The Los Angeles Rams were listed as sports betting favorites to win the Super Bowl for all of 10 minutes before The Westgate made the adjustment. After tons of money poured in on the New England Patriots at +1, the line was moved from Rams -1 to Patriots -2.
The theme is pretty much the same as it always is with when it comes to the New England Patriots: their opponent seems to have more stars (like Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald and Aqib Talib), but they have Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and are excellent at executing game plans. Do they have it in them to win again?
New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams
Date: Sunday February 3rd, 2019 – 6:30 PM ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Point Spread: New England -2
The Rams are 15-3 overall dating back to the regular season. There is no doubt that Los Angeles ranks among the best teams in the NFL this season. They loaded up for a Super Bowl run by acquiring players like Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Talib in the offseason, so this is where they planned to be. However, they are somewhat fortunate to be here as they squeezed past the New Orleans Saints in overtime following one of the worst blown calls in NFL playoff history.
While they are clearly talented, LA is also very inexperienced overall in comparison with the Patriots, especially at the most important position on the field. Quarterback Jared Goff will make his Super Bowl debut at 24 years old. Goff has been in the league just three seasons; Brady has played in two Super Bowls in that time.
If the Rams are to win, defense has to be the key. Suh and Donald will have to get to Brady and Talib and Peters will have to shut down the Patriots average receiving corps. They have to worry about Julian Edelman and a past-his-prime Rob Gronkowski; this is easier than what they had to deal with in New Orleans. However, experience is a huge factor. The Rams are quite young. It’s hard to see Brady losing in the Super Bowl two seasons in a row.
Super Bowl 53 Total
New England and Los Angeles have both been involved in some high-scoring games this season. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they delivered another high scoring game in the Super Bowl. The Patriots and Chiefs combined for 68 points in the AFC Championship game. Meanwhile, the Rams and Saints combined for 49 points in their NFC Championship showdown.
However, New England’s path to victory might be easier than most expect. They’ve been committed to the ground game in the playoffs and it has paid dividends. Meanwhile, the Rams' run defense, which has been strong in the playoffs, and allowed a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry in the regular season.
If Belichick decides to ride Sony Michel for a third straight week, play ball control and keep the Rams' explosive offense on the sidelines, we’re probably looking at a lower-scoring game. If the Rams can shut down the run and force the Patriots to pass, we’re likely going to see a high-scoring, entertaining affair.