TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama will look to take a big step toward the SEC title game when they face off against LSU on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.

Following the matchup against Tennessee two weeks ago, revenge will be on the mind of the Alabama players once again when they take on the Tigers this week. LSU won last years matchup and sent Alabama out of the title race all together with a 32-31 overtime win. While last year’s game was memorable for a lot of reasons, this year’s game is shaping up to be just as good.

Alabama comes into this game 7-1, and 5-0 in SEC play. The Crimson Tide are still firmly in the playoff hunt, but cannot afford to drop another game if they want to make it. Currently ranked No. 8 in the playoff rankings, the only real way for Alabama to make into the playoffs is with the 11-1 record and SEC Championship win. This game has a lot of stakes in that SEC championship picture, as the winner takes firm control of the west division and will control their own destiny.

LSU comes into the game ranked No. 14 with a 6-2 record, and a 4-1 mark in the SEC. The Tigers are getting hot at the right time, but their defense still leaves a lot to be desired. They have given up more than 30 points four times this season and lost two of those games; to Florida State in week one 45-24, and to Ole Miss 55-49 on Sept. 30. The defense played better against Auburn in their last game, but they have struggled when they face a team that can score a lot.

Jayden Daniels is the talk of the town for LSU and with 25 touchdowns to just three interceptions, he has garnered a lot of Heisman talk. He leads an offense that averages 47 points-per-game, including two games with over 60 points, all be it against Army and Grambling State.

The Tigers have potential to really stress the Alabama defense, which has not been stressed like this for a while. The wins over Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas A&M have been good for Alabama, but those teams do not have the firepower that LSU has.

Alabama’s biggest key to this game will be how the secondary plays. It’s been a good season for that unit since the week two loss, but the ability of Daniels to run and extend plays is going to be a big challenge. Alabama has struggled with scrambling quarterbacks in the past, and even the likes of KJ Jefferson and Joe Milton has really good games on the ground against this team.

Alabama will also need to keep up with the LSU offense, and Jaylen Milroe needs to be sharp. Facing a struggling defense, the one thing you cannot do is turn the ball over and give them free possessions out of nothing. Against Tennessee that hurt Alabama in the first half after Milroe through a pick in the end zone that the Volunteers scored on.

The offense will have to be really good on the ground and try to keep Daniels off the field for as long as possible. While the running game has been up and down this season, a game like this is primed for Alabama to have a big day. Jace McClellan will be the featured back, but Roydell Williams should certainly have a role as a power back down the stretch.

With Alabama and LSU battling for the last SEC West title in history, the game provides the Crimson Tide with an opportunity to get another big win and take another step toward the College Football Playoff.