NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly previews Sunday's NFL conference championship games

It's the Rams/Saints and Patriots/Chiefs to reach SB 53 in Atlanta!

Arthur Triche
January 18, 2019 - 10:55 am
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees

© Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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We've reached the NFL's version of the Final Four as the league hosts their conference championship games in New Orleans and Kansas City, as the Rams travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints, and the Patriots head to Kansas City to meet the Chiefs.

In the first game, it's a rematch from Week 9 of the regular season - which was also held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome - as the Saints posted their seventh win of the season and dropped Los Angeles from the ranks of the unbeaten, with a 45-35 victory.  On Friday's morning show, NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly said while he's picking New Orleans, he won't be surprised if the Rams grab a win, but it won't be easy.  He believes they (Los Angeles) will need to run a balanced offense and keep (Saints QB Drew) Brees on the sidelines.  “Win time of possession, and on defense, you have to disrupt them from their rhythm,” he said. “Brees is not a great deep thrower anymore.”

As far as the home team is concerned, they come into Sunday's contest with the highest-ranked defensive team left in the playoffs, and when asked if they should they load the box on Rams QB Jared Goff, Casserly said, “That what you have to do and be disciplined in your run defense.  The Rams play-action builds off that.”

In the AFC title game, Tom Brady leads New England into the conference final for the eighth straight time.  So while did he suggest that the Patriots were being disrespected after their Divisional game win over the Chargers?  “Brady and Belichick are great at finding motivation," Casserly adds, "and Brady didn’t play up to his expectations during the season, but he’s damn good.  He was outstanding last week against the Chargers, carved them right up.  I don’t know why he doesn’t have a great record on the road though."

Much like the early game on Sunday, the former Super Bowl-winning executive is picking the home team to win.  "Kansas City’s defense is outstanding at home.  Yeah, I’ve picked Kansas City and we’ll see if this is the year that they and Andy Reid break through.”

So it's the Saints vs. Chiefs in Super Bowl 53, says you?  “Maybe we’ll see shootouts in both games, I do think New Orleans will win.  The Rams defense is not as good as it was earlier in the year, they’ve been exposed a little bit.  The Saints defense plays much better at home, I’m not sure they’ll score at the same level they did in the regular season game (though).”