Here’s how I see Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta playing out along with some preview notes directly from the league. I will be covering the game for 99.1 The Sports Animal. Check back here on our website and station social media accounts for coverage.
Conference Championships Prediction Record: 0-2
2018 Season Prediction Record: 167-99 (63%)
Vince’s View: The Rams will need their stars to play like stars to win this game…Aaron Donald, Todd Gurley, Jared Goff especially. The line of scrimmage of course will be massive, but I think the Rams have to have the MVP candidate Todd Gurley back to win the Super Bowl.
Weird stat alert. This season, the Patriots are 0-1 indoors (Lions) but 10-1 on turf. Do what you want with that.
Pressure up the middle to prevent Tom Brady from stepping up in the pocket will be critical for the Rams. Donald and Suh are built for that and to stop the run. The challenge, however, is that the Patriots offensive line has been so dominant, keeping teams from barely touching Brady and opening holes for the trio of running backs led by talented rookie Sony Michel.
This is a game where the Rams will miss wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Bill Belichick is notorious for having his teams take away the top threat of the opponent’s offense. I think that will be Brandin Cooks, as they did Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs last week. That means Robert Woods and Josh Reynolds along with the tight ends will need to come up big. With Kupp in the lineup the last two years, the Rams are on another level dynamic. He would have provided a mismatch the Patriots would have had to deal with. Sean McVay is a fantastic coach and offensive mind, so we’ll see if he has something else up his sleeve to unveil.
I think both teams are going to have their moments of success on both sides of the ball. You’ll see some yards, you’ll see some rushing TDs, some passing TDs, some critical stops on third down and a whole lot of anxiety because of a tight game throughout. I think the Rams have the better top-to-bottom roster, but the Patriots have so many wrinkles and ways to win in addition to the experience that I think they’ll come out on top in the end. I can see the typical scenario of the Patriots being down, they have the ball last and Tom Brady leads New England to the go-ahead score to win. That would be Brady’s 6th Super Bowl win in 9 tries and likely another Super Bowl MVP.
Score Prediction: New England Patriots 31 Los Angeles Rams 28
SUPER BOWL LIII: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. LOS ANGELES RAMS
On Sunday, February 3, the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams will meet in Super Bowl LIII (6:30 PM ET, CBS) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Super Bowl LIII will feature the No. 2 seed in each conference – the AFC Champion Patriots against the NFC champion Rams – and is the first Super Bowl matchup of No. 2 seeds since the NFL began seeding teams in 1975. It also marks a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI, when New England defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17 on February 3, 2002.
For the Super Bowl LIII capsule, click here.
Here’s what’s at stake in Super Bowl LIII:
With a New England victory…
The Patriots will have captured their sixth Super Bowl championship, tied with the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (six) for most in NFL history.
New England will have won its 37th postseason game, surpassing PITTSBURGH (36) for the most all-time.
Head coach Bill Belichick joins GEORGE HALAS and CURLY LAMBEAU as the only coaches ever to win six NFL championships.
Quarterback Tom Brady has now won six Super Bowls, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley (five) for the most of any player.
With a Los Angeles win…
The Rams will celebrate the second Super Bowl victory in the history of their franchise (SB XXXIV) and their first in Los Angeles.
At age 33, head coach Sean McVay becomes the youngest coach ever to win the Super Bowl. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin held the previous mark at age 36.
Quarterback Jared Goff becomes the first quarterback selected No. 1 overall to lead his team to a Super Bowl victory within his first three seasons.
The Patriots earned a trip to the Super Bowl with a 37-31 overtime win against Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game. New England, who won Super Bowl LI to conclude the 2017 season and advanced to Super Bowl LII last season, joins the BUFFALO BILLS (1990-93) and MIAMI DOLPHINS (1971-73) as the only teams in the Super Bowl era to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls. New England advanced to their 11th Super Bowl in franchise history and are looking for their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie them with the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (six) for the most in NFL history.
The Rams advanced to Super Bowl LIII with a 26-23 overtime victory against New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game. Los Angeles kicker GREG ZUERLEIN converted the game-winning 57-yard field goal in overtime, the longest game-winning field goal in postseason history.
Los Angeles advanced to their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history (1979, 1999 and 2001) and are looking for their second Super Bowl title.
Patriots head coach BILL BELICHICK and quarterback TOM BRADY will be making their ninth Super Bowl appearance together, the most NFL title games for any head coach and starting quarterback duo in league history. Belichick and Brady have won five Super Bowls together, the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.
Brady, who is making his NFL-record ninth career Super Bowl start, is the only starting quarterback in league history to win five Super Bowls and the only player ever to be named Super Bowl MVP four times (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX and LI). Brady set a Super Bowl record with 505 passing yards last year and is the all-time leader in Super Bowl passing yards (2,576), completions (235), passing attempts (357) and touchdown passes (18). He is also the NFL postseason leader in wins by a starting quarterback (29), completions (984), passing attempts (1,554), passing yards (10,917) and touchdown passes (73).
New England rookie running back SONY MICHEL has five rushing touchdowns this postseason, the most rushing touchdowns by a rookie in postseason history. Michel has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his first two career postseason appearances and can join ARIAN FOSTER as the only players in postseason history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of their first three playoff games.
Patriots running back JAMES WHITE, who had a rushing touchdown in Super Bowl LII, has scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving) in two career Super Bowl appearances. Over the past three postseasons (2016-2018), White leads the NFL with eight total touchdowns.
New England tight end ROB GRONKOWSKI has 12 touchdown receptions in his postseason career and trails only Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (22) for the most in NFL playoff history. Gronkowski’s 1,076 receiving yards and 12 touchdown receptions are the most ever by a tight end in NFL postseason history.
In the AFC Championship Game, Patriots wide receiver JULIAN EDELMAN had seven catches for 96 yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (151 receptions) as the only players with at least 100 career postseason receptions (105). Edelman has recorded at least five receptions in 12 consecutive playoff games, the longest such streak in postseason annals.
Los Angeles Rams head coach SEAN MC VAY, who will be 33 years and 10 days old on Super Bowl Sunday, is the youngest head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl. In each of the past two seasons under McVay, the Rams have ranked first or second in points per game.
Rams quarterback JARED GOFF, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, is the first quarterback selected No. 1 overall to reach the Super Bowl within his first three seasons. Four quarterbacks (Pro Football Hall of Famers TROY AIKMAN and JOHN ELWAY, and DREW BLEDSOE and ELI MANNING) each reached the Super Bowl in their fourth season.
Los Angeles running back TODD GURLEY has rushed for a touchdown in each of the team’s two postseason games this season. Gurley led the NFL with 21 touchdowns (17 rushing, four receiving) and ranked fourth with 1,831 scrimmage yards. Rams running back C.J. ANDERSON leads the team in postseason rushing and has 481 rushing yards in the postseason since 2014, the most in the NFL over that span.
In the NFC Championship Game, Rams wide receiver BRANDIN COOKS led the team with seven receptions and 107 receiving yards. Cooks had 80 catches and 1,204 receiving yards in the regular season and became the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,000 receiving yards with three different teams in three consecutive seasons. With New England in 2017, Cooks recorded 65 receptions for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns and added 10 receptions for 155 yards in the playoffs.
Los Angeles defensive tackle AARON DONALD led the NFL with 20.5 in 2018 and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer LAWRENCE TAYLOR (1986) as the only players to record 20+ sacks and make it to the Super Bowl in the same season. Rams defensive tackle NDAMUKONG SUH recorded 1.5 sacks in the NFC Championship Game and has recorded at least one sack in three of his past four playoff games.