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Which Patriots Defender Will Make Super Bowl Impact?

January 29, 2019

The New England Patriots reached the Super Bowl for the third time in a row by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime in the AFC Championship Game.

Bill Belichick’s men joined the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins to become only the third side to reach three consecutive Super Bowls.

It required a special effort from the Patriots on the road to see off Patrick Mahomes and company. New England’s offense put 14 points on the board in the first half through touchdowns from Sony Michel and Philip Dorsett, while the defense shut out the home side.

The Patriots’ defense put forward an incredible performance in the first half. However, Mahomes broke through in the third quarter, opening the floodgates. Travis Kelce and Damien Williams eradicated the deficit, prompting a shootout between the rising star and Tom Brady.

Kansas City almost had the game won when Brady was intercepted for a second time in the contest. However, Dee Ford was offside when he lined up, eradicating Charvarius Ward’s pick. Rex Burkhead put the visitors ahead, although with 39 seconds remaining Mahomes put the Chiefs in field-goal range allowing Harrison Butker to send the game into overtime.

New England won the coin toss and Brady proceeded to drive his team down the field before Burkhead scored to send them to the Super Bowl. The Patriots’ offense was excellent, but they would not have won without plays from their defense. We’ll now break down the three key defensive players for Belichick’s men against the Rams.

Can Gilmore win his Super Bowl matchup?

Trey Flowers

Flowers has been a mainstay on the defensive line for the past three years in the Patriots’ runs to the Super Bowl. He has been a model of consistency, averaging almost seven sacks per season. However, the 25-year-old has displayed a tendency to elevate his level of play in the post-season.

In Super Bowl LI, Flowers notched 2.5 sacks in New England’s win over the Atlanta Falcons, including a crucial takedown of Matt Ryan to knock the Falcons out of field-goal range late in the game. He was part of the team that struggled immensely against the Philadelphia Eagles last term, although too much of a burden was placed on his shoulders. Flowers’ suffered an injury at the start of the 2018 season, but has found his form over the last two months.

He has notched two sacks in the post-season to trouble Phillip Rivers and Mahomes. His ability to play on the edge along with the interior of the defensive line causes opponents a great deal of problems. Flowers’ contract comes to an end in March and he will be keen to remind teams of his ability for a potentially huge payday in free agency.

As a result, it would well be his last game for New England. Expect him to go out on a high note with a strong performance to pressure Jared Goff. Back Flowers to have over 3.5 tackles at odds of -110  with and over 0.5 sacks at +125  with BetOnline.

Kyle Van Noy

Van Noy was a mid-season acquisition for the Patriots in the 2016 season. It was a move that barely registered on the radar of New England supporters never mind the rest of the NFL. However, the linebacker has become a crucial cog in the Patriots’ dynasty, holding down the middle of the defense.

He was a solid role player in the 2016 campaign when the Patriots defeated the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Van Noy was thrust into a leadership role last term when Dont’a Hightower was ruled out for the season and stood up to the test for the majority of the year.

He along with Flowers ran out of steam in the Super Bowl, but he has bounced back to form, enjoying the best season of his career. Van Noy leads the Patriots’ in tackles in the playoffs with 14 in their two games, while he notched two sacks of Mahomes in the AFC Championship Game.

The 27-year-old’s versatility allows Belichick to be creative with his defense. He can cover tight ends and running backs along with being able to move downhill against the run and provide a pass-rush. Expect him to be all over the field therefore back him at odds of -110  with BetOnline to record over 6.5 tackles and to notch over 0.5 sacks at 2/1  with 888Sport.

Stephon Gilmore

Gilmore has been the Patriots’ best defender in the 2018 season, earning a Pro Bowl berth for the second time of his career and earning a First-Team All-Pro accolade for the first time.  The 28-year-old has lived up to the billing after Belichick opted to spend $65m to secure his signature in the off-season two years ago. Gilmore moved from the club’s AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills and will not have regretted his decision.

He has been a lockdown cornerback in the mould of Darrelle Revis, who was one of the key anchors of the Patriots’ Super Bowl triumph in the 2014 season. Gilmore has often drawn the leading wideouts from opposing teams and has thrived in those situations. Belichick opted not to place him on Tyreek Hill in the AFC Championship Game and may decide to place his star man on Robert Woods.

Woods and Gilmore were team-mates at Buffalo and a battle between the duo could be one that decides the Super Bowl. Goff needs a safety valve and without the injured Cooper Kupp there is no obvious candidate outside of Woods, who has amassed 1,200 receiving yards this term.

Gilmore’s task will be to eradicate his former team-mate from the game. That could lead to an interception as he helped Duron Harmon with a pick of Nick Foles in Super Bowl LII. Back Gilmore at odds of +450  to get one for himself this time around at Bovada, while also back him to defend over 1.5 passes at odds of +160  with BetOnline.

Tips Summary

Trey Flowers To Record Over 3.5 Tackles Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: -110

Trey Flowers To Record Over 0.5 Sacks Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +125

Kyle Van Noy To Record Over 0.5 Sacks Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: 2/1

Kyle Van Noy To Record Over 6.5 Tackles Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: -110

Stephon Gilmore To Defend Over 1.5 Passes Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +160

Stephon Gilmore To Record One Interception Or Over Super Bowl LIII
Sunday 3rd February 2019 18:30 ET (23:30 GMT)
Odds: +450

  • Kyle Van Noy
  • New England Patriots
  • Stephon Gilmore
  • Super Bowl
  • Trey Flowers

    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.