Connect with us


Everything You Need to Get Ready for Super Bowl LIII

Season overview, predictions and updates for the Rams and Pats.

Tom Spurling



Season Overview 

New England  

The Patriots have had more of an up and down season than ever before during the Brady-Belichick regime. Entering week four with an embarrassing 1-2 record, with losses to the Jaguars and Lions, the Patriots found their footing and went on to take down Kansas City in week six. Fast forward to week 10 when the Titans embarrassed the Patriots in a 34-10 blowout. That loss led to worrisome defeats against Miami and Pittsburgh that had New England falling all the way to the fourth seed in the playoffs. 

New England limped into the postseason — barely securing the number two seed — and awaited an expected date with the L.A. Chargers. New England Dominated L.A. at home with a 41 point offensive explosion that left the Chargers dazed and confused. The following week the Patriots shut the mouths of all their critics by pulling out an overtime win against Kansas City — the Super Bowl favorites — in a game where New England led the entire time. 

Now New England has less than a week until they face the epitome of new school offense: The L.A. Rams. This matchup pits one of the greatest dynasties of all time against a rising powerhouse who is changing the way the offensive game is played.

A victory on February 3rd would certainly add a new perspective to the ever-growing accolades associated with the Brady-Belichick Patriots. 

Los Angeles Rams

First off, yes, the NFL missed a pass interference call that should have sent the Saints to the Super Bowl and the Rams home for the winter.

Having said that, one play does not diminish the success that L.A. worked for the entire season. This team is a force to be reckoned with and has a bright future ahead of them. 

The Rams have come a long way since they were the bottom of the barrel in St. Louis. Since right before their relocation the Rams drafted Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, resigned Aaron Donald, and hired Sean McVay… the rest is in the numbers. 

In 12 of the Rams 16 games this season, the offensive unit scored 30 points or more. Jared Goff threw for over 4,600 yards, Todd Gurley accounted for over another 1,200 yards on the ground, and both Brandon Cooks and Robert Woods managed to go for for over 1,000 yards this season. Not to mention Aaron Donald, who finished two sacks short Michael Strahan’s NFL record, ending his season with 20.5 sacks. 

Offensively, the Rams are everything the NFL has ever wanted.

The way they effortlessly score points — particularly with underrated, athletic players — is entertainment gold for the league. Defensively, the Rams are as fast and strong in the secondary as any great defense of recent memory ( Seattle, Denver ). This young and well-rounded franchise will take their new school approach head to head with the kings of old school in less than a week. 

Keys to the Game 

L.A. Rams: 

  1. Run the ball early – It would be insane for any offensive coordinator to expect the young Jared Goff to out throw the greatest quarterback of all time in Brady. The run game, led by Todd Gurley, outshines the front seven of New England in every way. The run defense of the Patriots finished in the middle of the pack in opponents yardage gained, but surrendered 4.9 yards per carry – among the league’s worst percentages. Gurley and change-of-pace back CJ Anderson will be pivotal X factors on Sunday. 
  2. Get pressure in the middle – The duo of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh have wreaked havoc for opposing offenses all season. Every NFL defensive coordinator knows exactly how to stop the Patriots offense: stop Tom Brady. History has proven that to be easier said than done, but the Rams might have the recipe. Brady has struggled under pressure due to his lack of mobility outside of the pocket. If Donald and Suh are able to collapse the center of the pocket — forcing Brady to roll out — the over the middle offensive game plan of New England will be torn apart. 
  3. Hold onto the ball – New England proved against Kansas City that they can defeat a high powered offense even when losing the turnover battle. The same may not be true for L.A., but to better their chances Goff and Gurley should keep a tight grip on the pigskin. Maintaining possession and keeping Brady on the sideline for as long as possible is one of the easiest ways to steal a Super Bowl from New England. 

New England Patriots: 

  1. Win the battle over field position – Other teams often wonder how the Patriots are able to maintain their high level of play for so long. The answer is that they pay attention to the little things. Punting the ball away for most teams is a failed drive on offense. But for New England, forcing the opposing offense to drive 85 yards instead of 65 could make all the difference in the game. You can bet the punt / return team will have as equal importance as offense or defense in practice this week for New England. 
  2. Don’t let Gronk disappear – Having Rob Gronkowski on your offense can be the difference in winning or losing the Super Bowl. If Brady can get the ball in Gronk’s hands multiple times on the first drive, the Rams will be forced to either double cover him or waste their biggest corner (Marcus Peters) on Gronk the whole game. That would then open up one-on-one coverage for Edelman or force linebackers to catch up to James White in the flats. But when Gronk struggles early he has the tendency to disappear until the fourth quarter, when it may be too late. 
  3. Keep Brady off the ground – The Patriots have never been successful when Brady spends most of the game getting knocked to the turf. New England will undoubtedly face their toughest opposing defensive line this week, and it will be up to one man to find a way to stop it. Donte Scarnecchia has been the Patriots offensive line coach for the last 33 years, which means he knows a little something about blocking great defensive lineman. Keeping Donald and Suh at bay is perhaps the most important gameplay the Patriots will need to come up with, mostly because no other team this season has figured out how either. 

Too Early Prediction:

With time still on the clock and injury reports yet to be finalized, predicting the winner of Super Bowl 53 is still moderately premature – but I’ll do it anyway! 

New England Patriots 28 L.A. Rams 23

The Rams are paving the way for a new school style of offense in the NFL. Not even the 2007 Patriots who went 18-1 were able to dominate each team they played in the regular season like the Rams. However, the median level of NFL teams has decreased since then. The NFL has polarized in a similar way to the NBA, in a structure that classifies around eight teams as the elite and the rest are mediocre.

L.A. has yet to convince me that they are leaps and bounds better over any NFL team in the league (they should’ve lost to New Orleans last week!). For that reason, my early edge goes to the old school style of play and the New England Patriots. 

Ever wished you could start a career covering your favorite sport? Have you spent time wishing you could combine your love of sports with your passion for writing and reporting? CMN’s Sports Journalism course is an experiential learning program designed to give the practical experience you need to get your foot in the door in this ultra-competitive industry. You’ll get useful, direct feedback on your reporting, exposure to experienced sports journalists and influencers, and a great place to build your portfolio. You can get college credit, too. Get all the details on the CMN's Sports Journalism Course here.

Tom is a student at Fisher College in Boston. Tom spends his time conquering video games and exploring his city of Boston. His favorite part of writing is the stories and hopes to tell them for years to come.

CMN Music

Music3 days ago

Album Review: Tamino – ‘Amir (Deluxe)’

An expanded edition that offers poetic drama from beginning to end.

Music3 weeks ago

What Makes A Scary Song? Three Things Every Spooky Tune Needs

Genuinely scary sounds, an unsettling story, or just party jams with eerie sound effects?

Music3 weeks ago

React: Paste Magazine’s Best Albums of the 2010’s List

It's difficult for any one person to approach a list with complete objectivity,

CMN Vibes3 weeks ago

CMN Vibes: Spooky Season

The only playlist you'll need as Halloween gets closer.

Music1 month ago

4 Places to Read Great Music Journalism

Where to find great, free music writing and journalism on the web.

Essentials2 months ago

Four Useful Spotify Features for Music Writers: Part One

Tips, tricks and cool shortcuts to deepen your knowledge.

Music2 months ago

‘We’ll Carry On’: Examining the Legacy of Rock in the 2000s

The seeds planted by these bands are the reason rock will thrive for generations.

Music2 months ago

Man Arrested in Connection of Death of Rapper Mac Miller

28 year old Cameron James Pettit was arrested today on allegations of supplying deceased rapper Mac Miller with lethal drugs....

Music2 months ago

5 Things You’ll Quickly Learn After Moving From the USA to New Zealand

So you graduate college without any real career plan and decide to spend a year bartending so you can travel...

Music3 months ago

Review: Captain Beefheart, “Hair Pie: Bake 2”

An odd intrigue.

Essentials3 months ago

4 Podcasts Every Music Writer Should be Familiar With

Music journalists these days need to listen to a whole lot more than just music.

Music3 months ago

Cocaine and Rhinestones – Breaking Down Merle Haggard’s ‘Okie from Muskogee’

Tyler Mahan Coe brings the facts and the feel of history.

Music3 months ago

Track Review: Pool Kids – ‘$5 Subtweet’

Diving into a new age of confrontation.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Hip-Hop’s Most Influential Artists of the Last Half -Decade

Drake, Migos, Travis Scott and more make the list.

by , SUNY Brockport
Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: The Needledrop: How To Get Into Death Grips

Dominick Rabrun joins Anthony Fantano for some intense chat.

Music3 months ago

Liily: Aiming to Turn the Music Industry Upside Down

California band is on the way up and has new music due out this fall.

Music3 months ago

Interview with Singer Natalie Clark

A CMN Q&A that touches on playing guitar, growing up in Glasgow, and being starstruck on 'The Voice.'

Essentials3 months ago

5 Essential Websites for Music Journalists

Great sources to confirm facts or come up with story ideas.

Music3 months ago

Brockhampton Announces New Album and Releases New Song

Brockhampton announced that their new album Ginger will be available on all platforms August 23. The budding rap group simultaneously...

Music3 months ago

Hot 100 Hometown Heat Map: Which State Makes the Most Hits?

Find where your favorite music comes from.

Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: ‘This Sounds Better’

A great podcast that covers key points important to engineers and producers.

by , Albright College
Music3 months ago

Podcast Review: Machine Gun Kelly on the CMN Podcast

Professional and informative.

by , SUNY Brockport

Great Reads

1 Step 1

Copyright © 2019 College Media Network