Aaron Donald, Atlanta Falcons, Bill Belichick, Brandon Cooks, Detroit Lions, Greg Zuerlein, Jacksonville Jaguars, James White, Jared Goff, Johnny Hekker, Josh Gordon, LA Rams, Miami Dolphins, Ndamukong Suh, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Robert Woods, Sean McVay, Super Bowl, Tennessee Titans, Todd Gurley, Tom Brady
So, here we are! It’s that time of year again where all of your mates, even the ones who don’t watch any other games all season, become big NFL fans! We’re down to the final two, with the best of the AFC, namely the New England Patriots, facing off against the NFC’s LA Rams.
It’s an exciting one this year. I genuinely believe that either team could be leaving Atlanta with the Vince Lombardi trophy, and I can’t wait to see how the game goes. Lets take a look at the two teams involved.
AFC: New England Patriots – 11-5
What can I say about the Patriots that hasn’t already been said? The combination of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is one of the most successful partnerships in NFL history, having lead their Patriots to 5 Super Bowl championships; 4 of them with Mr Brady winning the Super Bowl MVP! This is the Patriots third representation of the AFC in the big one in row with them beating Falcons and losing to the Eagles in the last 2.
But this year, I believe that they’re a little more beatable than they have in the run up to the last couple of outings. This year, they’ve dropped games against the Jaguars (Week 2), Lions (Week 3), Titans (Week 10), Dolphins (Week 14) and Steelers (Week 15), none of whom made it to the post-season. On top of that, you can’t argue that Tom Brady is getting on a bit. It’s been interesting this week to hear him say that he ‘doesn’t know’ if Sunday’s game will be his last [He did say he had zero intention to retire -Ed.]. Personally, I can’t see it, but at the same time, if he does play again next year, I can’t see him being able to keep up the standard that everyone is used to seeing from him.
His target men have been a little bit unexpected this year. James White (a Running Back) has been targeted the most, and made the most catches this year, and losing someone like Josh Gordon towards the end of the season to suspension won’t have helped. On top of that, if you exclude the 2016 season when he was injured for half of the year, this has been statistically his worst year since 2013 – something which hasn’t helped to silence the noise about him potentially retiring too.
If things don’t go their way on Sunday, we really could be watching the end of their franchise dominance… (much to the delight of the rest of the AFC East!).
NFC: Los Angeles Rams – 13-3
It seems a long time since the Rams entered LA in 2016 with a 4-12 record. Since then, certainly in the last couple of seasons, they’ve been one of the most exciting franchises to watch in the league. This will have been in no small part down to the introduction of current Head Coach Sean McVay, who has breathed new life into the team.
Their route to the Super Bowl, via an overtime victory over the New Orleans Saints, was marred with more than a little controversy – with a missed interference call on a play that also had a helmet to helmet hit at the end of the fourth quarter which may well have lead to a different end result – but for me, you win some and you lose some throughout the year, it just happens to have come at the perfect time for them!
What has surprised me a little is that the Rams frankly loaded defence ranks 19th in the league this year. When you think that their line is stacked with the likes of Aaron Donald (who I think I’m developing a Gee/JJ Watt style man-crush on! [No fair, you are an offence man and I have an ethical polly approach to my love of destuctive interior defensive linemen – Ed.]) and Ndamukong Suh, I really would expect them to be much higher up the list.
On the other side of the ball, Jarred Goff has had a great season in his second year as starting QB. He’s been helped out by Brandon Cooks and Robert Woods who have done well, and you can’t talk about the Rams offence without taking a look at Todd Gurley. He was just slightly under his rushing yard total from last season, but has been extremely important for the team, running in 17 TDs throughout the year.
And their other benefit is their kicking game – as a team, you’ve got to go a long way to find a better pairing than Johnny Hekker and Greg Zuerlein, who have made some monster kicks and punts this year.
This is the most difficult Super Bowl to pick for a good few years. I had a hunch about the Rams back in March, and on balance, I think I’m going to stick with them for the win in the early hours of Monday morning. That being said, if you saw how my picks went this year, they may not be thanking me for that…
One final update on the bet before I sign off – as you’d expect, the cash out value has fluctuated a bit throughout the week and a half since they made it through, but it’s now at its most tempting!
And that’ll be it from me for now. One more post next week, and I’ll be taking a well earned break. As always, I’ve got Monday off work, so Sunday will be America day in our house, where I drink American lager, eat Corn Dogs, and watch the big game… and I can’t wait!
I’ll be tweeting throughout the game, so can’t wait to hear how you’re celebrating the occasion, and what your plans are for Sunday night – tweet me and let me know!
Oh, and if you know where I can get hold of some Corn Dogs in the UK, I’m reaching Def-Con-One here!