Ryan Green: New England Patriots
The significance of this Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup might reside in the passing of the torch from one of the greatest players of all-time, Tom Brady, to one of the future moguls of the National Football League (NFL), Jared Goff. Perhaps one could argue that the appearance of Goff and Sean McVay’s Rams already signifies a potential new era of football, yet Brady and Bill Belichick could be protesting this argument. These two teams meet in the NFL’s dream Super Bowl—an LA-based team against New England’s beloved Pats, after very different seasons.
While the Rams dominated the NFL early on, the Pats struggled to find their rhythm, but are seemingly now playing their best football of the year. Expect the Pats to display their various weapons including James White, Sony Michel, Julian Edelman, and Rob Gronkowski, while they methodically pick apart a suspect Rams defense. If the Rams want to win a trip to Disney World, it is essential for them to establish a reputable ground game through Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson, as Goff will not be able to beat the Patriots alone. However, this is unlikely to happen, and the Patriots dynasty will survive yet another year.
Final Score: Patriots 27, Rams 21
Matt Post: New England Patriots
When Brady takes the field this Sunday, he will be appearing in his ninth Super Bowl, good for second on the all time franchise list. To put this achievement in context, Brady has appeared in more Super Bowls than the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, LA Chargers, and New York Jets combined. The Patriots will expect to establish the run game early and often with their dynamic backfield consisting of first round pick Sony Michel and Super Bowl LI hero James White.
After establishing a run game, the Patriots will begin to open up their play action passing game and attempt to utilize their passing weapons, hoping that Rob Gronkowski can turn back the hands of time and deliver another clutch performance. Yet the Patriots will face arguably their greatest challenge since the beginning of their historic dynasty: the upstart, youth movement, win-now LA Rams. A team filled with young offensive superstars like running back Todd Gurley and wide receiver Brandin Cooks will attempt to burn the Patriots defense at every chance. Expect Brady to carry his team through yet another Super Bowl win in his Hall of Fame career.
Final Score: Patriots 35, Rams 30
Andrew Hollander: Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are the better team on paper, but the Patriots have shown us time and time again that it is foolish to underestimate ageless legend Tom Brady and future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick in the playoffs. This Super Bowl marks the ninth of the Belichick era and the Patriots organization has a chance to tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl victories in NFL history with six. After a rocky season filled with inconsistency, expect the Patriots to come out of the gate firing with the combo of Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski leading the way with consistent 5- and 10-yard throws from Brady in the NFL’s most efficient offensive system. Expect the Rams’ pass rush unit to break through in the third quarter and finally get to Brady and his band of battered receivers. The running back duo of C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley will prove too much for a weary Patriots defense, as Pats fans will warn of a comeback until it’s all but decided in this Super Bowl LIII shootout.
Final Score: Rams 35, Patriots 24
AJ Traub: New England Patriots
It’s a playoffs won by coaching. Sean Payton sparked a comeback for the Saints by faking a punt on fourth down and ended up winning. Sean McVay of the Rams did the same against the Saints in the next week. When it comes down to coaching, New England’s Bill Belichick has the clear advantage. The Patriots bested the Chiefs by developing a game plan that held the Kansas City offense, led by presumptive MVP Patrick Mahomes, to a goose egg in the first half. New England also blew out the Chargers, showing that in playoff matchups against teams that rely on their offense to be the major factor, the Patriots have figured out how to win. The Rams are no different. The Patriots offense should have no trouble with the LA defense. Though Aaron Donald of the Rams defense is expected to cause some trouble for Tom Brady, it’s a sure thing that the Patriots have a plan for that. After all, they haven’t allowed a sack in the playoffs yet. One thing Tom Brady doesn’t have yet in his Hall of Fame career is a Super Bowl blowout. That could change on Sunday.
Final Score: Patriots 45, Rams 27