Sunday, February 3rd 6:30 PM: NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams vs AFC Champion New England Patriots (-2.5)
The Patriots represent the AFC in the Super Bowl for the third time in a row, fourth in the last five years, and ninth in the last eighteen years. The Rams are in the Super Bowl for the first time since losing Super Bowl XXXVI to the Patriots. This matchup is a battle of the old guard vs the new. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have dominated the league for two decades, while Jared Goff and Sean McVay have turned around the Rams franchise to become one of the most exciting young teams in awhile.
The Patriots offense has been balanced in it’s success throughout this playoff run. Despite losing Josh Gordon and Rob Gronkowski being primarily a blocker, New England revived it’s offense with a balanced running attack. Sony Michel has a been a touchdown scoring machine on the ground and James White has become a reliable receiving option out of the backfield. Julian Edelman, who missed last year’s Super Bowl, is back and making clutch catches once again. The offensive line has really stepped up and prevented Brady from being sacked, but they will face their biggest challenge against defensive player of the year Aaron Donald, who had 20.5 sacks during the season. This will be one of the key matchups to watch during the game.
The big question for the Rams offense in this game is the status and effectiveness of Todd Gurley, who was essentially benched during the NFC Championship. If Gurley is healthy, the Patriots will have to watch out for two running threats on the ground with C.J. Anderson contributing significantly during his playing time. The other matchup to watch will be Stephon Gilmore on Brandin Cooks. Gilmore has been burned a couple of times in the playoffs against speedy deep threat receivers, and that’s exactly what Cooks is. The Patriots will need to pressure Goff early to get in his head if they want to have success on defense. Goff has shown that he’s not easily rattled after coming back from double digits in New Orleans, so it will be important to not let him get comfortable. The play calling of coach Sean McVay will be critical to getting the Rams in rhythm.
Overall, I think this will be a close game. The Patriots have the experience and the Rams have the talent. Ultimately I think the Rams talent and coaching will put them over the edge in this game. Los Angeles wins 33-27 and Jared Goff wins MVP.
PROP BET PICKS
National Anthem OVER 1:45
Coin Toss: TAILS
Gatorade color: BLUE
Will either team attempt at 2 point conversion; YES
First offensive play: PASS
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.