Drew Brees Jared Goff
Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams (L) shakes hands with quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints after the Saints defeated the Ram 45-35 in the game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 4, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are perfectly set up to reach their first Super Bowl in nine years. It’s been the case ever since the team defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Week 9, and the NFC South champs should take care of business again in Sunday’s rematch.

L.A. was the NFL’s lone undefeated team when they visited the Superdome on Nov. 4. New Orleans beat the Rams 45-35, putting themselves in the driver’s seat to earn home-field advantage in the playoffs. The Saints proved to be the conference’s best team from that point forward, and they suffered just one loss from Week 2-16.

The Saints have been especially good at home. They were upset in the Superdome 48-40 in Week 1 during Ryan Fitzpatrick's brief stretch of MVP-caliber play. The Carolina Panthers won in New Orleans in Week 17 when Drew Brees and other starters didn’t play. Aside from those two contests, the Saints have been dominant in front of their fans, and it’s hard to believe any opponent could leave New Orleans with a win this postseason.

The Philadelphia Eagles sure came close, losing to New Orleans 20-14 in the divisional playoffs. The defending champs were even driving in Saints’ territory late in the game before an interception allowed New Orleans to escape with a victory.

Philadelphia really lost the game in the first half when they failed to capitalize on a 14-0 first-quarter lead. New Orleans rallied behind their home crowd and didn’t give up a single point in the final three quarters. Brees was terrific after starting the game with three incompletions and an interception, going 28-35 for 301 yards and two touchdowns the rest of the way.

Brees is a future Hall of Famer and playing as well as he ever has. He gives the Saints the edge at the game’s most important position in just about every matchup. That’s especially true at home, where Brees posted an incredible 133.3 passer rating in the regular season.

New Orleans had the much better quarterback last week when the Saints took on Nick Foles and the Eagles. The same will be true in the 2019 NFC Championship Game against Jared Goff against the Rams.

Goff had good overall numbers in the 2018 season with a 101.1 passer rating, 4,688 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His play, however, wasn’t nearly as impressive down the stretch, and he wasn’t much better in Los Angeles’ first playoff game.

The Rams defeated the Dallas Cowboys 30-22 in the divisional round by dominating the ground game and rushing for 273 yards. Goff only had to complete 53.6 percent of his passes for 186 yards to lead L.A. to victory. That won’t be good enough against New Orleans’ high-powered offense, which averaged 37 points per game in the Superdome with Brees under center in the regular season.

In his last three games against playoff teams, Goff has thrown for no touchdowns and six interceptions while posting a passer rating below 76.0 in each contest. The quarterback was mediocre on the road for much of the season, throwing for 10 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 82.7 passer rating.

Against the NFL’s No.2 rushing defense, Goff will be asked to do a lot more than he was last weekend. He stepped up when Los Angeles visited New Orleans in the middle of the season, throwing for 391 yards and three scores. Perhaps that version of Goff, or the one that had a perfect 158.3 passer rating against the Minnesota Vikings in primetime on Sept. 27, will show up Sunday afternoon.

New Orleans’ defense has been among the league’s best units since the middle of the season. After giving up 35 points to the Rams, the Saints held their next six opponents to 17 points or fewer. Foles was picked off twice and limited to 201 passing yards in the divisional round.

Los Angeles’ secondary had a ton of trouble against New Orleans two months ago. Michael Thomas had 12 catches for 211 yards in that contest, and he went for 171 yards against Philadelphia. Even with Rams’ cornerback Aqib Talib back from injury, the All-Pro should have another big day.

Todd Gurley and Goff will make enough plays in Sean McVay’s offense to keep this game competitive, but Brees, an improved Saints’ defense and the Superdome give New Orleans an edge that L.A. is unlikely to overcome.

Prediction: New Orleans over Los Angeles 30-24