Super Bowl LIII Preview and Prediction
Super Bowl LIII Preview and Prediction
Hold onto your nacho hats, it’s time for Super Bowl LIII or 53 to those of you less familiar with Roman numerals.
Bill Belichick’s irrepressible New England Patriots against Sean McVay’s irresistible Los Angeles Rams.
First of all, we have to address the elephant in the room which is how the two teams got here. Yes there was a ridiculous roughing the passer call on Brady and many used this as grounds as to why the Patriots “get all the luck” and that’s why they are here.
Nothing of course could be further from the truth as the Patriots had to deal with some poor missed calls in regards to pass interference where Chiefs players tried to wear Rob Gronkwoski (in particular) like a hat. Even the numbers don’t back up the claim, as the Patriots were penalized six times for a total of 61 yards, while the Chiefs a mere 4 times for 28 yards.
The bigger discussion – especially if you are associated with the boys from the Bayou – comes in the ludicrous non call concerning Nickell Robey Coleman and his hit on Tommy Lee Lewis. The hit was so early, it may as well have been on Jerry Lee Lewis.
Now, it’s without a doubt one of, if not the worst non calls that the game has ever seen but it did not decide the game. It could have but it didn’t. What decided the game was Brees not playing up to the standard he can and that we expect of him.
What decided the game was the Rams overcoming the odds to go into the biggest home advantage in NFL, the Super Dome and for McVay to make adjustments time and time again as he and Sean Payton went head to head in a championship game for the ages.
Forget for a moment how incredible Brady is and how amazing he was in that fourth quarter, and realize that this was the better pure football game. Not the better story, not the happier outcome but a great example of smash mouth chess without losing an offensive edge.
The bottom line is, Saints still could have won that game. The Saints won the coin toss for overtime, they had the ball but they could not execute. Given everything that the Rams had to overcome to win that game, it is disingenuous to say the least to state that they don’t deserve to be in a Super Bowl. Saints fans, I hear you but that’s not on the Rams. You of all people know how hard it is to go to your house and win.
They say styles make fights and if you want the kind of offensive nirvana that was the Chiefs v Rams then prepare to be extremely disappointed.
The last time these two teams met in Super Bowl 36 it was a low scoring affair. The Rams were expected to win the game with forgotten figure Ricky Proehl stating that it was to be “the beginning of a dynasty”, he was right of course but he just backed the wrong team. To be fair to Proehl he scored the go ahead Touchdown a 26 yard reception where he beat not one but two Patriot defensemen to get into the end zone, he could easily have been the hero had Adam Vinatieri not been on the field, it really is a game of inches.
Like this game I don’t see more than a TD between these two teams and like this game, I don’t see the Rams high-powered offense getting the run of the field.
We don’t really need to go into coaches too much as we know what they are about but I feel it is well worth pointing out that McVay shouldn’t be seen as inferior to Belichick. What McVay has done already in the game is mind-blowing given he just turned 33 in January. For perspective that makes him eight years younger than Tom Brady and would have him as the fifth oldest player on New England’s roster. The Rams have quite the future to look forward
McVay quickly realized that he couldn’t just sling it with Goff and developed the Rams into a much more run focused team but such is his command of situational football, he’s able to adapt play-by-play so if you decide to bring a blitz or pack the box, he will make you pay for it sooner or later.
Belichick is the same, he adapts his defense and his offense to whomever he is playing. He’s known predominantly for taking away your best player, but really what he can do if he’s at his best is take away your offense, regardless of how good it might be.
The Rams are ideally positioned to beat the Patriots. They may not have the same PR firm working for them as “the Legion of Boom” or “the underdogs” but make no mistake, they have the talent to give the Patriot nightmares.
They have a QB that while not a world beater, has a coach who trusts him to do what he needs him to do and as we saw with Foles, an over the hill Peyton Manning and an Eli Manning in the right place at the right time, sometimes that’s all you need. I understand why people think Brady is unbeatable and he’s earned his reputation but sometimes you need to separate the myth from the man.
If Gurley isn’t injured which McVay says he isn’t and he can sort his head out, I don’t see how the Patriots will stop him and CJ Anderson from making a difference. Their defense is again a product of Belichick and while he gets the most out of his team, that Rams O-Line is just too damn talented. For comparison, see what they did to the Cowboys D that carried that Dallas team this year.
They have receivers who can perform consistently and make game changing plays however they will really have to be on it to get the better of one of the more underrated secondaries in the league.
Wade Phillips. With everyone talking about McVay – and rightly so – it’s easy to forget that one guy in the Ram’s organization already has the key to beating Brady. It’s simple really, Wade will give different looks but he will try to get pressure up the middle and with Suh and Donald, who really has a better chance at this? Phillips managed it in the AFC Championship game that led the Broncos to Super Bowl 50 in place of the Patriots and that again shows how you don’t need to beat Brady by having someone outplay him offensively.
Statistically, the way you beat Brady is to unsettle him in the pocket with consistent pressure. Two teams have beaten Brady and the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the Eagles and the Giants. The Eagles pressured him 40% of their plays, The Giants 43% and 46% in Super Bowls 42 and 46 respectively. Maybe this means the Rams have to bring around 50% based on the correlation between pressure and Super Bowl number designation?
Anyway, the question you have to ask yourself is, do you think that the Rams have the talent and the game plan to replicate this? I believe they do.
Prediction: Rams 27 – Patriots 24
MVP: Todd Gurley (I think there will be a D player who stands out but they will always look to an offense guy first and if the Rams are to win a close one, Gurley has to be on it)