It is Super Bowl week. The Los Angeles Rams will face the New England Patriots for Super Bowl LIII. As the teams have held their respective rallies, the final week of prep ensues, bringing a nervous energy to the beautiful stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Rams ironically won Super Bowl 34 in this city approximately a tenth of a mile down the road in what is now a parking lot. As the Rams will lean on their star power to try and win a championship, the Patriots will do everything in their power to avenge their Super Bowl loss last season to the Philadelphia Eagles. With news stories like Coach Sean McVay and Bill Belichick having text conversations throughout the year, the anticipation just continues to build as quirky stories continue to come out.
QB Tom Brady
Surprised? The Patriots are on their ninth trip to the Super Bowl with Tom Brady and Coach Bill Belichick. Brady, the ageless quarterback, had a solid season (albeit not quite up to his G.O.A.T standard). For the regular season, Brady completed 65.8% of his passes for 4,355 yards, 29 TDs, 11 INTs, while taking 21 sacks. Brady’s QBR was a 68.8 for the season which would be above average but not quite “elite”. However, in the postseason, Brady’s QBR has been above 82.7 as he won a thriller against the Chiefs in OT and handedly holding on against the Chargers. The Rams will look to get to Brady quickly as he’s demonstrated the ability to get the ball out very quickly in the postseason so far.
EDGE Trey Flowers
An edge player and example of superb player development, Flowers was a fourth round pick of the Patriots in 2015 and has emerged as the Patriots most reliable pass-rusher. Per PFF, Flowers was the 6th rated edge for the season. For the regular season, Flowers had 57 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. Although not the gaudiest of stats, Flowers does a lot for Patriots that doesn’t directly translate to the stat sheet. Look for the Rams OL to key on Flowers for most of the game.
WR Julian Edelman
Tom Brady’s reliable target, Edelman had a solid season (in 12 games after serving a suspension). For the season, Edelman racked up 850 receiving yards and six touchdowns. In the postseason, Edelman has truly emerged with double digit targets in both games while posting 96 yards against the Chiefs and 151 yards against the Chargers. Look for Edelman to again serve as Brady’s most reliable wide receiver target.
LB Kyle Van Noy
The leading tackler for the Patriots (surprisingly), Van Noy had 92 total tackles for the regular season along with 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one interception. Per PFF, Van Noy is the 30th rated LB in the league. Against the Chiefs, Van Noy was all over the field. He finished with 10 total tackles and also two sacks. The Rams will have to keep an eye out for the versatile defender.
RB Sony Michel
The Patriots first round pick has made his impact known. Limited to 13 games with some nagging injuries, Michel still led the Patriots in rushing with 931 yards in the regular season with six touchdowns. In the postseason, Michel has been even bigger, with 129 yards (three touchdowns) against the Chargers and 113 yards (two touchdowns) against the Chiefs. The Rams have had good success in bottling up Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, and Mark Ingram so far in the postseason but Michel will look to buck the Rams postseason defensive trend.