The culmination of the NFL season is here as the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams collide in Super Bowl LIII with the league’s championship on the line (6:30 PM ET Sunday, televised live on CBS).
For the Patriots, this is not the first time they have been on this stage and knowing their track record, it’s unlikely to be the last. In the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, the Patriots have won five Super Bowl championships and have played in four more for nine total.
There is no team that has been as efficient and as effective in the final game of the year than New England and the odds with the USA sportsbooks are in their favor for this year’s Super Bowl. After losing last year to the Philadelphia Eagles in Minnesota, the Patriots find themselves as two or three-point favorites over the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams for this Super Bowl 2019. There is good reason for that: New England is a dynasty and dynasties don’t tend to lose the big game two years in a row.
The Rams won’t be an easy out either. Jared Goff and Sean McVay, a QB and head coach combo with just a quarter of the experience of Brady and Belichick, know they aren’t expected to win this one. That hasn’t stopped the underdogs before however as the Rams run in the playoffs has been a series of games they weren’t expected to win after the team was perceived to have peaked during the end of the year. LA hasn’t let that stop them however and they haven’t let the fact that the Patriots are favored waver their confidence. When it comes to Sunday’s game, it is anyone’s to win.
Peaking at the Right Time
During the regular season, the Patriots recorded some losses which seemed completely uncharacteristic of the franchise, including a mark of just 3-5 on the road. New England certainly had its issues away from Gillette Stadium and some of that was compounded with the fact that the 41-year-old Brady began to show his age.
A season ago, Brady really seemed to fight Father Time but in some ways, age began to catch up to him in 2018. Brady’s 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions was his worst ratio since 2011. It wasn’t just Brady. Former all-pro tight end Rob Gronkowski struggled as well. Gronk recorded just three touchdowns and 682 yards on the season as he spent more time as a pass blocker than he did a receiver. Let it be known though, that Gronk’s role on the team this year, while different than in past years, was no doubt just as important to New England’s success.
For the issues the Patriots had this year, none of them seemed to matter come playoff time when New England functioned as the well-oiled playoff machine they have for the past several years. Now in their third Super Bowl in a row, the Patriots are firing on all cylinders. Despite the 11-5 record, the team still managed to win the AFC East and pick up the bye that went with it.
In week two of the postseason, New England easily ended the fairytale season of the Los Angeles Chargers as Brady led the offense to a 41-28 victory over his opponents. Running back Sony Michel recorded three touchdowns and 129 yards and Julian Edelman, back from injury just a few weeks prior, had nine receptions for 151 yards. Brady himself threw for 343 yards and a touchdown.
In the team’s second game, the AFC Championship against the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady led the Patriots to a 37-31 victory in overtime. Again Brady topped 340 yards and Michel was a difference maker, with 113 yards and two touchdowns. Edelman caught seven passes for 95 yards.
Then there’s the presence of Gronkowski. After a season of minimal production in the receiving game, Gronkowski has been a real presence and real threat in the postseason. Especially in the AFC Championship where in the guts and glory of the game, he was still Brady’s go-to target and he certainly proved his worth.
The Patriots are clicking and they are doing so away from home, something they didn’t really do during the regular season. For the Super Bowl 53 on Sunday, they head to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, hoping to keep the magic going. Looking at New England’s pedigree, coupled with the way they are playing on offense, it is hard to bet against them though I am holding off from making my Super Bowl predictions until the end of this New England Patriots vs LA Rams preview.
Is CJ Anderson An X-Factor?
When it comes to the Super Bowl, there is always an element of an X-Factor. If the Rams win, it will likely be because of their X-Factor, CJ Anderson.
Filling in for an injured and somewhat hampered Todd Gurley, CJ Anderson has been enjoying a career renaissance. In the past two playoff games, Anderson has recorded 167 yards on 39 carries as well as two touchdowns. He was a big factor in the Rams victory over the New Orleans in the NFC Championship and he will be a huge factor in what the Rams are able to do this weekend in the Super Bowl.
Fortunately for the Rams, New England’s rush defense was only just above the league average, ranking 11th in the NFL allowing 1,803 yards total and 112.7 yards per game to opposing runners. Anderson should have a good match-up on Sunday and if he can continue to play the way he has been in Gurley’s mostly limited time, the Rams should be able to stay in a good position throughout the game.
Will Anderson’s production be enough? Probably not. Fortunately for the Rams, their running back isn’t the only one who has turned it up a notch in the playoffs. Third year QB Jared Goff is playing some of his best football as well and it couldn’t have come at a better time. If the Rams hope to win on Sunday, they will need both Goff and Anderson to be at their best.
Our Super Bowl LIII Preview’s New England Patriots vs LA Rams Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
For those wanting a wager on this game, it is time for our Super Bowl predictions. On one hand is a team that has been here so many times that it is old hat. On the other is an NFL squad that is looking to win their first title in several decades.
The pedigree of the two teams is vastly different. One has years of playoff experience up and down the roster, the other is brand new. Ultimately, experience only goes so far. At the end of the day, it’s going to be the team who plays the best and handles the pressure the best that walks away carrying the Lombardi Trophy. The Super Bowl pits the best against the best and on Sunday, when the dust settles, look for New England to be the ones celebrating with yet another ring. So our LA Rams vs New England Patriots predictions for this preview, with betting picks are:
- Have a Super Bowl bet that New England will top the two to three point spread en route to winning their second title in three years. Our choice would be to go Patriots -2pts @ -114 with Bookmaker. However you could go -3pts @ -110 with Bovada or -2.5pts @ -113 with BetOnline and that same spread is -115 with Intertops.
- As for the total points likely to be notched on the scoreboard, it is set at a Super Bowl high of 56.5pts. It is tough to figure this one out but the second of our picks is to go with the over as New England and LA can both score and so far in the playoffs, both have. Take over 56.5pts @ -105 with Bookmaker, who are again best odds for our chosen selection. At the time of writing this Super Bowl 53 preview, BetOnline go -109, Intertops are -110 and Bovada are -115.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.