The Super Bowl is on its way, along with all the hype and analysis
that comes with it. We get the New England Patriots, who are in their
4th Super Bowl in the last 7 years, vs the LA Rams, the team that has
gone through 13 losing seasons since 2004, but now have a new winning
and confident culture led by 33 year old Head Coach, Sean McVay.
New England has shown faith and resiliency with their aging QB, yet
again. The Rams are the hot young team with a flashy Head Coach, and
their young QB. What we are going to do, is a breakdown of each team
with their best attributes and possible weaknesses. To take a good
look at what they bring to the game, and who has the potential upper
hand in this seasons finale.
New England Patriots / 11-5
HEAD COACH: Bill Belichick
PPG / NFL RANK: 27.3 / 4th
OPPG / NFL RANK: 20.3 / 7th
They have the man who fights all comers and wins, they have a player
who just keeps churning out W’s and still keeps putting up 4000 YDs
and 30TDs / year in Brady. Any team with Tom Brady on their roster has
a better chance to win than most.
New England has been in 16 postseasons over the last 18 seasons, this
is their 4th big game in the last 7 seasons. Regardless of if you like
them, hate them, or feel complete apathy towards them, this is still
their league, until they are buried for one and for all. At least
until Tom Brady retires, will the rest of the league feels like they
are the team to beat.
Away from their home, the Patriots have not been great. With a 3-5
record and putting up just 21ppg, 6 below their average, and giving up
24ppg, 4 more than average. Although this game wouldn’t be considered
an away game, no more than away for both teams, and New England likely
have a larger fanbase than the Rams – but they still aren’t in in
their own stadium.
The run defense of New England is a very real problem. This season
having given up 4.9 YPC, and 6 games of 130 or more on the ground to
opponents, and the Rams certainly have a brutal running attack with
Gurley and Anderson running the rock. Which makes strength vs weakness
a classic and intriguing story to watch here.
James White and his sneaky ability to run for key yards and be able to
move the ball with surprising ease is going to be key. White is a guy
with great ability to get into open pockets and a smooth ability to
make big plays vs defenses, and Belichick loves to use him when teams
are on the backpedal. When White has 5 or more carries the Pats are
Los Angeles Rams / 13-3
HEAD COACH: Sean McVay
PPG / NFL RANK: 32.9 / 2nd
OPPG / NFL RANK: 24.0 / 20th
The balance between passing and running the ball is a distinct
advantage Los Angeles has here. With 2 WRs with 1200+ yard receiving
years, an aerial attack with a QB who can light it up for 300 in a
flash, along with a running game that ranked 2nd in the league with 23
TDs on the ground and had over 2200 YDs on the ground.
The brutal RB tandem of Todd Gurley and 230lb RB, C.J. Anderson is
awesome. Gurley is a really special back, who has produced double
digit TDs on the ground for 3 of the last 4 seasons, and had a total
of 1831 yards, including 580 in the air. Anderson has been a fantastic
find for Los Angeles – Anderson brings the punishment factor, that can
beat on or run through a weakened and tired Dline.
Aaron Donald and his relentlessness is coming, beware New England. The
27 year old DT brings a pass rush that the Pats will struggle to stop,
he is a game changer, and is a huge problem to deal with for any team,
and will be here vs the Pats. Bringing his league leading 20.5 sacks –
he will be awfully tough to control at the line.
The Rams team with big named DBs, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib lack a
great passing defense. Giving up 31 TDs in the air this year they have
shown a lack of discipline when defending WRs. Which if you are a Pats
fan, you are ecstatic to have Julian Edelman and Brady clicking the
way they have been over the last 2 games. 16 catches, 247 YDs, and
15.4 YPC is going to be awfully hard for the Rams DBs to handle.
Sean McVay and his 24 year old QB, Jared Goff, can get pass heavy at
times. With 5 games where he threw 40 or more times, and 6 games of
running for less than 95 yards, they are not true to form and lack the
punch when they don’t move the ball on the ground. When they fall into
basing their offensive game scheme behind Goff and throwing the ball –
they are 2-3, the Rams and Goff need to run the ball. Gurley is still
the heart and soul of this team, and will be key here in this huge
How the Rams and Wade Phillips defend the run game is going to be
enormously important. When they give up 110 or less on the ground,
they are 11-0, if they keep the running game of the Pats to those kind
of numbers or less, lock this in, the Los Angeles Rams will roll. But
if the Pats start dictating the pace and the Oline here with White and
Sony Michel, the Pats will likely be holding the trophy at the end.