Championship Weekend Preview

Rams (13-3) at Saints (13-3)- It wouldn’t be controversial at all to say the two best teams in the NFC have made it through. Both teams feature explosive attacks in the air and on the ground. Both have solid defenses that are capable of stopping the run. These two have met before, with the Saints ending the Rams perfect run at 8-0. The Saints won that one in week 9 45-35. In the Divisional round the Rams not only beat the Cowboys, but also discovered a gift in CJ Anderson. Anderson and Gurley give the Rams a two headed monster to try and match the Saint’s Ingram and Kamara. The Saints defense was impressive in their win over the Eagles, holding the defending champs to 14 points. They forced 2 interceptions and allowed only 49 yards of rushing. The two teams are hot, well rounded, and well coached. It should make for a crazy game. Drew Brees lead the league in both completion percentage and QB rating. The Rams defense was less than stellar as they allowed an average QB rating of 93.8 for 17th in the league as well as over 122 yards of rushing for 23rd. The Rams were unable to put too much pressure on QBs with only 41 sacks for 15th in the NFL. The Rams saving grace on defense is turnovers. They forced 30 turnovers for 3rd in the NFL. Jared Goff averaged the 5th most passing yards per game with 293. He may find even more success against a Saints squad that allowed 269 yards per game. The Saints tied for the 5th most sacks with 49, but their real strength was stopping the run. They allowed only 80.2 yards per game for second in the league. Very similar teams in a lot of ways, the separation may come via the run. Either way the veteran QB is playing at a high level. Pick: Saints 28-24. Patriots (11-5) at Chiefs (12-4)- The Patriots heard our criticism and answered. They came up big on both sides of the ball and effectively put the Chargers away early. The Chiefs had a similar outcome against the Colts. Here we are the young QB who lit up the football world vs the veteran who keeps beating time. This Patriots team is built well for their QB, despite not having the best weapons around him. They rushed for over 150 yards and didn’t allow a sack against the Chargers. Meanwhile the Chiefs won handily without a monster game from Mahomes. The defense showed up in a big way and they looked like a complete team. The Patriots have done most of their good work at home including a week 6 43-40 win against these Chiefs. It will be a test to see if they can pull it off on the road. Mahomes put together an incredible season and the key to stopping the Chiefs begins and ends with him. The Patriots can’t boast much on pass defense, but did finish tied for 5th in turnovers with 28. Overall defensively they were seventh in points given up a game with just 20.3. The Chiefs were tied for first in sacks with 51 and picked up 3 more last week. Their ability to make Brady uncomfortable would seem like their best shot. Although the talk of the football world will be on the QBs, the Patriots may decide to rely heavily on the run. The Patriots were 5th in rushing yards per game with 127.3 and tied for 4th with18 rushing TDs. They bring that to a Kansas City team that allowed 132.1 rushing yards per game which was a lowly 27th in the NFL. The Chiefs were the most penalized team in the NFL with 137. It will be cold but not the freezing whether we anticipated. The QBs will get the most coverage but beware of the New England running game. Pick: Patriots 34-28.

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