SEC Championship Game 2019: Early Preview, Predictions for Georgia vs. LSU

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 1, 2019

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 31: Safety Grant Delpit #7 of the LSU Tigers reacts during the game against Georgia Southern Eagles at Tiger Stadium on August 31, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
Marianna Massey/Getty Images

The 2019 SEC Championship Game carries the most College Football Playoff implications of any title bout. 

The No. 2 LSU Tigers are one step away from entering the playoff with an undefeated record alongside Ohio State and Clemson.

However, the fourth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs could complicate those plans by solidifying their own playoff berth with a win Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

Kirby Smart's team carries an edge in experience since this is its third straight December trip to Atlanta, while LSU is making its first SEC Championship Game appearance since 2011. 

                        

SEC Championship Game Info

Date: Saturday, December 7

Start Time: 4 p.m. ET 

TV: CBS 

            

Preview

It could take hours to break down every intriguing matchup between the Tigers and Bulldogs. 

The main battles will take place between Georgia's second-ranked rushing defense and LSU's Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Tigers' defensive backs versus Jake Fromm. 

In the October 26 win over Auburn, Edwards-Helaire emerged as a strong complement to Heisman Trophy favorite Joe Burrow in the LSU backfield. 

In the last five games, the running back earned 686 rushing yards and scored a trio of touchdowns versus Alabama and Arkansas. 

Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

Georgia gives up 68.5 rushing yards per game, and it has held its last five opponents under 100 rushing yards. 

In three Top 25 matchups, the Bulldogs allowed 151 rushing yards, and two weeks ago, they limited Texas A&M to minus-2 rushing yards on 20 carries. 

If the front seven contains Edwards-Helaire, it opens up more opportunities to get after Burrow in long-yardage situations. 

The 4,000-yard passer is capable of winning the game on his own, but it will be more difficult without support from the ground game. 

In his last five games, Burrow has 1,882 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. 

Fromm has been effective in the last month, but he has not produced the same volume of yards than his counterpart. 

John Amis/Associated Press

In five November contests, the Georgia junior totaled 979 passing yards while throwing for 12 scores. 

He could go through difficulties breaking down the Grant Delpit-led LSU secondary without Lawrence Cager, who may be out several weeks with an ankle injury, per ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach.

That leaves George Pickens as the lone healthy Georgia player with more than 400 receiving yards. LSU has a pair of 1,000-yard wideouts. 

If Derek Stingley Jr., Kristian Fulton and Kary Vincent Jr. win their individual matchups, it could allow Delpit and JaCoby Stevens to inch up to the box and crowd the running lanes for D'Andre Swift. 

The only edge Fromm may contain is his SEC Championship Game experience, as he has five touchdown passes and zero interception in clashes with Auburn and Alabama. 

But without a consistent group of targets, the Georgia quarterback may be at a disadvantage Saturday. 

                   

Prediction

LSU 27, Georgia 21

Georgia's defense should keep it in the game by limiting Edwards-Helaire's production and containing the big-play potential of JaMarr Chase and Justin Jefferson. 

However, the same can be said about LSU's secondary limiting the chances of Georgia's wide receivers. 

While Fromm owns more championship experience, Burrow has performed better this season. 

That could be the difference in what is expected to be the most competitive contest of championship weekend. 

If LSU wins, it will lock up a playoff spot while eliminating Georgia, which is a situation Utah, Oklahoma and Baylor favor. 

If Georgia comes out on top, there is a chance both SEC Championship Game participants would get in due to LSU's resume, which would shut out the Pac-12 and Big 12. 

                  

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

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