NFL playoffs: How the Rams and Saints match up in the NFC championship

on Jan20
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The Rams’ passing offense was the talk of the NFL in the early part of the season but they showed in the divisional-round playoff victory over the Dallas Cowboys that they can impose their will on the ground with more than one running back. Star Todd Gurley and late-season pickup C.J. Anderson each rushed for more than 100 yards against the Cowboys, providing coach and play-caller Sean McVay with a change of pace. The combo also enables quarterback Jared Goff to execute play-action passes to receivers Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Josh Reynolds. Goff was not sacked against the Cowboys and will need similar protection against a Saints defense led by end Cameron Jordan, who has 12 sacks. The Saints will be without defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in the divisional-round victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. David Onyemata is expected to replace him in the 4-3 scheme. Linebacker Demario Davis has five sacks, and linebacker Alex Anzalone intercepted a Goff pass in the Rams’ 45-35 defeat at the Superdome in November. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who intercepted two passes against the Eagles, leads a secondary that includes cornerback Eli Apple and safeties Marcus Williams and Kurt Coleman.

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