With one minute, forty-seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the 2019 NFC Championship, the New Orleans Saints' offense was on the thirteen-yard line-a throwing touchdown by veteran quarterback Drew Brees was all but inevitable. The score was 20-20; a touchdown would have essentially ended the game.Just when it seemed like the Saints were bound for Superbowl 52, a referee tore the game out of their hands.
Nickell Robey Coleman, Rams' cornerback, decimated Saints' wide receiver Tommylee Lewis while a pass from Drew Brees still spiraled through the air. It was an obvious pass interference call; no flag was thrown.The Saints would have to settle for a field goal.The Rams went on to win the game in overtime, 26-23. If it weren't for such abhorrent officiating, the Saints would have been Superbowl contenders.
It was as heartbreaking an end to the season that was possible, but, despite the awful conclusion, the saints are poised to make another deep run in the playoffs.Drew Brees, after a 2018 year that saw a career-high 74.4 completion percentage, returns for his 19th season.Beside him will be two-time pro bowler Alvin Kamara-who rushed for 883 yards and gathered an additional 709 receiving yards in 2018.Protecting the future hall of quarterback and leading the way for the talented third year running back are big-men Terron Armstead, Ryan Ramczyk, and Andrus Peat.These three make up the core of one of the NFL's most talented offensive lines.If that wasn't enough, the Saints also return the highest paid receiver in the league, Michael Thomas.In 2018, Thomas raked in a league-high 125 receptions with 1,405 receiving yards.Expect to see a Saints' offense that is just as explosive and sensational as it's ever been.
Complementing the Saints' stellar offense is an experienced defense that is filled with talent at every level.Cameron Jordan-superstar defensive end who tallied twelve sacks in 2018 and thirteen in 2017-will be terrorizing opposing quarter backs from the edge while the interior is stuffed by Malcolm Brown and Shelden Rankins.This defensive line, which allowed only 80.2 rushing yards per game in 2018, allows for line backers Demario Davis A.J. Klein, and Alex Anzalone to flourish in their positions.In the secondary, Marshon Lattimore, one of the NFL's best cornerbacks, will play alongside former New York Giant Eli Apple, Von Bell, and Marcus Williams.Hopefully, with such a talented front seven, the Saints' secondary can improve on the 268.9 yards per game-29th in the NFL-they let up in 2018.
In week two, amidst a challenging open to the 2019 season, the Saints will have the opportunity to get some revenge for the NFC Championship theft. On Sunday, September 15, the Saints and Rams will face off at 3:25 p.m in Los Angeles. While the Saints are certainly talented, the Rams-who are currently favored (-3) to win the game-are still extremely explosive on both sides of the ball. Even though the Rams lost defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, any defensive line featuring Aaron Donald will be more than effective. Jared Goff will have star running back Todd Gurley along with wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks to give him support on the offensive side of the ball.
In week one, the Rams barely inched out the Carolina Panthers 30-27. While it was a close game, the Rams showed they can still dominate a game if the opposing team is not properly prepared. In similar fashion, Saints' kicker Wil Lutz nailed a 58-yard, game-winning field goal to give the Saints a 30-28 win over the Houston Texans. Despite being 40 years old, Drew Brees, can still effectively command Sean Payton's offense. Expect this week two matchup to be a high scoring, back-and-forth contest that will be decided in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.