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Colour commentary: Previewing Super Bowl 53

by Nicholas Di Giovanni January 29, 2019
Colour commentary: Previewing Super Bowl 53

Rams won’t stop Brady and will have to rely on offence

It’s pretty incredible to think quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are taking the New England Patriots to Super Bowl 53, their ninth together.

Just like when they started together in 2001 and won three Super Bowls in four years, they’ll be playing in their third-straight title game when they take on the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta on Feb. 3.

The 41-year-old Brady and the Patriots have had an underdog attitude all season. I would think they’re the favourites for this Super Bowl, even though the Rams’s 13-3 record is better than the Patriots’s 11-5 record from the regular season.

In the playoffs, and especially in one-and-done title games like this, experience plays a pivotal role. Brady is older than L.A.’s head coach, Sean McVay, who turned 33 on Jan. 24, and 17 years separates Brady and his quarterback counterpart, Jared Goff. Not to mention, Brady and the Patriots have won five championships together, while the Rams have two playoff wins since McVay took over as head coach in 2017.

The Rams proved those numbers mean nothing in the NFC Championship against the New Orleans Saints. Up against 40-year-old Drew Brees and Sean Payton, who also won a title together in 2009, the Rams delivered an upset on the roadalbeit a controversial one, but let’s not open that can of worms.

In last year’s Super Bowl, we saw how much the Philadelphia Eagles were underdogs against the Patriots. Even though Brady threw for over 500 yards and three touchdowns, the Eagles simply outscored them and won 41-33. If the Rams want to win this year, they just need to score a lot of points.

Even with a strong defence that features defensive linemen Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, the Rams likely won’t stop Brady. If L.A. needs to rely on their defence, they won’t win this game.

Instead, Goff is going to have to step up and make big plays. McVay also has to use this season’s third-leading rusher, Todd Gurley, more than he did against the Saints and at the same time give touches to back-up running back C.J. Anderson, whose experience winning a Super Bowl in 2016 may be invaluable to a young team.

For the Patriots to win, they just have to stick to their game plan. They know whatever they do works, because it’s brought them to four Super Bowls in the past five years. The Patriots had the 11th-best run defence this season, so if they can shut down the Rams’s running game, Brady and Belichick will be collecting their sixth ring together.

Prediction: 31-27 New England Patriots. Eight people from our staff predicted the Patriots to win Super Bowl 53, with three choosing the Rams.

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