Sunday night. The biggest night of the year for the National Football League for 99 percent of fans. I might be in that lone one percent that gets more excited for the draft than I do the Super Bowl. Regardless, Sunday night is the night we see the two “best” teams go head-to-head, the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots.
I put “best” in quotation marks because I’m not sure if these are the two best teams or it was just a weird season that saw a lot of wonky games. I’d put my money on the latter, honestly.
So, where to begin about this Super Bowl. The last time these two teams met, the Rams were still in St. Louis, smartphones weren’t a thing, Facebook didn’t exist and other generic comparisons you’ve probably read a lot of by now.
Of course, the biggest outcome of that contest was the beginning of the Patriots dynasty. It’s been a rather impressive run for New England since their upset of the Kurt Warner led Rams. Tom Brady has positioned himself as one of the best quarterbacks of all time, and Bill Belichick erased his name from the annals of mediocre coaches after a four year run with the Browns to go with his weird stint with the Jets.
The Rams are the hot young team that was a trendy pick to get to the Super Bowl this season, and did so in controversial fashion in that game against the Saints. That’s been picked apart more than the Kansas City defense this year, no need to really rehash that game.
Los Angeles has a chance to do what they failed to do in St. Louis, beat the Patriots with all the chips on the table. However, give Belichick and his staff two weeks to prepare to slow down a powerful run game and a decent passing offense, chances are they will. They did a masterful job against KC for a half a couple of weeks ago.
The Patriots have been masterful game planners, which has come under flak if anyone remembers Spygate, but they get it done in the biggest games. Except for last year, oh and against the Giants twice. Interesting to note that New England has only lost Super Bowls in this era against NFC East teams.
Somehow NFC East teams have their number as they’re 3-1 against the Patriots in the last decade plus. Doesn’t bode well for the Rams when you look at it that way.
However, this game doesn’t bode well for the Rams in any way. Their top running back, Todd Gurley, has been banged up and is a threat in the run and passing games. While CJ Anderson has done a great job of stepping up, he doesn’t offer that same ability on the field as Gurley does. Smart money says that the Patriots look back at how they stopped Marshall Faulk in the 2001 Super Bowl to slow down Gurley.
Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff, who has improved leaps and bounds since his rookie year, doesn’t have enough to win this game on his own if the run game isn’t there.
The strength of L.A. is in their defense which they paid a lot of money for. They had trouble slowing down Drew Brees for the most part in the NFC Title game, and should struggle against the ageless Brady with his host of no-name receivers and Rob Gronkowski. New England also has three different running backs that makes their offense difficult to prepare for.
The Rams have been looked at as this team that was destined to win the Super Bowl for much of the season. So were the Chiefs and Saints. Football, as we know, is played on a field and not on paper. I don’t love this Rams team in this game.
New England has been the best team in football for nearly two decades for a reason. They have the quarterback, the system, the coaching and a belief that they aren’t good to give them that drive to not get complacent.
As much as I dislike the New England Patriots I don’t think they’re losing two Super Bowls in a row. For a score? I’ll say it’s 24-17 or something to that effect.
Enjoy the game responsibly, be safe and eat a ton of wings.