Patriots to Face Rams in Super Bowl LIII

Super Bowl LIII is set. The New England Patriots (11-5) will face off against the Los Angeles Rams (13-3) inside Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

For the Patriots, coming back to the Superbowl for the third year in a row felt unexpected. Many fans were disappointed by 11 regular season wins, and national media personalities believed the New England dynasty had ended. Well, they’re still here. After going 3-5 on the road in the regular season, the Patriots hosted the Chargers in the Divisional playoff round and blasted them, 41-28. The score at the half was 35-7, Los Angeles was held to 19 rushing yards, and Tom Brady threw for more yards than the Chargers had in the entire game. The following week, New England traveled to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs.

In what many consider the game of the season at this point, the Patriots dominated statistics. With 36 first downs, 176 rushing yards, 348 passing yards, and time of possession nearly 45 minutes, New England won in overtime 37-31. The issue is right there – the game went to overtime. Kansas City was able to show off their explosive offense and push Brady’s bunch to the edge of elimination. The victory gave the Patriots momentum, and helped add to their playoff underdog mentality.

The Rams are back in the Super Bowl for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVI, 17 years ago. Led by Head Coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff, Los Angeles comes into the game with some momentum themselves. After beating the Dallas Cowboys 30-22, L.A. went into the Superdome in New Orleans and stole the NFC Championship game from the Saints.

With less than two minutes in the game quarterback Drew Brees threw the ball into the turf on first down. Running back Alvin Kamara rushed for no gain on second down, and an incomplete pass on third down, controversially not called a pass interference or a helmet-to-helmet hit. The Saints settled for a field goal and a 23-20 lead, which disappeared after a Rams field goal tied the game. In overtime, Brees was intercepted, leading to an L.A. field goal and victory.

In comparing the quarterbacks, Brady had 65.79 percent of his passes completed for 4,355 yards and 29 touchdowns. In the same categories, Goff had 64.88 percent for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns. An advanced statistic, adjusted yards per passing attempt, has Brady at 7.8 this season to Goff’s 8.5. Jared Goff has been a better quarterback this season.

Along with having the superior quarterback, the Rams best the Patriots in many other team rankings. The Rams scored 527 points (2nd best) this season to New England’s 436 (4th), but the Patriots have allowed only 325 points (7th) while Los Angeles has allowed 384 (20th). The Rams are better at both passing and rushing, averaging 281 and 139 yards per game, respectfully, combining to be professional football’s second best offense. The best is Kansas City’s, an offense that was embarrassed for an entire half of a championship game before showing signs of life by this New England team. The Patriots defense, seventh in the NFL overall, has pushed high-functioning offenses to their limits. Third in the league in forcing interceptions and second in rushing touchdowns allowed, the Patriots are a formidable opponent to the Rams.