• Brian L. Barefield

SUPER MATCHUP: Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots prepare for Super Bowl LIII

It is that special time of year again for all football fans. A time where many will make their way to the local grocery store and purchase an abundance of food to feed all the people that will attend the party at their house. Yes, you guessed it. Super Bowl LIII is Sunday February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Representing the AFC will be the team that has made the Super Bowl game a getaway for the winter the last three years, the New England Patriots. As a matter of fact, they are making their ninth appearance in the last eighteen years. On the other side of the ball is a team who is making their second appearance since they last won it all in 1999 (St. Louis), the Los Angeles Rams.

Courtesy of Clutch Points

Both teams survived scares on their way to Atlanta for the big game. It took extra time and a very controversial no-call in the NFC Championship game for the Rams to advance. Late in regulation with the Saints driving down the field. Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman committed pass interference, helmet-to-helmet, and hit on a defenseless player on New Orleans wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. Yet none of those things were called on the field and the Saints had to settle for a 31-yard field goal.

“Came to the sideline, looked at the football Gods and was like, ‘Thank you. I got away with one tonight,” said Robey-Coleman.

Los Angeles went on to defeat the New Orleans Saints 26- 23 in overtime on a Greg Zuerlein 57-yard field goal.

The AFC Championship game didn’t have as much drama, although it went to overtime as well. New England showed the Kansas City Chiefs why they have been atop of the AFC for so long. Ending regulation tied at 31, the Patriots won the coin toss and never gave frontrunner for the 2018 NFL MVP award QB Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs a chance to get back on the field. Tom Brady executed a perfect “Patriot’s Way” drive right down the field and scored propelling them back to the Super Bowl for the third straight year.

“I’m so proud of how we worked throughout the season. There’s been a lot of people counted us out in the beginning, didn’t think we could come and win on the road,” Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan remarked. ‘We just stayed with each other. Believed in each other, believed in our abilities.

The game on Sunday will pit two masterminds against each other. Each one trying to out scheme and out coach one another. The defensive brilliance of head coach of New England, Bill Belichick will try and out smart offensive guru Rams head coach, Sean McVay. But the wildcard in this equation may be the best card the Rams hold in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

Courtesy of NBC Sports

“He has so many things he can draw on from all the success he’s had in this league. With all the inexperience I do have I feel fortunate for him to be around,” said Rams coach Sean McVay when asked about the importance of having Phillips on his staff.

My prediction: Rams 31 – Patriots 24

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