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Super Bowl LIII Preview: Los Angeles Rams v New England Patriots

February 1, 2019

The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots collide in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Rams defeated the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game to advance, although they did receive a fair share of luck when Nickell Robey-Coleman was not flagged for pass interference.

Greg Zuerlein held his composure twice to first level the contest in the Super Dome before kicking the game winner from 57 yards to send his team to the Super Bowl. It is the first time the Rams have advanced to the title game since the 2001 campaign when they were beaten by the Patriots.

New England faced a tough battle on the road against Kansas City to forge their way through to Atlanta. The Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Chargers in the Divisional Round, but faced the prospect of Patrick Mahomes and company.

Bill Belichick’s men held an early advantage, taking a 14-0 lead into the half. However, Mahomes and Damien Williams rallied the Chiefs and even put them into the lead late in the fourth quarter. Tom Brady responded in turn as Rex Burkhead dived over for a score before Harrison Butker sent the game into overtime with a field goal for the home side.

The game was decided on a flip of a coin that landed in the favour of New England. Brady was clinical when it mattered the most before Burkhead notched his second score to send his team through.

It will be a fascinating battle between young and old. A team paving out a potential dynasty in the NFL against the one that has dominated the league for the past 20 years. We’ll now break down the key battles for the contest on Sunday.

Los Angeles Rams

Will Goff lead the Rams to the win?

The Rams had been on course for the Super Bowl from the off this term and deserve their place in the contest, despite the fortuitous nature of their NFC Championship win. McVay has the opportunity to become the youngest head coach to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. He has a talented team at his disposal, who will give him every chance to pull off the feat.

Los Angeles’ offense has been one of the most dominant in the NFL this term. Only the Chiefs scored more points that McVay’s unit. Jared Goff has taken the next step in his development and looks a polished quarterback that has thrived in moments down the stretch. None more so than outduelling Mahomes in the Rams’ victory over the Chiefs earlier in the campaign.

Goff will need to channel that display to beat the Patriots. New England will attempt to force the ball into his hands to make clutch throws downfield. Nick Foles and Eli Manning have proven that it can be done against Belichick, but Goff will need to be flawless under pressure.

Todd Gurley’s health could be the defining factor of the game. He was not himself against the Saints. Losing his impact would be a massive blow for Los Angeles. If he is healthy and at the peak of his powers, he can carve open New England in the running and passing game. The 24-year-old holds the key to the contest.

Controlling the game will be the objective of the Rams. If they are able to build a lead it will allow Aaron Donald to tee off on Brady. The 2018 defensive player of the year can be the driving force that gets Los Angeles over the line, preventing a comeback from the veteran quarterback.

New England Patriots

Will Brady and the Patriots win again?

The Patriots are a machine that can never seemingly be stopped from reaching the Super Bowl. They’ve reached the game for the third year on the bounce and can become the second team to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy after losing the game in the previous campaign. New England will be haunted by their performance against the Eagles, allowing Nick Foles and his offense to cut through them with ease. Not even legendary performances from Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the rest of the Patriots’ offense could bail them out thanks to Brandon Graham’s decisive strip-sack.

New England’s defense remains largely unchanged from last season, although they are a lot healthier entering the contest. Dont’a Hightower has been their key man in Super Bowls past and could make his third big play in the game to turn the contest in their favour. The Patriots have to stop Gurley and CJ Anderson in the running game and force Goff to beat them downfield. Their secondary is the strength of their defense and they will like the match-ups on offer. The Rams are talented, and with McVay’s playcalling, they will be ready to capitalise on their weaknesses in the front seven.

The Patriots changed the tone of their offense for the post-season. Sony Michel has become the workhorse out of the backfield, producing fine performances to see off the Chargers and Chiefs. Remaining balanced will be the key for New England, easing the pressure on Brady. They cannot leave their quarterback exposed to Donald and the Rams’ pass-rush. Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan, James White and Gronkowski are all clutch performers and have the experience on the big stage that could be vital.

Head to Head

Games Played: 13 Los Angeles Rams: 5 New England Patriots 8

The Super Bowl is a rematch of the 2001 season when a young quarterback by the name of Brady led the upstart Patriots all the way to the title game. The Rams led by Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk were the potent offense that seemingly could not be stopped. However, Belichick and his defense put a plan together to limit them for the majority of the contest. Brady concocted late magic to lead his side downfield before Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard winning field goal.

Betting Options

The Patriots have the edge in experience all over the field, with the majority of their players returning for another crack at the Super Bowl.

Los Angeles have two players on their roster that have played in the game – Anderson and Aqib Talib. The contest last season proved that experience counts for very little on the big stage even going back to Brady’s first title in the 2001 campaign.

Los Angeles have the mismatches in their favour and the talent on defense to stymie the Patriots, who have been up and down outside of the post-season.

The Rams have been the more consistent side so take them to put all phases of the game together on Sunday to secure the win at +130  with Bovada. Also back McVay’s men on a -3 spread at odds of 13/8  with 888Sport, while take the over on 56.5 total points to be scored at -109  with BetOnline.

New England will break the 30-point barrier in the contest at 5/6  with Bet365, but it will not be enough as the Rams will score over 27 points and beyond into the mid-thirties at 10/11  with Betway.


Los Angeles Rams 34-30 New England Patriots

Tips Summary

Los Angele Rams To Beat New England Patriots Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +130

Los Angeles Rams +3 Spread Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: 13/8

Over 56.5 Total Points To Be Scored Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: -109

New England Patriots To Score Over 30 Points Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: 5/6

Los Angeles Rams To Score Over 27 Points Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: 10/11

  • Los Angeles Rams
  • New England Patriots
  • Sean McVay
  • Super Bowl
  • Tom Brady

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.