Jared Goff and Tom Brady

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Keidel: 6 Reasons To Like Patriots, 6 Reasons Like To Rams In Super Bowl LIII

Jason Keidel
February 01, 2019 - 2:59 pm
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We are about 48 hours from Super Bowl LIII, which has become one of the hardest games to pick in decades. Las Vegas first installed the Rams as a slight favorite, then an avalanche of cash poured on the Patriots. If you wonder which is the home team, it's the Rams. If you wonder why, it's because the NFL alternates between the NFC and AFC every year. Make what you will of this random stat - the road team has won 31 of 52 Super Bowls (59.6 percent) while the Pats are 3-2 as the road team in the big game.

Since Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are pining for their sixth Super Bowl title, let's give six reasons to like each team to win the big game.

Super Bowl LIII

New England Patriots (13-5) @ Los Angeles Rams (15-3)

Sunday, Feb 3, 6:30 p.m. ET

Patriots - 2.5 

Six reasons to like the Patriots...

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1) Tom Brady has taken 179 snaps this postseason, has been knocked down twice and never sacked. 

2) Over the last three seasons, the Patriots are 7-1 in the playoffs, their only loss coming in last year's Super Bowl. 

3) Just three Rams have a Super Bowl ring, while the Pats have 27 such players. Brady alone has four Super Bowl MVP awards.

4) Jared Goff has been off sans his safety blanket, WR Cooper Kupp, who tore his ACL in Week 10. With Kupp in the game, Goff completes 69.9 percent of his passes, averaging 9.7 yards per attempt and a robust 111.9 passer rating. Without Kupp, Goff has completed 60.1 percent of his passes, with 7.1 yards per attempt and paltry passer rating of 88.6. 

5) The Patriots are undefeated (11-0) when they rush for at least 100 yards.

6) James White, the Patriots' secret playoff missile, has lead the NFL in yards after catch since 2016.

Six reasons to like the Rams...

1) If the game becomes a shootout - and many feel it will - the Rams are 5-1 when both clubs score over 30 points. 

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2) Around 83 percent of the public's money is pouring on the Patriots, and the public is almost always wrong.  

3) The last time the Super Bowl was played in Atlanta, the (St. Louis) Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans, 23-16

4)  The Patriots have not scored a single first-quarter touchdown in the Super Bowl under Belichick. 

5) The Rams are 14-3 away from Los Angeles in two years under head coach Sean McVay. 

6) Between 2015 and last year's Super Bowl, Bill Belichick was 12-1 against coaches he faced the first time. He then lost to Doug Pederson in Super Bowl LII, lost to former assistant Matt Patrcia and the Lions in Week 3 this year and former understudy Mike Vrabel and the Titans in Week 10.  

Stats can seem silly or random, like the fact that QBs sharing Goff's jersey number (16) are Len Dawson, Jim Plunkett, Joe Montana and David Woodley, who are a combined 7-2 in the Super Bowl. But this game could pivot on experience. Brady has won more playoff games than any other QB has ever started. His 29 playoff wins are miles ahead of his idol, Joe Montana, who is second with 16. Belichick was 74-20 overall against coaches he battled for the first time leading up to last year's Super Bowl. 

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Much of the game clearly favors the Rams, who have a deeper and way more talented roster. McVay shares Belichick's obsession with nuance, and has a teenager's glee for film study. The Pats are known for wiping out the opponent's best weapon. But the Rams have many cannons to fire from the snap. Do you double Brandin Cooks or Robert Woods? Or do you stifle the two-pronged rushing attack in Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson? 

The Pats can't stop everyone on the Rams. So will quiet wisdom win out? Or will the Rams borrow from the Eagles and their chatty, dog-masked provocateurs? Can Belichick baffle McVay and his checkmate-proof pieces on offense? Or does better talent just win-out here? 

This game is truly a coin-flip. This was the year for the Patriots to be dethroned, yet they still reached the Super Bowl. They have 12 draft picks next year, which spells doom for the rest of the NFL. The Rams are the last team that can break the Patriots' spell over the sport, and they clearly have the horses to do it. But the Patriots have already defeated two loaded and more gifted clubs in the Chargers and Chiefs. They will steal one more. 

Patriots, 29-27

Twitter: @JasonKeidel