For the third year in a row, the New England Patriots find themselves in the Super Bowl.
This time, it’s a head-to-head with the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, and with no shortage of starpower in this one. You have Tom Brady going for his sixth Super Bowl ring, while this will be the Rams’ first Super Bowl appearance since the Patriots beat them in Super Bowl XXXVI back in Feb. 2002.
It’s a big change from the Greatest Show of Turf team the Patriots defeated 17 years ago, too, as the Rams come into play led by Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and feature a physical defense that can frustrate anybody with their speed and tenacity.
But speaking in more relevant terms, Brady and the Patriots arrive to this game looking to avenge last year’s 41-33 shootout of a loss to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Here’s the 98.5 The Sports Hub staff picks for Sunday’s big game…
Ty Anderson (Writer/columnist, 985TheSportsHub.com)
After nearly two decades of holding your breath in any Patriots-featured Super Bowl, I think this is finally the one that sees New England win big (relatively speaking). I have a feeling the Patriots are going to pull out some sort of trickery and actually have it work. (If I had to bet on something, it’s them running Philly Philly and Brady actually catching the ball.)
Don’t forget that Rams owner Stan Kroenke is a horrible person.
Patriots 34, Rams 23.
Christian Arcand (The Adam Jones Show)
A lot of people are picking a blowout on Sunday but not me.
The Rams had a better season, and top to bottom are the better team on paper but I believe defense will win the day. The Rams front and physical defensive backs will keep Brady and Sony more in check than the Bolts or Chiefs could, and the Pats defense will confuse Goff and keep their playmakers out of the end zone. No blowouts here, but a victory will do.
I’m not sure who else picked the Patriots to win the Super Bowl in the preseason, but I’m looking forward to seeing them prove me right one more time.
Patriots 23, Rams 19.
Matt Dolloff (Writer/producer, 985TheSportsHub.com)
We’ve seen too many of these Patriots Super Bowls to assume anything other than an absolutely gut-wrenching, hair-raising, unforgettable kind of game that’s decided in the final minutes by less than seven points. Hairs will gray, years will be lost off our lives, Jim Murray will chew all the way through his brand-new pullover. So I’m not going against that at this point. As well as the Patriots are playing heading into this game, as promising as it is that they overcame their biggest hurdle of the season – beating the No. 1 seeded Chiefs on the road – I refuse to believe that this will be anything other than a down-to-the-wire thriller.
I believe the Rams are the toughest offense the Pats have faced all season, tougher than the Chiefs. It’s because they’re balanced, diverse, and matchup-oriented, and there’s no one guy to take away and make life tough for them. Sean McVay is smart enough to take what the defense gives him, attack favorable matchups, and add new wrinkles within his system to keep opponents guessing. I think the Patriots will be well-prepared and do some things to confuse Jared Goff – and that will be the most important thing for them to do by far – but I also think the Rams will be well-prepared on that side of the ball and will be able to move the ball and score.
As for the Patriots offense, I still firmly believe that if they neutralize Aaron Donald up the middle then the Rams will have trouble stopping them. Even if Donald is playing well, it’ll be hard for him to get to Brady when he’s getting the ball out so quickly. I foresee a big game for James White, as he’s wont to do in these kinds of games, and I think Julian Edelman wins his matchup against Nickell Robey-Coleman.
That being said … I foresee a relatively slow start to this Super Bowl as both coaches feel each other out. Then things will open up more in the second half, with Brady and the Patriots ultimately getting the edge in the end. As ready as I think McVay and Goff could be for crunch time, they won’t be ready enough to out-execute Brady and Belichick in those crucial spots. It’ll come down to a handful of key plays at the end, and the Patriots will make just a few more of them to end up with their sixth Super Bowl championship.
Patriots 27, Rams 24.
Adam Jones (The Adam Jones Show)
Everyone thinks the Patriots are the worst. Nobody believes in them. The coach is overrated. The quarterback is a bum. Sony Michel sucks AND blows. New England will use this as fuel for their fire and pull off the biggest upset in Super Bowl history!!!
Patriots 24, Rams 23.
Mike ‘Sarge’ Riley (98.5 The Sports Hub)
Feels like the Patriots win at Kansas City was a million years ago. But the momentum is still on their side in the Super Bowl as the Patriots will have a clock-controlling first quarter, officially ending a streak of never scoring in the first quarter in a Super Bowl with Brady & Belichick. Two touchdowns for Rob Gronkowski, as he announces his retirement after this one. Tough to bet against a team that’s made it to three straight Super Bowls, so why do it now?
Patriots 35, Rams 24.