Aaron Donald Drew Brees
Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams gets a hand on Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 4, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are favored over the Los Angeles Rams in the 2019 NFC Championship Game, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see either team win. L.A. has gone from 3.5-point underdogs to three-point underdogs since the matchup was set, and most of the betting public appears to believe the Rams have a real shot to pull off the upset.

There are certainly reasons to think the Rams can win Sunday and punch their ticket to Super Bowl LIII.

L.A. looked like the best team in football for much of the season. The Rams became the last team to suffer their first loss, going 8-0 before losing in New Orleans on Nov. 4. They won 11 of their first 12 games, picking up impressive wins over playoff teams like the Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks (twice) along the way.

It was the Rams’ explosive offense that was the driving force in most of their wins. They finished the regular season ranked second in both yards per game and points scored. Los Angeles scored at least 29 points in all but one of their victories, and they scored 35 points or more seven times. The team put up 35 points in their 10-point loss to New Orleans.

During their brief two-game losing streak in December, the Rams were held to six points and 23 points. Los Angeles bounced back with 79 total points in their final two regular-season games. They dropped 30 points in the divisional playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys, who were one of the NFL’s best defensive teams.

Todd Gurley put up big numbers throughout the season, rushing for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games. He had 16 rushing attempts for 115 yards against Dallas’ defense last weekend.

C.J. Anderson added 123 yards on 23 rushes against the Cowboys. Los Angeles’ rushing attack dominated the game after averaging 4.9 yards per carry during the regular season. If the Rams can approach that kind of success Sunday, the Saints will have a very hard time keeping Los Angeles out of the end zone.

Jared Goff’s job will become much easier if Gurley has another big day on the ground. Sean McVay and the Rams will have to find a way to account for the gap that exists between Goff and Drew Brees.

No one has been able to stop Brees at home this season. Even as the Philadelphia Eagles limited New Orleans to 20 points in the divisional round, Brees went 28-35 for 301 yards and two touchdowns after starting the game 0-3 with an interception. The quarterback posted a 137.0 passer rating with four touchdowns against Los Angeles in Week 9.

A lot has been made about the success the Saints had attacking cornerback Marcus Peters in the first meeting between the two teams. New Orleans receiver Michael Thomas had 12 catches for 211 yards in the game, beating the Rams’ defensive back for a few big plays.

This time, Thomas will be forced to deal with Aqib Talib. The cornerback didn’t play in October or November because of an injury, and Los Angeles’ defense has been better since his return. Amari Cooper was held to six catches for 65 yards against L.A. in the divisional round.

Aaron Donald was held in check against New Orleans in Week 9. The defensive tackle is the league's best player on his side of the ball, but he had just one tackle and no sacks at the Superdome. Considering Donald led the NFL with 20.5 sacks and 25 tackles for a loss, he’s bound to have more of an impact in the rematch.

Maybe Donald, Talib and the rest of the Rams’ defense can give the Saints some trouble. New Orleans hasn’t been quite the same offensive team since they blew out the Atlanta Falcons 31-17 on Thanksgiving.

Including the playoffs, the Saints have failed to score more than 20 points in four of their last six games. When New Orleans beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28-14 in Week 15, the Saints only had 298 yards of total offense. In the team’s 31-28 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16, Brees had his worst home passer rating of the season, by far, and New Orleans ran the ball 19 times for just 57 yards.

The Rams have looked unstoppable on offense for most of the year. They’ve got plenty of talent on defense. McVay might be the best head coach in the NFC.

There’s a chance that will be enough to help the Rams get back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 17 years.