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Super Bowl 53: What to Expect

Courtesy of NFL.com
Super Bowl 53 will be played on Feb. 3, with the Los Angeles Rams facing the New England Patriots, in what is sure to be a thrilling game.

Courtesy of NFL.com Super Bowl 53 will be played on Feb. 3, with the Los Angeles Rams facing the New England Patriots, in what is sure to be a thrilling game.

Vikram Achuthan, Staff Writer

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The most anticipated evening of the year is finally upon us, and, as history shows us, it is unlikely to disappoint. Super Bowl 53, set to take place on Feb. 3, will match the American Football Conference (AFC)’s New England Patriots against the National Football Conference (NFC)’s Los Angeles Rams at 6:30 p.m. in Atlanta.

The game may remind viewers of the Super Bowl 36, where the same two teams competed, resulting in a Patriots win that launched one of the most successful and epic dynasties in the history of the National Football League (NFL). Both teams are offensive powerhouses, and have the ability to score at will. Therefore, it will require an all-around effort from the defensive side of the ball to be able to hoist the trophy.

The Teams

The Rams, who only recently moved to Los Angeles, won an impressive 13 games over the course of the season and defeated the New Orleans Saints in a hard-fought battle. They are led by Sean McVay, a second-year coach who has gained a reputation in the NFL for being a smart and proficient play caller. While both sides of the Rams are well equipped to overwhelm opponents, there is one team in the NFL that has consistently proven to be just as formidable of an opponent.

Returning to their Super Bowl for the fourth time since 2015, the Patriots, led by legendary coach Bill Belichick and 41 year-old hall of fame bound quarterback, Tom Brady, have dominated the NFL for two decades, winning five Super Bowl rings, with nine total appearances, including Sunday’s match. The Patriots, who suffered a couple losses at the beginning of the season, ended it with a relatively mediocre record of 11-5 but have since then bounced back to return to the Super Bowl.

How The Patriots Could Win

The Patriots have boasted a superior offensive line all season that has allowed for an explosive rushing attack led by running back Sony Michel. The offensive line will have to shut down the Rams’ explosive and talented defensive line, and prevent them from sacking Brady. In the two previous Patriots playoff wins, they were able to score on their opening possessions while also taking a considerable amount of time off the clock; if the Patriots are able to get the momentum on their side early in the game with a few scores, it will make it difficult for the Rams to comeback.

Meanwhile on defense, the Patriots should up their efforts in stopping the Rams’ star running back, Todd Gurley, who has had a great season overall but has struggled in the last few games. Rams quarterback Jared Goff, a third-year starter, has also excelled this season, but there remains doubt if he can deliver under the pressure on a high stage. If the Patriots are able to shut down the Rams’ running game, forcing Jared Goff to pass, he could be prone to making mistakes.

If there is one football organization in the NFL that you should not bet against, it is the New England Patriots. Their experience and success under the bright stage has shown that they can win in any situation, and on Sunday night, if they play cohesively on both sides of the football, it is very likely that they will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

How The Rams Could Win

The Rams’ pass rush consisting of star defensive ends, Aaron Donald and Dante Fowler, has been stellar this past season in blitzing quarterbacks. To win this game, getting to Brady, who has been protected like a crown jewel this season, will be a priority. In addition, the Rams’ secondary has also been effective all season, especially last week when they held a powerful Saints offensive to only 23 points while intercepting Drew Brees in overtime, allowing them to set up a game-winning field goal. One of the most important keys to victory for the Rams will definitely be to force the Patriots offense to succumb to high pressure by preventing  Brady from scoring points at will.

Coach McVay is sure to come up with an ambitious play sheet that will attack the Patriot’s secondary with deep throws to playmakers such as Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. The Rams should focus their efforts on getting the ball to their star wide receivers while also balancing their passing attack with dominant runs from Gurley and CJ Anderson. Goff will also have to do his best to evade a scathing Patriots pass rush, much like Patrick Mahomes did in the AFC Championship game.  

Final Take

This game will come down to which defense is able to consistently put pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback and thwart the running game. Both teams have different strengths and weaknesses, and it will be difficult for either team to gain a significant advantage until the end of the game. However, in the end, the Rams will use their superior offensive weapons and disciplined defensive line to close out the game in the waning minutes. The Rams coaching staff will be able to implement enough wrinkles in their game plan to confuse the Patriots and eventually, defeat Belichick and Brady, allowing them to claim their second Lombardi Trophy of their franchise’s history.

Prediction: Rams, 21-16

 

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Super Bowl 53: What to Expect