Super Bowl LIII – Heroes and Villains preview

Everyone else is writing about their thoughts on the upcoming Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Rams – and I am no different so here goes. But what angle to choose?
Thinking about it I hope that it is the best of everything with stellar performances from all but there will inevitably be heroes and villains on both side – who could they be?

Heroes
CJ Anderson – CJ started the season with the Carolina Panthers and made only 24 carries over 9 games. He spent all of a week at Grudenland in Oakland before pitching up in LA with the Rams. This move has been crucial in supplementing the Todd Gurley based running game. His performances in the post-season are a key reason as to why the Rams are lining up in Atlanta this week, particularly after Gurley’s non-performance in the NF Championship game. The stage could be set for a 20 carries 100+ yards day for CJ as he helps the Rams control the field and the clock.
Gronk – He’s a warrior. This is his finale (widely expected). His career deserves one last huge performance. The Rams will have the usual problem of how do you match up against him? As the NFL’s Nostradamus, Tony Romo, predicted last week against the Chiefs – in your hour of need, who does Brady turn to when he looks downfield. It’s Gronk. You can see him making vital 4th quarter catches as he and Brady do it one last time for the Patriots.
Andrew Whitworth – Some guys just deserves a SB ring for being a true pro throughout their career. That could easily be said of Andrew Whitworth. After 10 years of propping up the Bengals but not making the playoffs, he is now in the biggest game of his career. What if he puts in a performance on the Rams O-line, keeping Jared Goff upright and with enough time to find his targets, and helps the Rams running back duo rack up the yards. Undoubtedly he won’t be the Super Bowl MVP but if the Rams win he will have played his part.
James White – This is the unsung hero in terms of Tom Brady’s offensive weapons. Two years ago, in Super Bowl LI, White had 100+ receiving yards and contributed 20 points with his 3TDs and a 2-pt conversion. He was a big part of the comeback against Atlanta. I can see him being key again with Rams perhaps concentrating on eliminating Gronk, Edelman, Hogan and Sony Michel. Maybe White goes under the radar and quietly keeps the chains moving with 3rd down conversions and maybe if the Patriots lift the trophy White has had another 100_ yard day catching the ball.

Villains
Johhny Hekker – Now I love Johnny Hekker, and I love a fake punt. He is a great additional problem for the Patriots to solve. But, but, if there is one team who will be ready for a fake it is the Patriots. I can see a scenario, maybe where the Rams are behind by a score and want to roll the dice rather than go 3 and out. (And you know they will do this…) They call the fake and the Patriots shut it down. The Patriots take over on downs, in short field possession and the Rams rue calling the fake on the biggest stage.

Tom Brady – What if….he is human. What if…..Aaron Donald and co get to him early doors and shake him off his rhythm? Could this be the year that Brady does not perform on the big stage. He has being moving through the playoffs with ruthless efficiency but that is because the O-line has protected him. The Rams pass rush could be key to disrupting Brady and it could cause him to make a mistake which costs the Patriots the game.
Nickell Robey-Coleman – Oh dear, trash talk costs lives! In saying that ‘age has taken its toll’ on Tom Brady Coleman has left the door wide open for Brady to ram those comments back down his throat (see what i did there). What if Brady targets Coleman and dissects the Rams secondary. If that happens, Coleman will only have himself to blame – and a few fans down New Orleans way will really enjoy it…..

Bill Belichick – Whaaaaaat I hear you say. Now a disclaimer right off the bat. Belichick is a coaching genius. His record speaks for itself. Being a Giants fan, he was a massive part of the coaching side I loved of the late 80s early 90s (his masterplan in SB XXV for example). I have nothing but respect for him. But…..what if……..the apprentice (Sean McVay) takes the master to School. McVay is at the beginning of what will be an amazing career – he may even challenge Belichick’s rings. The sheer dynamism of the Rams offense could overwhelm the Patriots, spreading the field, disguising variations. The assumption is that Belichick will be ready for McVay but what if, for this Sunday, McVay is the evil genius!

So we’ll see and it will be fascinating. Everyone is predicting so here goes for me. I can’t see past the Patriots, they have been ruthless through the playoffs, and ultimately the Rams were one bad call from being sat at home watching. They struggles early versus the Saints, who should have put them out of sight. Therefore, my prediction is:

New England Patriots 27 – 20 LA Rams

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