Super Bowl week has arrived.
OK, you may not be happy with the teams involved, considering the controversial officiating that took place in both conference championship games, and especially the notorious non-call in the NFC title tilt:
But whatever your thoughts are about the situation, the fact is we have the New England Patriots versus the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and the matchup is an intriguing one. This is about as old-guard against new-school that a championship game can be.
One one side there are the Patriots. If it feels like New England is in the Super Bowl every year, it because the Patriots pretty much are. This is New England’s third straight trip to the big game, fourth in five years, and ninth since 2001 — the Patriots prevailed in five of their previous eight appearances. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is the NFL’s longest-tenured coach at 19 seasons, and New England quarterback Tom Brady is the league’s oldest starting QB at 41. Those two have been at the controls for all nine Patriots Super Bowls over the past 18 seasons. It’s possible this could be New England’s last hurrah with this group, though people tend to say this every year.
On the other side are the Rams. Los Angeles is considered the future of football. Rams coach Sean McVay is the youngest in the league at 33 years old, and he’s considered such an offensive innovator that all the teams seeking new head coaches this offseason are lining up as many 30-something offensive thinkers as possible as candidates. Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff and his biggest weapon, running back Todd Gurley, are both 24. This is a team expected to be a contender now and for the foreseeable future.
Neither team is a surprise participant. Both New England (11-5) and Los Angeles (13-3) were the No. 2 seed in their conferences and received a first-round bye. Both had to go on the road in the conference final, with both needing overtime to advance — the Patriots beat the Kans City Chiefs 37-31, the Rams beat the New Orleans Saints 26-23.
Both teams are known more for their offense than their defense. New England ranked fourth in the league in points scored and fifth in yards gained, while ranking seventh in the league in points allowed and 21st in yards allowed. Los Angeles was second in the league in both points scored and yards gained, while finishing 20th in points allowed and 19th in yards allowed.
The latest odds had the Patriots at 2.5-point favorites. When the teams met in Super Bowl XXXVI, New England prevailed 20-17 on Adam Vinitieri’s 48-yard field goal as time expired.
So who do you have in this one? Vote here: