Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints
Date and Time: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 3:05 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Opening NFL Odds: New Orleans -3, 56.5
Rams vs. Saints TV Coverage: FOX
While far from a masterpiece, the Rams did just enough to take care of business at home against the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round. Though the defense allowed Dallas to score the game’s first touchdown, it didn’t allow a meaningful point again until Dallas struck for another score with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter. LA’s 1-2 punch out of the backfield proved to be too much with Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson combining for 238 yards and 3 TD on the ground to ultimately lead the Rams to the 30-22 win and cover at offshore sportsbooks as touchdown favorites. The over cashed as well moving it to 3-1 the last four times Los Angeles took to the gridiron.
Last week’s home tilt against the Eagles started off as nothing short of a nightmare. Drew Brees saw his first pass attempt of the game get picked off. Moments later, the reigning Super Bowl champs held a 7-0 lead which swelled to 14-0 just over five minutes later. It wasn’t until 7:23 of the second quarter that the Saints finally hit the scoreboard. They added another field goal to go into the break trailing 14-10. That’s when the New Orleans defense rose to the occasion and shut the Eagles out the rest of the way. The Saints scored 10 points themselves, but it’s the three points they failed to score that had everyone talking after Will Lutz missed the chippy that would’ve got the home team in front of the number. Either way, the Saints enter this matchup having failed to cover each of their last four games as well as five of the last six.
Player To Watch
Todd Gurley – The Rams Pro Bowl back hasn’t looked himself since injuring his knee weeks back. So much so that the now plus-sized C.J. Anderson has become a thing. If the latter dominates the stats this Sunday, the Rams won’t have a shot of winning let alone covering this game. As good as the Saints have been defending the run in allowing just 78.4 yards per game ( No. 2 ) and a measly 3.6 yards per rush attempt ( No. 1 ), LA’s premiere running back must find a way to solve the riddle that has been Dennis Allen’s run defense.
If not, I’m not sold in the least of Jared Goff being able to lead this team to victory as bad he’s looked since the team returned from their Week 12 bye. He has only one 300+ yard passing performance in the six games played since, and has thrown for one or less touchdowns in five of those six games. Making New Orleans account for its ground attack will decide whether the Rams make the franchise’s fourth appearance in the Super Bowl or not.
0 – This was the total amount of sacks both defenses registered against the opposing offensive lines in the first go round. As good both stop units are at generating a pass rush with the Rams averaging 2.5 sacks per game and the Saints 2.9, that output came as quite the surprise. But when you add to the mix that both Los Angeles and New Orleans possess two of the best protecting front walls with the former allowing just 1.9 ( No. 6 ) sacks per game and the latter 1.3 ( No. 3 ), it hardly comes as a shock. With that, it was by no means a surprise to see Goff and Brees combine for 737 passing yards and 7 TD to allow over bettors to cash one of the easiest tickets of the year at online sportsbooks.
It will be very interesting to see if the hogs up front can mimic that output in the second meeting between these teams this season. Smart money says that won’t be the case. Especially with the Rams pass defense becoming leaps and bounds better with Aqib Talib once again roaming the secondary.
Bet Rams vs. Saints at BookMaker.eu
I rode the Saints in the first skirmish between these teams and came out the victor. If you remember, LA had come up with a couple of wins with misleading box scores against both Denver and Green Bay before infiltrating the dome. On the other hand, New Orleans was in the midst of a six-game win streak that saw them cover the closing NFL odds five times with wins over the Ravens and Vikings coming in the two weeks leading up to the game. The Saints were far and away the team in the groove the first time around. I can’t and won’t say that’s the case for Round 2!
New Orleans has been hemorrhaging NFL bettors’ money for weeks now. It’s amassed one pointspread cover in its last six tries and was very lucky to come out alive against the defending champs last week. I just have this feeling that Los Angeles has been lying in the weeds waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. That opportunity is now and I firmly expect them to take advantage of it against a Saints team down one of its best pass rushers in Sheldon Rankins. Giving Goff and company more time to run the offense is a recipe for disaster. Sorry Saints fans and backers, the party train stops here!
NFL ATS Betting Pick: Los Angeles +3.5 & +166 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Rams 33 – Saints 27