Newcomers Goff and McVay will best veterans Brady and Belichick

January 30, 2019 — by Michael Zhang

Following a second-half comeback, partly thanks to a controversial pass interference no-call and a 57-yard field goal from kicker Greg Zuerlein in overtime, the Los Angeles Rams punched their ticket to Super Bowl LIII. They will face the New England Patriots in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI, where Tom Brady won his first championship.

However, it will be a different story this year, as the star-studded, well-rounded Rams team will hoist the Lombardi trophy Sunday night.

Although star receiver Cooper Kupp has been out since Week 10 after an ACL tear, the Rams have numerous other threats on offense.

Los Angeles’ running game is especially potent. Pro-Bowl running back Todd Gurley, who rushed for 115 yards against Dallas in the divisional round, will enter the Super Bowl well-rested after only carrying the ball four times against New Orleans. C. J. Anderson, a recent acquisition for the Rams after being released by the Raiders, has proven valuable, especially when Gurley was injured at the end of the regular season. In two regular-season and two postseason games, Anderson has accumulated 466 rushing yards on 82 carries, good for 5.7 yards per carry.

With the Patriots’ defense ranking 22nd in pass yards per game this season, head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff will find a way to get the passing game going. Wide receivers Brandin Cooks, who played for the Patriots last year in Super Bowl LII, and Robert Woods will play instrumental roles in a Rams victory as they find holes in the New England secondary through McVay’s clever play designs.

On the other side of the ball, the Rams’ front four will get to Brady the way the Giants were able to in the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowls. While the Patriots’ offensive line has done a good job protecting Brady this postseason against impressive Chargers and Chiefs pass rushers, the Rams’ defensive line is an entirely different beast. Featuring sack leader Aaron Donald, veteran Ndamukong Suh and first-round selection Dante Fowler, the Rams will be able to pressure Brady, who is certainly not known for his speed and becomes human when defenses are pressuring him.

Even the Rams’ secondary is improving. After cornerback Aqib Talib’s return from injury in Week 14, the defense has been giving up fewer passing yards per game, even when counting playoff games.

Overall, the amount of talent on the Rams roster will prove too much for the Patriots to handle, meaning Brady and Belichick will be denied their sixth ring together for the second straight year in a 28-24 Rams win.

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