Can you believe that it’s that time of the ‘new’ year already? Super Bowl LIII is sneaking up on us quicker than a leopard on baby gazelle at a watering hole.
The New England Patriots wouldn’t be denied another Super Bowl appearance to establish themselves as perhaps —like it or not—the greatest football dynasty of all time. Experience goes a long way with the experts in Vegas.
Might as well start calling Tom Brady, ‘Sauron,’ because he is the Lord of the Rings. Brady already has a Super Bowl ring for each finger on his right hand and now he is working towards starting on the left hand as well.
Five wins and eight appearances total. That is more Super Bowl experience than any QB ever, and it counts for a lot. So, it makes sense that the New England Patriots opened at -1.5 and were almost instantly bet up to -2.5.
I know this statement has been used as a headline multiple times and is beaten like a dead horse, but this is like going back to where it all began for the Brady/Belichick era: Super Bowl XVI, the Rams vs. Pats where the Pats got their first rings. Will the Rams get revenge and punctuate a fitting end to the Patriots NFL dominance, or will the Pats keep rolling onwards, deeper and deeper into the record books?
When we look at the two offenses over the length of the season, the Rams hold nearly a 4-point advantage. The Patriots average 28.56 per game, while the Rams second-ranked offense scores 32.39 per game. However, recent form is another thing entirely and the Patriots have been hot! Over the last three games, the Patriots are averaging 38.7 … so rounding up they have dropped 39 per game. The Rams are not half bad either, they have averaged 34.6. But, now we are looking at an 8-point swing. Instead of the Rams having a 4 point offensive advantage, you could say the Pats have a 4-point advantage.
Despite all of that muscle up front, the Rams are just 19 in scoring defense. They allow 23.83 per game. The Patriots rank 10th at 21.33. And more importantly, the New England defense spends less time on the field than any other in the League. This is because of two things: a defense that gets a lot of three-and-outs and the fact that Brady slowly and methodically drives down the field, creating the No. 2 offense in time of possession. Over the last three games, the Rams have allowed 25.66. This goes against the Patriots’ 20.66. So, the Patriots defense has gotten better while the Rams has gotten worse. But, one of those games was against the Jets, so we can call this L3 stat a wash.
As we have seen countless times in the playoffs and most recently in the AFC Championship against the Chiefs, Tom Brady is a machine. He is cold and calculating and never cracks under pressure. If there is any time left on the clock, you are not safe. He can march back down the field and score. Jarod Goff is a fine young QB with a lot of talent and great poise, but no one is as clutch as Tom Terror.
We briefly mentioned the offensive time of possession. The Patriots are No. 2 at the league in time on field. They methodically wear defenses down by keeping them on the field for most of the game. You see Burkhead and Co. really starting to pound the rock with ease late in the game because of how gassed the defensive front gets. If a team doesn’t have plenty of depth and talent up front, they are in trouble.
The Rams have perhaps the most talented starting front-three in the league, but Suh and Donald are going to play endless minutes. Their only other option on the depth chart is Tanzle Smart and Ethan Westbrooks … there is just no comparison. They will only be rotated in to give short breathers. This is why I love the Patriots to take over in the second half. The New England running game will break open which will also allow Edelman, Gronk, and Hogan more room in the passing lanes.
Prediction: Take the Patriots to cover the short point spread while it is still under a field goal. The Rams have a lot of talent, and there is always the risk that they could win outright, but you definitely don’t want to be touching the spread after the line gets pushed to -3 or -3.5.
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