Just like this year’s World Series, the cities of Boston and Los Angeles battle for a championship but this time on the gridiron where the Los Angeles Rams will collide with the New England Patriots for the chance to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Super Bowl 53 features the veteran squad of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the rest of the Pats gang battling the youthful presence of Jared Goff, Sean McVay and the feisty Rams. New England is a 2.5-point favorite but I’m going to break down the reasons why Los Angeles will be crowned champions.
For a full preview of this game, check out Joe Osborne’s article.
If you are a Pats fan and want to see Why the Pats will Win Super Bowl 53, check out Gilles Gallant’s article.
Sean McVay’s communication
It’s no secret that head coach Sean McVay utilizes every second of the play clock down to 15 to dissect opposing defenses and communicate those things to quarterback Jared Goff. Two of Los Angeles’ three defeats this season came on the road, specifically in loud stadiums at New Orleans and Chicago.
In both of those games, Goff expressed his difficulty hearing his head coach and he simply isn’t as effective in those situations. This was also apparent in the NFC championship game, once again at New Orleans, but I think in a neutral-site game in Atlanta, the crowd won’t be as raucous in the sense of trying to disrupt the communication for either team before the final 15 seconds. This will allow McVay to be able to find gaps in the opposition and call audibles for maximum success.
One focus the New England Patriots had this season was the protection of Tom Brady as they allowed the fourth-fewest QB hits this season at 68 and the third-fewest sacks at 21. This has continued into the postseason as Brady has yet to be sacked and has only been hit three times, tying New England with Seattle – a first-round casualty – for fewest QB hits allowed.
Donald had the most sacks ever by a defensive tackle
However, Los Angeles possesses two players in Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh who like to get after the QB. Donald led the league with 41 QB hits, seven more than second-place Fletcher Cox, and Suh had 19, which tied for 29th-most in the league. Donald also had 20.5 sacks this season, which was 4.5 more than second-place J.J. Watt and the most ever by a defensive tackle. New Orleans led the league in fewest QB hits allowed at 63, including its two postseason games, and 11 of those hits came in two games against Los Angeles.
Defense as a whole
Los Angeles ranked 20th in the league in points allowed per game at 24, but caused a lot of issues for its opposition. The Rams created the third-most turnovers at 30, led by safety John Johnson and linebacker Cory Littleton, who combined for seven interceptions and both ranked in the top 20. Donald and Samson Ebukam combined for seven forced fumbles, both ranking in the top 15.
The Pats have been impressive in third-down conversions in the postseason, clicking at 61 percent, but the Rams have limited their opponents to 29 percent on their conversions, which is the second-lowest rate. LA has also surrendered the second-fewest yards per game in the playoffs and the third-fewest first downs per game.
In addition to the points above, the Patriots have averaged the most rushing attempts per game in the playoffs at 41, picking up the second-most yards at 165.5 per game with eight touchdowns. Unfortunately for them, the Rams have allowed the third-fewest rushing yards per game in the playoffs at 49, including the second-fewest yards per carry at 2.3, and have given up just two TDs, despite going against run-heavy Dallas and New Orleans.
Lastly, New England’s defense has yet to make a defensive stop in the red zone this postseason, with its opponents scoring TDs in each of their six attempts, and Los Angeles has made the second-most red-zone appearances in the playoffs. Consistent QB pressure and overall aggressive defense will lead to a Rams’ Super Bowl victory.
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