The Super Bowl is finally here. It's been a crazy year in the NFL, but it all comes down to two teams: the young and energetic Los Angeles Rams versus the elder and patient New England Patriots. It's a matchup that can effect the entire landscape of the NFL.
Both of these teams come into today with a lot of controversy, with Saints fans still in awe of the pass interference non-call from two weeks ago, and the Patriots escaping Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime on the same day. The Rams, led by young quarterback Jared Goff, had another successful season, dominating most teams in the regular season, and then cruising past the Cowboys and squeaking by the Saints to be in the big game. As for the Patriots, many counted them out late in the regular season after a somewhat disappointing regular season, but steamrolled past the Chargers and beat out the Chiefs in overtime to advance to their second straight Super Bowl. Here's how each team can walk away tonight with a victory.
Rams: On offense, they need to get both running backs involved. Todd Gurley was basically a non-factor against New Orleans and LA needs him to be active and performing more often. On the defensive end, the front four (led by DPOY Aaron Donald) have to find ways to beat New England's offensive line. The Patriots' line has been dominant in the postseason, but the Rams have one of the best pass rush attacks in the league. If both of these go Los Angeles' way, they walk out of Atlanta with a win.
Patriots: Tom Brady needs to take advantage of the Rams' secondary, as it is one of the weaker ones in the postseason. The Patriots have relied on the run a lot in the postseason, but the Rams have a lot of great run stoppers on defense and not nearly as many great pass defenders. I'm expecting big games from Julian Edelman and James White, and Brady has to take advantage of these targets. Another big key is the offensive line. I mentioned this with the Rams: the O-Line for the Patriots has been very good in the postseason thus far. While L.A. has great pass rushers like Donald and Ndamukong Suh, the Pats have maintained other great ones recently such as Joey Bosa and Chris Jones. If the Patriots are able to neutralize the Rams' pass rush and give Brady more time to throw, the Patriots will win this game.
It's a true battle between young and old in all aspects of the game. The Patriots have much more Super Bowl and overall playoff experience, but the Rams arguably have more talent and impact players. I'm not expecting either defense to be potent in these conditions, especially between these two offenses, but anything can happen. I still truly believe that whoever wins in the trenches between the Patriots' offensive line and Rams' defensive line will win this game. And for me, this Patriots offensive line is capable of shutting down the Rams just like they did to the Chargers and the Chiefs. I have Brady, Belichick, and Patriots winning Number 6.
Prediction: Patriots def. Rams 38-24