One of the most exciting things about this Sunday evening’s Superbowl between the Los Angeles Rams of the NFC and the AFC’s representatives, the New England Patriots, is that this is a game that will see two of the top-ranked offenses in the league, clash against two defences which have, over the course of the season, proven themselves to be somewhat fallible.
Both teams are packed with stellar talent on the offense and while both also have a number of top defensive players too, there are clear issues with both defences, especially when it comes to giving up big plays and points to high quality opposition. As such, many experts feel that Sunday’s Superbowl LIII could be one of the highest scoring in many years.
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It also helps that both teams have been involved in some amazing scorelines already this season. The Patriots have scored 41 and 37 points in their two playoff games so far this season, while they have been involved in four games in total this season where both teams have scored over 30 points and in one match, the Patriots 43-40 win over the Chiefs in October, both managed to break the 40 point mark.
The Rams have been involved in a total of six games where both teams have scored over 30 points and they have even been involved in one incredible match with the Chiefs where both teams amassed over 50 points (The Rams eventually winning an incredible game 54-51).
Seven times this season the Rams have conceded more than 30 points in a game, while New England have conceded 30 points or more in a game six times in total.
It all seems to stack up towards Sunday’s Superbowl being one that is going to be heavy on point scoring and that it could be a torrid time for the defences of both teams. Indeed, it may well be the defence that can put up the best display on the day that is the eventual deciding factor in the game.
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New England Patriots 2018 Season
The Patriots began the 2018 season well amassing four wins in pre-season and then earning an opening day victory over the much-fancied Houston Texans. However, week’s two and three were less successful with defeats to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions. However, following that the Patriots went on a six game unbeaten run, only ended when they went down to defeat in Tennessee to the Titans.
They finished the season with six wins from their last eight games to clinch the top spot in the AFC West and second seed in the AFC, just behind the Kansas City Chiefs. Handed a bye during Wildcard Weekend, the Patriots then defeated San Diego Chargers on home soil by an impressive 41-28 scoreline to reach the Conference Championship.
There they faced the Kansas City Chiefs once again and the Patriots proved to be the Chiefs nemesis, earning their second victory over the Arrowhead team this season, this time with a 37-31 victory in overtime to earn their third Superbowl place in a row and their fourth in five years.
This will be Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s chance to win a sixth Superbowl since they landed their first together back in 2002, which ironically came against a Rams team, this time based in St Louis, who also boasted a high-powered offense.
Key Player – Tom Brady (quarterback)
He may be the wrong side of 40 and his speed not what it was (although he was never quick to begin with) but in terms of putting his team in a position to win games and following out his team’s offensive scheme to perfection, nobody can touch Tom Brady.
Reckoned by many to be the greatest of all time, Brady continues to defy age and his critics, leading his team to another Superbowl and he is still the man who puts his headcoach’s plan into action on the field. Vastly experienced, an incredible pocket passer and an inspiration to his team mates, Brady will once again have the Patriots hopes pinned on him to win this weekend and he would not have it any other way.
Los Angeles Rams 2018 Season
After a so-so pre season, where they won two and lost two games, the Los Angeles Rams got into gear quickly in the 2018 season, winning all of their opening eight games, scoring 30 points or more in six of those games. Their first defeat came away to New Orleans and only the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles managed to defeat them over the rest of the regular season.
That was good enough for the Rams explosive offense to be ranked second seeds in the NFC behind the Saints. After sitting out Wildcard Weekend with a bye, the Rams then defeated Dallas on home soil to move into the NFC Championship game. That game went into overtime with the scores tied at 23-23. Before the Rams tied the game though, a questionable lack of call from officials saw the Saints lose possession of the ball, when they should really have had at least a chance of a simple field goal kick or even a touchdown which would have secured them a likely victory.
That said, the Rams did the job in overtime, denying the Saints a score, while netting a field goal themselves thanks to the reliable Gregg Zuerlein in order to clinch the victory and a place in the Superbowl. Can Todd Gurley, ominously barely used in that game, be back to full health for the game with New England?
Key Player – Aaron Donald (Defensive Tackle)
While the Rams secondary may be suspect, their offensive line is very strong and the key factor in that line is the immense presence of Aaron Donald. The big defensive tackle has been a one-man wrecking ball over the course of the season, amassing over 20 sacks alone and in conjunction with Suh and Fowler Jr, he has been a massive player for the Rams in the post season too.
Quite simply, if the Rams defense is to stop New England, then it will fall on Donald to battle his way past likely two blockers and pressure Brady, or at least to draw enough of the offensive line of New England away, to allow the likes of Suh and Fowler Jr to get at the quarterback. If he can do this, as he has all season, and they force Brady to use his feet, then the Rams will win the game.
Superbowl LIII Tips
To Win The game – Los Angeles Rams – 23/20
The Patriots may be the favourites to land the victory with the bookmakers but I think that Rams offense is so special, especially if Gurley is back to full fitness, that the Patriots defence could gave real problems stopping them. The key to the Rams victory though isn’t on offense, but defence. If Their defensive line can disrupt Brady in the pocket, then that will be the key to the Rams winning the game. The fortunate things for Rams fans is that they have the best player on defence in the league to do precisely that in Aaron Donald.