Tale of the Tape Super Bowl LIII
This blog is from HASSLER DEREK BREDESON (EzrAs). Follow him on Twitter @derekbredeson
It’s that time of year again, when you start that journey to eat better, go to the gym more, lose weight, become a better person. Then it happens, the NFL playoffs take over, you start growling at people for no reason, you take stances you never would, you root for teams you would never root for. Then the Super Bowl happens and all that great work at the gym and in your diet go away because nothing screams America like a 4-hour football extravaganza filled with chicken wings, taco dip, pizza and cursing at the Patriots. I like to break down the Super Bowl down a little different, back in the 90’s Nick Bakay (the voice of the cat on Sabrina the Teenage Witch) used to do a “Tale of the Tape” for ESPN where he broke down the factors and picked a winner based on the score, so in a total rip off of that let’s go…..
Quarterback: On one hand you have a #1 overall draft pick, a guy who has a bright future ahead him, however he’s facing arguably the best QB in NFL history. I’m not going to discuss Tom Brady’s greatness too much, but the comparison of Jared Goff vs Tom Brady isn’t hard. Goff could be great, but he isn’t there yet. Advantage: Patriots
Running Back: Both teams use the RB by committee look. The Patriots by choice and the Rams by necessity. Todd Gurley is the best back in the league, but late season injuries have slowed him down a bit, enter CJ Anderson who on his third team this season has been a difference maker for the Rams. The Patriots roll with a committee because each back has his own strengths, James White the pass catcher, Sonny Michel the runner, Rex Burkhead the super sub. As much as I like how the Patriots play to each their guys strengths, I can’t give this group the nod over the best RB in the league. Advantage: Rams
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: This is a little tougher than the first 2. Both receiving corps are good, the Rams with Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods leading the way, while the Patriots use Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski as their main weapons. Too me the difference in the game breaking ability, the Rams receivers are liable to break one where as the Patriots take a little more time and don’t have the big play ability. The Rams did use their TEs well vs the Saints and I’m guessing Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee will have to make plays in the Super Bowl. The Rams also miss Cooper Kupp, but they’ve been without him for a while and have made adjustments. Advantage: Rams
Offensive Line: Tom Brady wasn’t sacked during the AFC Championship game, in fact Tom Brady hasn’t gotten sacked very much since November. The Rams line (featuring former Iowa Hawkeye Austin Blythe) are also playing well. The Patriots were graded as the #4 line by Pro Football Focus and the Rams were #6. Pro Football Focus isn’t the perfect grading system, but it is a tool that we can use to look at a position group that’s hard to grade since there aren’t many stats. Advantage: Push+
Defensive Line: The Rams feature a couple of former All Pros on the front line in Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. The Patriots have what they normally have, a bunch of cast offs near the end of their careers or guys trying to get another contract. Trey Flowers is the lead disruptor for the Patriots, but he isn’t as good as the 2 dudes the Rams got. Advantage: Rams
Linebackers: Again the Patriots don’t have the biggest names, but they play with scheme and a purpose in the Linebacking corps. Dont’a Hightower can make plays and get after the QB. For the Rams it’s sort of the same story. I’ll admit I haven’t watched them much but from what I’ve seen the Patriots can use James White to beat Cory Littleton, the Saints used up Littleton with Alvin Kamara in the NFC Championship game and we all saw what James White can do 2 years ago in the Super Bowl. Advantage: Patriots
Secondary: The Rams feature a couple of veterans in Marcus Peters and Sam Shields at the corners. The Patriots have a decent secondary as well, but they aren’t very deep, the Chiefs victimized J.C. Jackson in the AFC Championship game. If either of these teams can create some turnovers that will help immensely, also wonder what Safety the Rams put on Gronkowski, he’s coming off his best game of the year and might be the match up nightmare he used to be. Advantage: Rams
Special Teams: The Rams feature a great special teams with Johnny Hekker and Greg Zeurlein handling the kicking duties. The Patriots have Stephen Gostkowski and Ryan Allen doing their kicking. Zeurlein may have the stronger kicking leg than Gostkowski but my advantage is going to go to the Patriots because Cordarrelle Paterson can turn any kickoff into 6 and Julian Edelman is usually pretty smart at returning punts. Advantage: Patriots
Coaches: It’s the Boy Genius vs the Evil Genius. Sean McVay is awesome, but Belichick is the best head coach of our era. Advantage: Patriots
Final Score: Rams 4 Patriots 3. This is going to be an exciting game with plenty of great plays and even some dumb ones. My guess though is Tom Brady and New England get over the hump despite my scoring advantage going to Los Angeles. My score prediction is New England 38 Los Angeles 32, let’s just hope the officials stay out of this one and Tony Romo continues to shine in the booth.