February 1, 2019

BILICKI’S SUPER BOWL PICK: Patriots’ experience will outweigh Rams’ explosiveness

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Another year, another Super Bowl featuring one of the longest running dynasties in sports history.

Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are back in the big game, facing an up-and-coming squad looking to dethrone two of the best ever at their positions.

It’s hard to argue that Belichick and Brady aren’t the best-ever head coach and quarterback, respectively. Across the field will be modern offensive genius Sean McVay and his protégé Jared Goff.

There’s the problem.

While Goff has certainly been solid and at times spectacular under McVay these past two seasons, there are still many holes in his game. McVay is great at relaying information to him through the headset, but you have to believe that a defensive guru like Belichick will know this and adapt his defence.

The Pats D doesn’t have the overall talent, but is great at having the right guys in the right spots to succeed – it’s part of Belichick’s overall coaching philosophy.

Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh are going to be a handful for the Pats offensive line, but pressure is nothing that it hasn’t handled well in these playoffs so far. Despite having faced two of the best pass-rushing teams in the league, Brady has yet to be sacked this post-season and New England’s running game has been incredibly hot.

Despite basically telling their opponents that they’ll be running the ball whenever rookie Sony Michel is in the game and pass whenever James White tags in, the Chiefs and Chargers weren’t able to slow the Pats running backs.

The Rams’ big-name corners aren’t exactly an advantage, either. Aqib Talib remains a decent option to put on an opponents’ No. 1 receiver, but the Pats don’t exactly have one of those. There’s Julian Edelman (who operates out of the slot, Nickell Robey-Coleman’s territory), Chris Hogan (not exactly a consistent threat) and Rob Gronkowski (a shadow of his former greatness). Who would you put Talib on, given the options? And if you want to consider having him blanket Gronk, the Pats will gladly utilize him as a blocker, which he has been doing very effectively down the stretch.

On the other side of the field is Marcus Peters, who can be a liability at times. The former Chief is known to gamble on routes going for picks and has a penchant for getting flagged for interference.

My worry here is that we could see a similar gameflow from what we got in the previous two Super Bowls. It’s very easy to envision the Rams getting out to an early lead – similar to what the Eagles and Falcons did – and then being able to hold off the Pats in the second half, something that the Falcons failed to do while the Eagles were able to finish things off.

This game will be about being able to adapt to your opponent, and there’s no team and no coach better at doing that than Belichick’s Patriots.

Pick: New England 31, Los Angeles Rams 28

MVP: Tom Brady, NE

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