The NFL season is only into its second week but already, the schedule-makers have gifted fans with an NFC Championship rematch. It is perhaps one of the most highly-anticipated rematches of the season as the Los Angeles Rams take on the New Orleans Saints today (4:25pm ET Sunday).
Last year, the Saints and Rams, the NFC’s two best offenses, clashed to determine who would advance to the Super Bowl. In some ways, shockingly so, it was the defenses of the two squads that shone the brightest. Neither offense managed more than 26 points and that was after an overtime period was needed. It was a fantastic game all around but much like the NFL has been maligned with in recent years, was one where the outcome could very well have come down to a missed penalty call. Late in the fourth quarter, with the Saints driving down the field, a missed pass interference wasn’t called against Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman on New Orleans receiver Tommylee Lewis. At the time, the NFL didn’t allow replay on such calls, a rule that has since been changed for this season.
At the end of the day, the Rams won the game and to Los Angeles, that’s all that matters. They won, advanced to the Super Bowl and finished as the NFL’s runner-up. To the Saints, things are a little different as this wouldn’t be the first time New Orleans had let a chance to play in the Super Bowl slip through their fingers. However, both teams have left that in the past and are focused on the 2019 season and returning to that championship game. Given that early Super Bowl odds have them among the best two teams in the NFC, this week’s rematch could also end up being a preview of another NFC Championship showdown on the horizon.
How Saints & Rams Performed in Week One
Putting an end to any talk of a postseason hangover from last year’s championship loss, the Saints came out in week one and did what they do best. New Orleans scored 30 points, including the three most important ones, when Will Lutz kicked a career-long and time-expiring field goal to give the Saints an emotional victory. Drew Brees had one timeout and about 40 seconds of clock to make magic happen and he did just that.
Much like the Saints had their hands full with the Houston Texans only to come out on top in the end, the Rams had a similar start to their season against the Carolina Panthers. The game wasn’t without its moments, as Carolina and Los Angeles traded scores in the second half. However, it was LA’s first half lead of 10 points that held up until the final buzzer.
Both the Rams and the Saints looked very good in week one with both offenses humming just the way one would have expected. Brees has shown no signs of slowing down with age and while there were questions regarding Todd Gurley’s health this preseason, the veteran running back performed well on Sunday. Los Angeles and New Orleans are two teams who feel they can be the ones to take down the New England dynasty in the Super Bowl. LA had their chance last year, and now, New Orleans is looking to have the same this year. A big test will be this week.
Our Preview’s New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
It is a big game for the Rams and Saints, no matter how you look at. While the story to some extent does revolve around what happened last year with the controversial finish to the championship game, that won’t be the case when these two teams take the field. These squads are focused on an entirely different game and goal, that being a trip to this year’s Super Bowl. Both are well equipped to take that trip, though one will undoubtedly be slightly better positioned come the conclusion of this week’s game.
Jared Goff played okay last week, certainly not well enough to overcome Brees. Gurley ran well in limited carries, but can he outrush Alvin Kamara, who is developing into one of the best backs in the league? Look for those four and their production to help tell the new story of this saga between the Rams and Saints.
There is also another element to consider. Los Angeles will be at home where they have been one of the best teams in the NFL since their move from St. Louis to LA. Over their last nine games, they have gone 8-1 at home. The Saints though, are no slouch when it comes to traveling as in that same span, they’ve gone 7-2 on the road. It was an emotional win last week for the Saints no doubt, but that kind of emotion is one that tends to be captured as the home team, not the road team. For two teams so evenly matched and evenly talented, expect that home field advantage to make the difference here. If any team will be poised and positioned for a game-winning score, an epic comeback, it will be LA. These are the New Orleans Saints vs LA Rams predictions and picks for this preview:
- Take the Rams to cover the spread favored to them by the top bookies for American customers. Most make it a two-point spread, but the best betting option is with Bookmaker, who go Rams -1.5pts @ odds of -110.
- The tougher pick is when it comes to the total. Both of these offenses have gunslinging power and the two teams are coming off of 30-point outings in week one. Is it realistic to believe the defenses, which played above and beyond in last year’s NFC Championship, could do it again? Or should we expect this to be one of the NFL’s highest scoring games this year? Look for Brees, Goff, Gurley, Kamara and the rest of the offensive cast to shine today. Look for big plays, early and often, and look for a high-scoring affair fitting of the firepower that will be on full display in this championship rematch. Go over 52pts @ best odds of -105 with BetOnline.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.