line. A week after slowing down RB Ezekiel Elliott, the Saints offer a unique challenge with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Marcus Peters hopes to get revenge as well against Michael Thomas. Ultimately, the game is a little lower scoring due to the intensity of the playoffs and the Rams lean their best player in Aaron Donald to keep Drew Brees just flustered enough.
The Rams hang on to win in a thrilling back and forth contest and make it the Super Bowl!
Prediction: Rams win, 28-24
60 minutes to Atlanta and the NFC title. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this matchup is how much both teams have changed since their Week 9 meeting. Defensively, the Rams return Aqib Talib, who should help keep Saints WR Michael Thomas under 200 yards this time. We’ve also added EDGE Dante Fowler, who has helped galvanize a defensive line built middle-out. On offense, we bring in Josh Reynolds for Cooper Kupp, and have added the hottest pinch-hitter in football in RB CJ Anderson, who has transformed the Rams from a pass-first offense to a power running team. After beating the Rams, the Saints offense went on a tear, then suffered a few OL injuries and began to sputter. Defensively, New Orleans has enjoyed the re-emergence of CB Marshon Lattimore, whose play has been elite of late. Here’s what I think: Saints HC Sean Payton and DC Dennis Allen will be expecting more ground and pound, and without DT Sheldon Rankins, the Rams will be sure to give them plenty of the 2-headed TG/CJ beast. The Rams ran the ball so well last week that all of the spicy play-action plays McVay threw into the gameplan got tossed aside. I expect play-action galore this week once we’ve given them a taste of what Dallas got on the ground. We already know we can hang in a shootout with them, so we’ll mix up ball control with some chunk plays and move the ball well. Defensively, I’d expect Wade Phillips to get out of his base sets a little bit more, send some pressure, and try to get Brees off of his spot, modeling how Dallas beat the Saints. Slow down Thomas and Kamara, and you’re going to be right there in the 4th quarter. It’s going to be a hell of a game, but the key will be the loss of Rankins and the Rams’ now-dominant run game. Time of possession favors LA, and Suh stuffs Kamara and Ingram, forcing the Saints into a more one-dimensional gameplan. Enter Aaron Donald to seal the deal with some late-game heroics.
Prediction: Rams win, 38-30
Tim Godfrey (@MrTimGodfrey)
New Orleans is the best garbage city in the world. It’s a damp, smelly dumpster baking on a hot July day, but good Lord is it a fun place to get completely destroyed.
Prediction: Rams win, 28-27
Sosa Kremenjas (@QBsMVP)
Third times a charm, right? Sean McVay refuses to lose to Sean Payton once more, and the Rams come out of NOLA victorious with their ticket stamped to the Superbowl. The running game (and offense in general) continue to click having successful drives end with points. The defense plays a much better game than the first regular season meeting sans CB Aqib Talib. Will there be a Cory Littleton punt block coming? Maybe, I won’t say no
Prediction: Rams win, 30-27
Jared Goff to Josh Reynolds late in the 4th for a Rams win.
Prediction: Rams win, 34-31
Sean Wilkinson (@Papa_Lurch)
The divisional round showed that the Rams have the ability to shore up deficiencies. They’ll have to do exactly that to be successful in the NFC Championship.
Unfortunately, the biggest weakness I saw last week was the secondary. Drew Brees is too talented to allow for any major hiccups - and I think the Rams DBs will have a couple in the Super Dome.
Prediction: Saints win, 27-24
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Prediction: Rams win, 37-31
Brandon Bate (@NoPlanB_)
Ain’t no way I’m picking against the Rams in a game that gets them to the Super Bowl. Even if I thought they might lose, I simply couldn’t.
Rams defense is looking sharp and the Saints’ O-line is looking hurt. Rams keep pace in this one and the defense comes up big late earning them a trip to Hotlanta.
Prediction: Rams win, 34-30