Super Bowl Preview
Just over 17 years ago, America underwent one of the worst tragedies in modern day human history. The Super Bowl, five months after, was not only a celebration of great NFL teams, but also a celebration of human resilience. Those five months marked a turning point in not only American, but in the NFL as well. It marked the beginning of a dynasty. Two time MVP Kurt Warner, alongside Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce, were 14 point favorites coming into the game. This was mostly because of the Rams number one rated offense, and the inexperience of new starting quarterback, Tom Brady. The New England Patriot’s defense allowed only 17 points to the Rams and Tom Brady lead his team down the field to set up an Adam Vinateri field goal. The rest is history, as many of you know. 17 years later, the Patriots and Rams face off again but with two completely different looking teams than when they first met in 2002.
Tom Brady and the Patriots are coming off of a game where they barely squeezed by the Kansas City Chiefs. Many people were shocked to see Brady and the Patriots beat the number 1 seeded Chiefs, but frankly I was surprised it was so close. Bill Belichick has never lost to a rookie quarterback in the postseason, and I didn’t think that streak would end in the AFC Championship game. As I expected, the 31st ranked Kansas City Chief’s defense could not stop the Patriots in the first half. But the running game for the Patriots won them the game. Their 176 rushing yards toppled over the Chiefs soft run defense, and Rex Burkhead’s game winning TD in overtime sent them back to the Super Bowl. Tom Brady, however, needs to improve from his 3 interception game (Yes, I’m counting the pick that got negated by Dee Ford’s offside call) since the Rams defense is much more disciplined than the Chiefs.
On the other side of the country, the Rams have put together a magical season. Top 5 in points per game, yards per game, 1st downs per game and 3rd down conversion rate, the Rams have gone from the worst offense in the league to the most potent offense in the league in just under 4 years. Most of this has to do with the hiring of young coach Sean McVay. McVay not only transformed this offense, but went bananas during the offseason acquiring Aquib Talib, Marcus Peters, Ndamukong Suh and Sam Shields. Many people had the Rams in the Super Bowl before the season already started due to their dominant offense complimented by a star studded defense. Jared Goff went from a proclaimed “bust”, to a pro-bowler. Todd Gurley continues to prove to teams that you CAN spend a first round pick on a running back. The only thing holding this Rams team, is themselves. Their inexperience at both the defensive and offensive end will eventually plague them in this game, so hopefully McVay is able to control his player’s young and restless spirits.
This game will be close in the 1st half, with both teams scoring in the double digits but no more than 20. The Patriots defense, however, will take over and put this game out of reach. Tom Brady will merely do nothing more than manage the game, but Sony Michael will have a Super Bowl performance for the ages. I have the Patriots winning 31-20