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Patriots vs. Rams Super Bowl

JACOB POTTER, Sports Writer

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Super Bowl LIII has all the makings to be one for the ages, with the battle of the seasoned veteran, Tom Brady, against the young gunslinger, Jared Goff, as well as the offensive mastermind, Sean McVay, versus the football savant, Bill Belichick.

The Rams covet their second title, while the Patriots chase history for a record-tying six Super Bowl victories.

Rams’ keys to their first ring since Kurt Warner:

The last time the Rams won the Super Bowl, UNI alum Kurt Warner was at the helm leading the franchise to their first Super Bowl victory.

Pass rush

The key for the Rams on the defensive side of the ball will be for someone other than Aaron Donald to step up and make a play.

Brady’s three Super Bowl losses have come at the hands of an effective pass rush. The Giants got after Brady throughout Super Bowl 42, sacking him five times along with recovering a fumble, according to ESPN.

The Giants beat the Patriots again in Super Bowl XLVI with two sacks and an interception, also according to ESPN.

In the loss against the Eagles, Brandon Graham got to Tom Brady at the most crucial point in the game with 2:14 left in the fourth quarter.

Pound the rock

The Rams running game will be essential to a victory if the Patriots plan to take away the Rams two best receivers.

The numbers point to the Rams being able to run the ball.  The Patriots defense gave up 112.7 rushing yards per game while Gurley tallied 1,251 rushing yards on the season with an average of 89.4 yards per game, according to ESPN.

The Rams added veteran running back C.J. Anderson, who has racked up 466 rushing yards in just four games at a click of 116.5 yards per game, according to ESPN.

Patriots’ keys to their sixth ring:

Brady and Belichick are back where it all started, playing the Rams in the Super Bowl again. Much like the first matchup between these two talented squads, the challenge of slowing down a high-powered offense presents itself once again as it did against “The Greatest Show on Turf” in Super Bowl XXXVI back in 2002.   

17 years later, Brady and Belichick are back in the Super Bowl for the ninth time.

Contain Rams Defensive Line

The key will be to double-team Aaron Donald while holding the individual blocks against the rest of the Rams defensive line.

“Double-team him [Donald], make Ndamukong Suh, make Dante Fowler Jr., make Michael Brockers, make some of the other weapons beat the Patriots,” Booger McFarland, former NFL defensive tackle, said while calling the Pro Bowl.

Make the Rams One-Dimensional

Expect the Patriots to slow down the Rams (28 points per game) just as they did against the Chiefs.  The Patriots defense, backed by the strategy of Bill Belichick, held the Chiefs, the NFL’s leading offense (31 ppg), scoreless in the first half and to only one touchdown through three quarters.

The challenge for the Patriots will be to stop the run first while being weary of the play-action pass.

Belichick will look to take away the two best options in the passing game just as he did against the Chiefs.

“Bill Belichick, what he does [is] he put [Stephon] Gilmore on Sammy Watkins and then he double-teamed Tyreek Hill.  I could see them putting Gilmore on Robert Woods for the Rams and then double-teaming Brandin Cooks,” Jason Witten, former Cowboys tight end, said while calling the Pro Bowl.

Prediction

At the end of the day, it is not wise to bet against five-time Super Bowl champions Brady and Belichick.

I believe that the Patriots will come out on top because Brady will execute more than Goff on third downs and in the red zone.  Secondly, Belichick will devise another gameplan offensively and defensively to slow down the Rams.

Pick: Patriots

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Patriots vs. Rams Super Bowl