After two epic AFC, and NFC Championship Games in the National Football League(NFL), we now have a Super Bowl match underway. For the third consecutive season, the Patriots are in the Super Bowl. For the second consecutive season, it's a Super Bowl rematch, since the Rams, and Patriots met in the 2001-2002 Super Bowl. Back then, it was the underdog Patriots with their lackluster Quarterback Tom Brady vs the hot-shot Rams, and their legendary Quarterback Kurt Warner. These days, the script is entirely flipped, and they're no longer the St. Louis Rams, they're back in Los Angeles. We have one of the most experienced Head Coaches(Bill Belichick), versus the youngest Head Coach of all time in a Super Bowl, at 33 years old(Sean McVay). We have the 41 year old Quarterback Tom Brady versus the 24 year old Quarterback Jared Goff(the largest age gap between Quarterbacks in Super Bowl history). It's the old, and experience vs. the young, and inexperienced. Below, are some quick facts about this Super Bowl.
New England Patriots
Last Super Bowl Appearance: Super Bowl LII(2017-2018) vs the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last Super Bowl Win: Super Bowl LI(2016-2017) vs the Atlanta Falcons.
Last Super Bowl Win vs Rams: Super Bowl XXXVI(2001-2002), won 20-17.
Number of Super Bowl appearances: Eleven(more than any other franchise in NFL history).
Number of Championship appearances: Twelve
Number of Super Bowl Wins: 5
Number of Championship Wins Total: 5
Los Angeles Rams
Last Super Bowl Appearance: Super Bowl XXXVI(2001-2002) vs the Patriots
Last Super Bowl Win: Super Bowl XXXIV(1999-2000) vs the Titans
Last Super Bowl Win vs Patriots: Never
Number of Super Bowl appearances: Four
Number of Championship appearances: Eleven
Number of Super Bowl Wins: One
Number of Championship Wins Total: Three
Quarterback Matchup: Tom Brady vs Jared Goff
The funny thing is, it's actually arguable that Jared Goff has had a better season than Tom Brady.
Goff has compiled 4,688 Passing Yards, 32 Touchdown Passes, a 101.1 Quarterback Rating, completed 64 percent of his passes, and has thrown 12 Interceptions. Brady has similar stats-4,355 Yards, 29 Touchdown Passes, 11 Interceptions, a 97.7 Quarterback Rating, and has completed 66 percent of his passes. They are almost identical, but there are two caveats: 1. Goff has had much better offensive talent than Brady, and 2. Brady usually turns it up in the Super Bowl, and clearly has more postseason experience. We've never seen Goff in a Super Bowl. He could be a major failure for all we know.
Offensive Line Matchup:
This is a very very close match, but the Rams have Andrew Whitworth, Rodger Saffold, and John Sullivan who compose of the Rams' Offensive Line, which may be the best O-Line on turf.
That's not the say the Patriots don't have a dominant Offensive Line. Tom Brady said himself that the Patriots' Offensive Line is the "heart, and soul of our offense." However, the Rams O-Line seems to be on another level, and is opening up major holes for their running game.
Running Matchup: Todd Gurley II vs Sony Michel(and others)
There isn't too much debate here, really. Gurley is arguably the best Running Back in the NFL.
Sony Michel has been a pleasant surprise in the postseason for the Patriots, and I won't deny he won't be a factor. However, he still didn't break 1,000 Rushing Yards this season, and he isn't near the dominant force that Gurley is. Gurley might give the Rams their first Super Bowl title in 19 years.
Receiving Corps Matchup: Brandin Cooks/Robert Woods vs Julian Edelman/Chris Hogan/Rob Gronkowski(and others)
This is another close matchup, but the Rams seem to have a more consistent receiving corps. Aside from this, Brandon Cooks used to be on the Patriots, and can offer some inside experience.
In the postseason, we've seen both Julian Edelman, and Rob Gronkowski step it up for the Patriots. However, Chris Hogan has been another body, and they still don't have a potent receiving corps. The Patriots still have some holes to fill here, especially after the departure of Josh Gordon.
I'll sing the same tune: This is another close match, but the difference here is, neither team is really known for their special teams. The Rams get the edge because they're better at returning Kickoffs, and Punts, but the Patriots have Stephen Gostkowski, who has transitioned into a legendary Kicker.
Absolutely no question here, and it's not even a contest. The Rams have Aaron Donald(who was a potential MVP pick), and Ndamakong Suh on their line. The Patriots have...basically nobody on their line, and they haven't been too impressive. This is the most lopsided positional matchup in the Super Bowl.
The biggest weakness the Rams have is their secondary, and that is what dragged them down. While the Patriots haven't necessarily been studs in the secondary, they have been better about getting to the receivers, and block some key plays. This can give Goff some trouble. On the other hand, it's not hard to imagine a scenario where Brady tears right through this secondary.
Overall: Rams are the better team. They also have the better record. But...
My prediction is the Patriots will win by a final score of 30-27. The Rams are still the better team, and will be the better team(even if they lose), but the fact is, the Patriots know how to step it up in the clutch. The clutch is their biggest strength. We've still never seen this Rams team in a Super Bowl. Hell, Sean McVay was 14 years old the last time the Rams won the Super Bowl. It basically boils down to the Patriots being more experienced.