Super Bowl LIII Preview | Bonehead Picks

Super Bowl LIII Preview

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This Sunday is the 53rd ever Super Bowl taking place in Atlanta, Georgia as the much hated New England Patriots take on the up and coming Los Angeles Rams.

It’s a tale of two completely opposite teams. One has been at the top of the mountain for nearly 20 years straight, while the other has a head coach who is only 33 years of age. To put it into perspective, Tom Brady is 41 years old and is the Patriots Quarterback.

Sunday’s match-up isn’t without controversy, as both teams got in to the Super Bowl due to circumstantial penalty calls and both squeaked out a victory in overtime. The Rams upset the New Orleans Saints due to a penalty for pass interference (as well as helmet to helmet hit) that was never called, leading to the clock to stay frozen and give the Rams the opportunity to go down the field and force OT. While on the Patriots side of things, it wasn’t as detrimental, but a roughing the passer call on the Kansas City Chiefs which wasn’t even close to a penalty gave the Patriots the necessary boost to eventually tie and win their game. However, that call was not as influential to the game outcome because K.C. shot themselves in the foot with an offsides penalty, giving Brady the assist. That’s something you should never do.

So now we have the Rams and Patriots, a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI.

Here’s each teams three keys to victory:

Patriots:

Establish the run – 

The Los Angeles Rams have a fearsome D-Line and Linebacker core that is very hot and cold. As long as Aaron Donald is there, it’s going to be rough sledding for the Patriots offensive line. A lot of the time, you’ll notice the Rams try and plug up the inside, forcing runners to go to the outside in which the linebackers and even their strong secondary can make plays at the line. Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead will need to open up the passages on the ground and even in the screen game. If there’s even moderate success, the Rams will have to drop some guys back in coverage, giving Brady so many different avenues to get the ball down field. If the Rams can stop the run, they’ll be able to stop Brady’s air assault too. So, it’s a necessity to get at minimum 25 carries out of Michel, White and Burkhead to be successful.

 

Pressure Goff – 

The New Orleans Saints were able to keep Jared Goff in check for a majority of the first half and a majority of the second half. Goff has a tendency to make questionable decisions when under pressure and that leads to mistakes by the young Quarterback. The Patriots applied constant pressure on Chiefs star QB Patrick Mahomes in the AFC title game, keeping him grounded until the third quarter. The same type of approach is needed when it comes to Goff, but New England can probably drop one additional guy in coverage or as a spy and still get equal amount of pressure on Goff. The preference would be keeping Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods in check so Goff is forced to go his third and fourth options.

 

Win the battle on special teams – 

The Rams have one of the best special teams squads in the entire NFL, including arguably the best kicker not named Justin Tucker in Greg Zuerlein.

John Fassel for years has been one of the best special teams coaches and football and New England can’t allow the return game of Los Angeles or the kicking game to beat them. They are relentless and have no problem in going for fake punts or field goals. Winning the special teams battle is a must.

 

Rams:

Stick to your guns on D – 

The problem most teams have when facing New England over the years is they try to adjust to New England’s weaknesses and try to beat them that way. Problem is, Bill Belichick is two steps ahead of everybody. During the season the O-Line had issues stopping the pass rush, so Kansas City decided to apply pressure to Brady. Sure enough, the Chiefs couldn’t get a sack if they tried. Belichick and the Patriots only get better as the season goes on, applying patches to holes as the year goes on. The Rams should have Donald, Ndamukong Suh and company act as normal. However, they need to play the best pass coverage possible. Do not send linebackers and safetys on blitzes, it will just open the field up for Brady. Good luck stopping him once he is in a rhythm. If the Rams keep it simple and focus on making stops instead of the big play, they will have a great chance to win.

 

Keep the ball – 

Having C.J. Anderson to compliment Todd Gurley has been the saving grace for the Los Angeles Rams offense. It’s as if they added another superstar piece to the team without realizing it. Anderson and Gurley are two different styles of RB’s that both are kind of limited in the passing game to a degree. The big picture here is to feed it to each hulking back and run that clock down. Ideally, if the Rams can hold the ball for 35 minutes or more in this game, they can win. If Brady has the ball for more than half the game, in the words of Willie Nelson . . . Turn out the lights, the party’s over.

 

Protect, Protect, Protect  – 

This is along the lines of holding on to the ball, but the big thing for the Rams o-line will be if Jared Goff is in a third down passing situation, giving him enough time to find an open target to move the chains. Belichick will be relentless with pressure and different schemes to make life miserable for Goff and company. The Rams need to be able to pick up the blitzes and especially keep an eye out on Kyle Van Noy, who seems to be the next superstar on that Patriots defense. If New England gets to Goff, they’re going to keep getting the ball back. You don’t want that.

 

Prediction: 

Patriots 31 Rams 24

 

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