Superbowl LIII – Rams v Patriots

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Superbowl LIII – Rams v Patriots

Andrew Fiore, Staff Reporter

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Despite the signs that the dynasty is coming to an end, the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years. After one of the greatest championship weeks in history, the Rams and Patriots punched their tickets for Atlanta. Here are the games and storylines that you need to know leading up to Super Bowl 53:

NFC Championship Game:
The Rams snuck past the powerful New Orleans Saints in the first game of the day despite leading for 0 seconds of the entirety of the game. The Saints had an early 13-0 lead, but Los Angeles answered back. The game was tied on a third and 15 for New Orleans when Nickell Robey-Lewis of the Rams tackled Tommylee Lewis before he could catch the ball. This limited New Orleans to a field goal, which was answered with a buzzer-beating game-tying field goal by Greg Zuerlein. In overtime, Zuerlein booted the game winning 57-yard field goal to win the NFC.

AFC Championship Game:
The Patriots faced off against the dynamic Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs offense, and held them at bay in the first half. The Chiefs stormed back, and after a thrilling back and forth exchange of blows in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady led the Pats downfield for the lead with only 32 seconds left. The Chiefs scored again despite the minimal time to tie it, but Tom Brady led another unforgettable overtime drive with three third down conversions and a Rex Burkhead touchdown to send the Patriots to their third straight Super Bowl.

Boston vs. Los Angeles:
The two cities were first linked in the heyday of the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. Now they become the first two cities to face off in back to back sports championships. The Red Sox beat the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series a few months ago, and the Patriots beat the Rams’ AFC neighbors in the AFC divisional round. The Kyrie Irving and LeBron James-led Celtics and Lakers could set up a rematch of the 60’s, 80’s and 2000’s clashes of their teams. The Super Bowl will determine if Boston can remain dominant, if LA can even things up.

Super Bowl XXXVI Rematch:
The Patriots have come a long way since their first matchup against the Rams. They went from a Cinderella team to a dominant powerhouse, and the Rams did the opposite. The Rams were in Saint Louis then and had Kurt Warner at quarterback. Only Tom Brady and Bill Belichick remain for either team. Current coach Sean McVay was playing high school football at the time, and Patriots running back Sony Michel was only six years old. However, there are still similarities to their first match up. The Patriots had the exact same 11-5 record then as they do now. This year’s game will be held 17 years to the date after the first matchup.
It will be interesting to see if the Patriots can get the same result- a win.

Prediction:
The Rams have had one of the NFL’s best teams all year long while the Patriots have experienced their most difficult season in the Brady era. Los Angeles is headed by stars like Jared Goff and Todd Gurley II and is one of the most exciting teams in the league. MVP candidate Aaron Donald is capable of doing what not many players could do this postseason: sack Tom Brady. Sean McVay has led this dynamic young team to a dominant season, and their recent results have caused some to underestimate them lately. That was a mistake. They held off the Cowboys and survived the fearsome Saints to reach their first Super Bowl since 2001. However, these young Rams are not as experienced in the playoffs as the seasoned Patriots. New England is firing on all cylinders right now. Their demolition of the Chargers and thriller against Kansas City feature incredibly designed plays by OC Josh McDaniels. Tom Brady has become his old self again, Rob Gronkowski has appeared to wake up, and Julian Edelman has been their most reliable receiver. Sony Michel and the running game have been the biggest factor of late. If they can keep a strong running game and the defense improves like it has been, then Brady and Belichick will erase last year’s demons and get their sixth rings. Patriots 28 Rams 17

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