In roughly four and a half hours we’ll have our NFC champion, and our first contender for Super Bowl LIII. Who will it be? It’d take a brave man to bet anything of note on either the New Orleans Saints or the Los Angeles Rams. This one’s too close to call.
New Orleans’ Drew Brees is 15 years and 272 days older than LA’s Jared Goff – it’s the largest age gap in conference championship history. They will hold that record for all of a few hours, when Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes (18 years and 45 days) clash later tonight.
Can Brees make his experience pay? He was the NFL’s most accurate passer once again this season, and when these two met back in week nine he threw four touchdowns to four different receivers in a 45-35 victory.
The Rams were torched by wide receiver Michael Thomas that day – he went for an incredible 211 yards, even more than the game-winning 171 he had against the Eagles last week. LA were missing star cornerback Aqib Talib for the last meeting, he’s going to need to be at the very top of his game to stand any chance to keeping Thomas quiet.
Los Angeles have transformed into a smash mouth, ground and pound style offense in the late season. The week 16 addition of CJ Anderson, cut by the Panthers and the Raiders, has been a revelation. He’s rushed for 422 yards and four touchdowns in his three games as a Ram, and both he and Todd Gurley went over 100 in last week’s win over the Cowboys. Does New Orleans’ number two-ranked run defense have what it takes to stop them? And if they do, does Jared Goff have what it takes to go toe to toe with Brees?