SEC Championship 2019: Georgia vs. LSU Breakdown, Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 2, 2019

LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) celebrates his touchdown reception during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

For the LSU Tigers to clinch a College Football Playoff berth, their high-powered offense needs to solve one of the best defenses in college football. 

Heisman Trophy front-runner Joe Burrow led the Tigers to three straight 50-point outings, but the Georgia Bulldogs could pose the toughest challenge they faced all season. 

In five November contests, the SEC East champion allowed 51 points to Florida, Auburn, Texas A&M, Missouri and Georgia Tech. 

In its three Top 25 clashes, Georgia proved it could slow some of the top FBS teams, which may help it cause trouble for the Tigers Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

                 

Breakdown

LSU enters Atlanta with the second-best scoring offense, averaging 48.7 points per game.

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The Tigers are second to pass-heavy Washington State in passing yards per contest with 390.

Georgia possesses the No. 2 scoring defense behind Clemson, as it concedes 10.4 points per game.

Only Utah owns a better rushing defense than the Bulldogs, who are one of three teams to allow under 75 ground yards per game. 

Additionally, the fourth-ranked squad is 15th in passing defense, as it allows 186 aerial yards per contest. 

In the regular season, LSU only faced one secondary with better numbers than the Bulldogs, and Burrow torched Alabama for 393 passing yards

Some of the senior's best performances occurred against Top 25 foes, as he racked up 1,478 passing yards and 11 touchdowns versus Texas, Florida, Alabama and Auburn. 

The Ohio State transfer may be relied on to produce similar numbers if Georgia contains Clyde Edwards-Helaire. 

Georgia allowed 151 rushing yards against three ranked foes, and it held Notre Dame and Florida under 50. 

John Bazemore/Associated Press

Silencing Edwards-Helaire will be quite the task, as he enters with 686 rushing yards in the previous five games. 

Even if the Bulldogs contain LSU's top running back, they could still give up 20-30 points if Burrow connects with Ja'Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, both of whom are over 1,000 receiving yards

Terrace Marshall Jr., who has eight touchdowns on 32 receptions, can also threaten the opposing secondary. 

LSU's edge in offensive weapons will make it difficult to stop for four quarters, which could force Georgia to keep up with the SEC West winner. 

Before posting 52 points on Georgia Tech, the Jake Fromm-led offense did not hit the 30-point mark in six consecutive games. 

While Burrow has left spectators in awe of his outings, Fromm has not done enough to be listed among the top signal-callers. 

On six occasions, the junior quarterback failed to eclipse 200 passing yards, and he will be without his top weapon in wide receiver Lawrence Cager. 

The only advantage he has is SEC Championship Game experience. This is Georgia's third straight trip to Atlanta, and Fromm totaled 301 yards through the air a year ago versus Alabama. 

However, the third-year starter could struggle since LSU's defensive strength is its secondary, which is headlined by Grant Delpit and JaCoby Stevens. 

If Patrick Queen, K'Lavon Chaisson and the Tigers linebackers contain D'Andre Swift's big-play potential, Georgia may be stuck in neutral for parts of the contest. 

                    

Predictions

LSU 27, Georgia 21 

MVP: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

LSU will not gash Georgia's defense as it did against other ranked foes.

The Bulldogs should be able to take away Edwards-Helaire for stretches, which would put more focus on Burrow in long-distance situations. 

Keep an eye on Monty Rice and Tae Crowder clogging up the holes and trying to put pressure on the LSU quarterback. 

The Tigers' front seven could do the same to Fromm and Swift, which is why a shootout should not be expected from the outset. 

Eventually, LSU's abundance of talent at wide receiver should do enough to wear down Georgia's secondary. 

Burrow can hook up with Chase, Jefferson and Marshall to work the ball down the field and add to his Heisman-winning resume while clinching a playoff position and eliminating Georgia. 

               

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

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