NFL Week 2: Los Angeles Rams Host Saints in Highly Anticipated NFC Championship Rematch
Posted on: September 15, 2019, 03:00h.
Last updated on: September 14, 2019, 11:26h.
The New Orleans Saints will look to get revenge for their controversial loss in last year’s National Football Conference (NFC) Championship game when they travel to take on the Los Angeles Rams in the premier matchup of Week 2 of the National Football League (NFL) season.
The Rams are a two-point favorite over the Saints at DraftKings Sportsbook in a matchup between the NFC’s two leading Super Bowl contenders, both of whom started the season with wins last week.
Challenge Rules Changed After Rams Win on No-Call
The Saints appeared to be on the verge of reaching the Super Bowl during last year’s NFC Championship. With the score tied 20-20, New Orleans was driving down the field with less than two minutes remaining.
On a third-and-10 play at the Los Angeles 13-yard line, Saints quarterback Drew Brees attempted a pass to receiver Tommylee Lewis. But Lewis was hit by cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman in what looked like blatant pass interference that went uncalled by the officials.
Had the penalty been called, the Saints would have been able to virtually run out the clock before attempting a game-winning field goal. Instead, they were forced to kick immediately, giving Los Angeles enough time to respond with a field goal of their own and send the game to overtime. The Rams would go on to win and advance to the Super Bowl, where they would lose to the New England Patriots.
That incident led to rule changes that now allow coaches the opportunity to challenge pass interference calls, including non-calls.
The fallout from last year’s incident will likely dominate the narrative around Sunday’s game. But Rams head coach Sean McVay is more concerned with how his defense will contain Brees and the explosive Saints offense.
“Their operation is an impressive as what you’ll see, in terms of the different personnel groupings, the way that they stress you,” McVay told reporters. “They understand exactly what they’re doing and that’s why they’ve been at the top of the league, really, since [head coach Sean Payton] and Drew [Brees] have been there for the last handful of years.”
Packers, Chiefs Favored in Divisional Battles
Two other key matchups see divisional rivals with 1-0 records face off on Sunday.
The Green Bay Packers (-2.5) host the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field, and are hoping that their offense can be a bit more dynamic than in their opening week 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears. The Packers will likely need to score more points this week to deal with a Vikings offense that features wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, who Green Bay had no answer for in last year’s two meetings.
In late afternoon action, the Kansas City Chiefs (-7) will visit the Oakland Raiders, who are playing their final season in the Bay Area before moving to Las Vegas. Kansas City quarterback Defending NFL MVP Pat Mahomes will almost certainly put up big numbers once again in Week 2. But Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says he won’t get caught up in trying to outgun his counterpart.
Three years ago, I’d be out there trying to throw haymakers every play,” Carr told reporters. “Now I’ve played so many football games and they come down to the wire so many times. There are no 20-point plays. There’s no nine-point first-down throws.”
The NFL weekend wraps up with a Sunday night game between the Philadelphia Eagles (-2) and the Atlanta Falcons, followed by the Cleveland Browns (-6.5) visiting the New York Jets – who will be without quarterback Sam Darnold, out with mononucleosis – on Monday Night Football.