Previewing 2018/19 NFL Playoffs: Super Bowl

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This is it. The final week of the 2018/19 NFL season. It all comes down to this as the Los Angeles Rams came out victorious after a controversial National Football Conference Championship game and the New England Patriots having won a very contentious American Football Conference Championship game. This will also be a game about talent versus experience as Rams quarterback Jared Goff is slowly becoming a top ten quarterback in the league, while his coach, Sean McVay is a young, but very skilled head coach and they will take on a quarterback in Tom Brady, a five time Super Bowl Champ, who has been paired up with arguably the most brilliant head coach in NFL history in Bill Belichick as they have combined for nine Super Bowl appearances for the New England Patriots. This has all the makings for a great Super Bowl. With that being said, let’s take a look at each team.

Los Angeles Rams

Led by the aforementioned Sean McVay, the Rams won a controversial NFC Championship game as the referees missed a very clear pass interference call that might have solidified the New Orleans Saints chance at moving on to the Super Bowl, but here Los Angeles is with a chance at winning the biggest trophy in football. Their offense is led by the aforementioned Jared Goff at quarterback, but he has a ton of weapons on offense like running backs Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, wide receivers Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Josh Reynolds, and tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, plus they have a pretty solid offensive line. The offense is pretty explosive and seemingly has a lot of weapons to work with that would make any defense have a hard time defending. But the biggest strength for this squad is their defense. The pass rush is incredibly hard to guard as they are very strong and very fast. The defensive line have such players as Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers, and Dante Fowler, the linebacking corp has Mark Barron, Cory Littleton, and Samson Ebukam, and the defensive backs are great defenders as they boast Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Lamarcus Joyner, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and Sam Shields. This team is stacked and very deep, it shouldn’t have come as surprise that they would be in the Super Bowl after the season began.

New England Patriots

The ninth Super Bowl appearance since 2000 and their third in a row, the Patriots embody success. Aforementioned head coach Bill Belichick is a genius when working a game plan, but it also helps to have the most successful quarterback in NFL history with the also aforementioned Tom Brady leading his offense. The offense, while may not boast top-tier talent, has some productive players that make them very potent. On offense, they have weapons like running backs James White, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and James Develin (technically a fullback), wide receivers Julian Edelmann, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan, and Cordarrelle Patterson, and tight end Rob Gronkowski, plus they boast one of the best offensive lines in the league. The defense is a different story as they have been inconsistent all season long as there were times they struggled mightily, however, don’t take them lightly as they can put pressure on any offense like they did against Kansas City, the best offense in the league, in the AFC Championship game as they gave Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs offensive line a lot of problems. The defense boast some good players like Trey Flowers, Danny Shelton, and Malcom Brown on the defensive line, Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy in the linebacker corp, and Patrick Chung, Stephon Gilmore, and Devin McCourty in the defensive backs. This team always finds ways to win games not matter how talented the other team they play is.

Things to look for

Patriots defensive game plan against Rams

If what the Patriots do to the Rams like they did against the Chiefs then Jared Goff is going to be pressured all game. While Goff is more experienced than Mahomes, he is only in his third year of the league and is still developing. The Patriots seem to know how to make an inexperienced quarterback struggle.

Rams pass rush versus Patriots offensive line

Los Angeles has a plethora of pass rush options on their defense as that can make any offensive line have a hard time guarding, but the New England offensive line is very good and seem to be able to protect Brady with no problem.

Rams testing Patriots pass coverage

It is no secret that New England’s defense struggled in 2018, but they have seemingly done a good job against two good offenses this postseason against the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. That being said, McVay will need to devise a game plan with his receivers as they are dangerous and could be hard to defend, so the Patriots pass coverage could be in trouble in this game.

Patriots defensive line versus Todd Gurley

Gurley has been a key weapon for the Rams offense and many teams struggle in stopping him. New England has the potential to stop the run especially with the pressure they induced on Kansas City in the AFC Championship. This will be interesting to watch.

Rams defense against Belichick’s play-calling

Belichick is masterful at beating top notch defenses as they even made a good Chargers defense look silly. He doesn’t go for chunk yard plays, but keeps defenses on their toes as they gets plays for as little as three or as big as eight and does enough to get down the field to get on the board. The Los Angeles defense will have to read what Belichick calls if they want to win this game.

McVay versus Belichick

It is no surprise that Belichick is back in the Super Bowl as he has a ton of experience and has been to this game many time. McVay on the other hand has been highly touted by many as people see him as a great play caller and excellent head coach, but he is still very inexperienced. Belichick will try to use that to his advantage.

Predictions

James Rowe: Rams 28-20. You can never count out the Patriots and that was evident from my last two times picking against them, however, while it will be a close game, the Rams are more complete and their defense will be too tough for Brady to read. He will really have to make some great reads to beat the Los Angeles defense, but they really matchup well against New England’s offense. This should be a fun one.

Ameer Rasheed: Patriots 29-24. Julian Edelmann wins the Super Bowl MVP.

Tali Raphael: Patriots 21-17.

Bryan Jones: Rams 33-28. Gurley has decent game, but Goff wins Super Bowl MVP.

Aaron Craig: Rams 34-31.

Tabari McCoy: Patriots over Rams 37-27. Brady has done this too long, he gets his final ring…unless the AFC stays as perpetually bland as always, Gronkowski rides off into a WWE / bad Brian Bosworth-style Hollywood career while Jared Goff looks at Nick Foles and goes “how him but not me?!” while Sean McVay plots revenge and wins…in 3 years.

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