Halfway through the season, the Rams looked like the best team in the NFC behind Jared Goff, and the Saints next in line with Drew Brees leading the way. Those teams have since diverged, with the Saints now cruising toward home-field advantage while the Rams are just holding on trying not to lose a bye week. And a big part of that is the fact that Brees is playing better than Goff.
But a bigger part is on defense, where the Saints have played very well — and the Rams have played very poorly — over the second half of the season.
In fact, over the last six games, the Rams have allowed an NFL-high 188 points, and the Saints have allowed an NFL-low 74 points.
As great as the Rams were in the first half of this season — and they were great, with an 8-0 record and a +109 point differential — they’ve been mediocre at best over the second half of the season, with a 3-3 record and a -4 point differential. The Saints, meanwhile, have been 5-1 with an NFL-best +106 point differential since the halfway point of the season.
If it’s a Rams-Saints NFC Championship Game, it’s easy to see which defense should be trusted, and that’s the one that leads the league in points allowed over the last six games.