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Pats vs. Rams - A Breakdown of Super Bowl 2019 LIII Contenders

January 31, 2019

With Super Bowl LIII set to kick off in just a few days, youre probably gearing up for an exciting game and party. Those attending the Super Bowl in-person are finalizing your travel plans to Atlanta, GA and cant wait to experience the thrill of a football fans lifetime.

With that said, here we examine our two championship rivals - the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. Theyve both had incredible seasons, managing to dominate their biggest rivals while overcoming setbacks.

But of course, only one team can prevail. Say what you will about both squads, but they each have strengths and weaknesses that could propel either side to take the Lombardi Trophy home.

The New England Patriots

Love them or hate them, the New England Patriots are a championship team year in and year out. They suffered a disappointing loss against the Eagles last year, but theyre back at again with a chance for redemption.

New England Patriots Strengths

  • Solid running game
  • Strong deep corner group
  • Pass rush creates pressure for opposing teams
  • Flexible defensive line
  • Formidable three-player running back attack

New England Patriots Weaknesses

  • They can fold under interior pressure
  • The Patriots struggle to defend runs
  • Theyre not very strong on the road

New England Patriots Key Players

  • Julian Edelman - Edelman seems to have gotten even more refined with age (hes now 32) and looks to be in peak form despite his ACL injury last season. When he and Tom Brady connect with precise timing, Edelman is very difficult to stop.
  • Sony Michel - The 23-year-old running back pushes out of the backfield in dangerous fashion. He has fantastic presnap recognition ability, can withstand hard hits without losing too much momentum, and reads his blocks quite well.
  • James White & Rex Burkhead - The other two-thirds of the Pats running back trio, White and Burkhead, will serve as powerful support for Michel. Burkhead possesses the quickness to get to the hole easily and the strength to break tackles. White comes with a set of gifted feet that make it easy for him to cut at will and stun defenders.
  • Tom Brady - We couldnt leave him out of the discussion. Theres a lot to say about Bradys game and the expectations for him this Super Bowl, but for now, well say that hes sitting comfortably since his effectiveness rises when hes playing in high-pressure games.
  • Stephon Gilmore - As leader of this defensive pack, Gilmore brings a combination of size, strength, and ball skills (the latter of which has improved significantly). The cornerback will no doubt pose a problem for the Rams, and is Belichicks answer to the Rams athleticism.

The Los Angeles Rams

The hallmark of a team bound for the Super Bowl is having a balance of both defensive and offensive prowess. And the Rams deliver in both departments. That lethal combination is the reason why theyre going up against the Patriots, and why they pose a legitimate threat to TB12 and his squad.

Much of the discussion around the Patriots-Rams matchup has been centered on the theme of youth versus experience.

The Pats bring the experience (Belichick being the older coach at 66, Tom Brady the older QB at 41, and many others simply being older and more seasoned).

The Rams bring youth (Sean McVay being the young coach at 33, Jared Goff being the young QB at 24, and many others simply being younger players). In a sport thats heavily dependent on athleticism, youth may prove to be an advantage.

LA Rams Strengths

  • A defensive line that creates more pressure than any other NFL team
  • Top-notch rushing attack
  • Impeccably talented players on the offensive line
  • Creativity with offensive plays (thanks to Sean McVay)
  • Rams special teams (consisting of players like punter Johnny Hekker and placekicker Greg Zuerlein)

LA Rams Weaknesses

  • Underperforming play from inside linebackers
  • Underperformance from some key players (such as Ndamukong Suh)
  • Struggle to create pressure off the edge
  • Inconsistent pass rushing
  • Too many fumbles (Goffs main weakness)

LA Rams Key Players

  • Todd Gurley - The 24-year-old running back is a nightmare due to him being a physical force standing at 61, 224 pounds, bringing considerable strength with his size. As if thats not enough, Gurley is very aggressive on the runs, flaunting impressive bursts of power and superb vision. The key concern for the Rams is whether his knee injury will keep him sidelined or undermine his performance.
  • Jared Goff - The Rams young quarterback is mirroring the trajectory of Drew Brees in many ways. He has dramatically improved his numbers under Sean McVay, such as his TD pass ratio. His main weakness is fumbling, but his offensive performance is heading in the right place.  
  • Brandin Cooks - It will be interesting to see the former Pats wide reciever go up against New England. Cooks brings the goods in terms of speed and pass-catching acuity, both of which will pose a problem for the Patriots.  
  • Rodger Saffold & Austin Blythe - Left guard Rodger Saffold plays with a solid level of technical proficiency and Austin Blythe combines quickness and agility. They too will be trouble for the Pats if theyre able to fire on all cylinders.  
  • C.J. Anderson - Anderson is built like a brick yet runs light, low, and tough. He picks up the difficult yards and can squeeze his way out of defenders arms.

How Each Side Can Win

This comparison would be incomplete if we didnt look at what both teams need to accomplish in order to secure a win. With that said, weve listed a few scenarios below that could catapult either team into the winning position.

New England Patriots Winning ScenariosLos Angeles Rams Winning Scenarios
James Develin, Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen come in with some heavy blocks against Aaron Darnold and Ndamukong Suh, buying Tom Brady extra time.

Take shots at the speedy Phillip Dorsett - a bit of a gamble that can set up big plays for the Pats.

Give Kyle Van Noy a chance to sneakily execute his defensive acumen and level ball-carriers.
The Rams create pressure on Tom Brady up the middle without blitzing (which lies in the hands of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong) Suh.

Redirect Julian Edelman and other New England receivers, which will reduce the precise timing they have established with Tom Brady.

Let Jared Goff warm up with a few easy throws early on in the game, giving him time to establish a rhythm and connect with Brandin Cooks.

The Tale of Two Potential Champions

Super Bowl LIII is right around the corner and its going be one of the most exciting championship matchups weve seen in recent years.

A lot of the excitement is grounded in the fact that were seeing a team full of veterans going up against a team full of upstarts, both in terms of players their coaches.

Were not going to end off with any predictions, but we will say this: were more than likely going to see a close, edge-of-your-seat finals!

Make sure to check out Super Bowl Tickets today, or if you stay home, get the game started with our Super Bowl LIII Prop Bet Sheet you can Download and Print to play with your friends and family.

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