Who Dat, Who Dat: It’s The Rematch



RAMS: There was some uncertainty surrounding them as we approached the end of the regular season. After consecutive losses to the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles, The Rams went from being considered one of the teams to beat to a one and done team when the playoffs approached. Despite that bump in the road, it was another successful regular season for Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams. Back to back winning seasons and two consecutive NFC West division titles. Not bad for a second-year coach, right? I really liked what I saw from them last Saturday night against the Dallas Cowboys. The running game woke up which was needed to help complement Jared Goff because he hasn’t been the same quarterback since Cooper Kupp tore his ACL. The offensive line looked terrific because they were able to control yet dominate the line of scrimmage in the trenches and really limit the Cowboys defensive line or front get into the backfield. If you ever wondered do teams still play power football, watch the highlights. Todd Gurley had a big game as he’s always expected too, but the biggest surprise was C.J. Anderson. Let’s not act like this guy is a bum or someone that was signed off the streets. This guy can play football and let’s remember that he was an intricate part to the Denver Broncos back in 2015 when they won Super Bowl 50. Their defense gave up 22 points in the win, but this was the best I’ve seen them look in a while. They stayed in their lanes, they pursued the football and they all deserve a game ball for their efforts on Saturday because they shut down one of the best running backs in football in Ezekiel Elliott and held him to 47 yards rushing. They’re here in this round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2001 season when some hall of fames named Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk both played. They will look to punch their ticket to Atlanta in a rematch with the Saints on Sunday afternoon.

Saints: The after effects of the first-round bye showed early for them last Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Their first play of the game with the football, Drew Brees throws an interception. I couldn’t believe it. The Saints also fell behind early in the game by 14 points. But I wasn’t worried because they have an offense that can get you back into games along with a coach that will never hesitate on being a risk taker. Sean decided to go for it on fourth and goal and it paid off. The one thing I took away from the game on Sunday was their offense wasn’t the sharpest, but they did just enough to slide by and make plays to help them move the ball down the field. Their defense really came through for them in that game. They held a prolific offense to 14 points, they put enough pressure on Nick Foles to move him out the pocket and make him scramble which made him uncomfortable. They also intercepted Foles twice including the pick late in the fourth quarter to help the Saints seal the deal for the win. Two halves of the regular season is the perfect description to describe the Saints season. In the first half of the year, the offense was lighting the scoreboard up and they’re known to have that powerful offense. Lately during the stretch run, their defense has really stepped up and taken over. Since week seven, the Saints have held opposing offenses to 17 points per contest. They also aren’t afraid to rush the passer either with recording 28 sacks. It’s truly felt like 2009 all over again for this city and franchise. With a win on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints will advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

RAMS PLAYER TO WATCH: Brandin Cooks– Therefore he was acquired. For games like this. He played in his first conference title game last season and had a big game to help the Patriots advance. He gives the Rams the number one receiver they’ve lacked for years. He’ll also be motivated going into this one facing the team that traded him in 2017.

SAINTS PLAYER TO WATCH: Andrus Peat– He’s been everything to that Saints offensive line. When you need him to fill in at another position on the line, he does it. It’s always good to have that versatility. He’ll have his hands full trying to keep Aaron Donald from wrecking the game plan of the Saints offense.

FINAL ANALYSIS: After their week nine showdown, I said to myself after the game, “I hope we see these two again when it matters”. I got my wish as did many of you. This was one of the best games I saw all season. The Saints got off to such a quick start and never looked back. It’s key for the Rams to control the tempo of the game and start quickly because if they don’t, they’ll be playing catch up as they did in the first meeting. When the Saints are up and ahead early, they don’t look back. The Rams must also collapse Drew’s pocket and force him to get rid of the ball sooner. If I’m the Saints, I’m attacking Marcus Peters each opportunity I get. Michael Thomas had the game of his life the last time these two played. I’m curious to see what game plan the Rams come up to limit him and his touches.