Stephen Nover's Super Bowl Dominator - 25-5-3 NFL!
New England vs. LA Rams,
02/03/2019 18:30 EDT,
Score: 13 - 3
Point Spread: -1½/-114 New England
Monster quarterback edge. Far more biggest-stage experience. Intangibles. I want all those things going for me and that's why I am siding with the Patriots.
Look I love Sean McVay. But if there's one coach - and there is only one coach - who can trump McVay it is Bill Belichick especially with two weeks of preparation.
I don't trust Jared Goff. He didn't look good down the stretch once Cooper Kupp suffered a season-ending knee injury halfway through the season. Only once in his last seven games did Goff reached 300 yards passing. Goff had only a 10-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio when not playing at home. The Rams averaged just 22.6 points during their last six games if you discount their 48-point performance versus the 49ers.
The Patriots have excellent cornerbacks. They can control Brandin Cooks, who they know well since Cooks was with New England last season, and Robert Woods. The Patriots had the 11th-best run defense, too.
Tom Brady is the best big-game quarterback in NFL history. The only other names you can throw into that argument are Joe Montana, Bart Starr and Otto Graham. The Rams haven't been to the Super Bowl since 2001. That happened to be the first Super Bowl Belichick and Brady played in together. Since then the Patriots have played in seven other Super Bowls. This is their ninth Super, fourth one in five season and third straight. Cooks and defensive back Aqib Talib are the only Rams who have even played in a Super Bowl.
The Patriots have covered nine of their last 12 playoff games. What is McVay's history? The Rams were one-and-done last season losing by 13 points at home to the Falcons as 6 1/2-point favorites. They barely managed to cover against the Cowboys at home this season in their first playoff game and then hung in to pull the upset against the Saints in the NFC title game benefitting from maybe the worst non-call in playoff history on an obvious pass interference call.
I don't mean to demean, or sound harsh against the Rams. Again, I really like McVay. I do think he is at the genius level. He just doesn't have the quarterback, nor the dominant shutdown type of defense needed to beat the Patriots.
New England may have the most underrated interior offensive line in football. The Patriots haven't allowed a sack in playoff victories against the Chargers and Chiefs. The Rams finished with 11 fewer sacks than the Chiefs and had just three more sacks than the Chargers during the regular season.
Todd Gurley is the Rams' most dangerous weapon. And he's not 100 percent. He barely played against the Saints carrying only four times, which tells me he's far from 100 percent because of a lingering knee injury. If Gurley isn't in top form than Sony Michel is the best running back. Michel is stepping up with 242 rushing and five touchdowns in New England's two postseason victories. He has looked great.
The Patriots are a combined 62-1 in the regular season and playoffs when having a runner rush for 100 yards. Aaron Donald is a monster in the Rams' defensive line. But LA doesn't have the quality linebackers to both stop Michel and cover the Patriots' various short receiving threats - running back James White, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, who looked better than he had in weeks during the win against the Chiefs. Brady is the master at knowing who and when to use his various weapons. I'm not betting against him and Belichick.