Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 14:00 PM
Advantage - Rams
|Advantage: New England · Los Angeles · Over · Under|
Editor's Note: Kevin Rogers is the NFL playoff leader at 7-1. He is locked and loaded with his Super Bowl LIII winner. Click to win!
The Rams went through a solid run of Super Bowl appearances with the “Greatest Show on Turf” by reaching the Big Game in 1999 and 2001. Seventeen seasons and one cross-country move later, the Rams are back in the Super Bowl facing the team that broke their heart at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as the Patriots picked up a 20-17 upset as 14-point underdogs to begin the Tom Brady dynasty.
This time around, Los Angeles showcases a 33-year old head coach in Sean McVay and a third-year quarterback in Jared Goff looking to send the franchise to their second-ever Super Bowl title. The Rams put together an 11-5 record in McVay’s first season patrolling the sidelines in 2017, but Los Angeles was tripped up by Atlanta in the Wild Card round. However, L.A. proved it wasn’t a one-hit wonder by improving by two victories this season with a 13-3 mark to finish tied with New Orleans for the best record in the NFL.
We all saw how the final minutes of the NFC Championship unfolded with the missed pass interference penalty on the Rams that would have set up the Saints with a first and goal opportunity that would have allowed New Orleans to run the clock down for the game-winning field goal. New Orleans still took the lead, but Los Angeles eventually tied the game late in regulation and won in overtime, 26-23. The Rams cashed in their first underdog role of the season and will be receiving points for the second straight contest.
Now, onto why the Rams are the team to back in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday.
PATRIOT CLOSE GAMES
This is the ninth Super Bowl that the Patriots have played in since 2001, all with Brady and Bill Belichick running the show. New England has won five Super Bowls, as four of those wins are by four points or less, while the fifth championship came in the unlikely comeback victory over Atlanta two years ago by six points in overtime. The Patriots are 1-5 ATS as a Super Bowl favorite, but not all of those games saw New England laying huge wood. New England is 1-2 SU/ATS in the last three Super Bowls as a favorite of four points or less, including in last season’s 41-33 defeat to Philadelphia.
HIGHWAY TO SWELL
Under McVay, the Rams have won 14 of 17 games away from the L.A. Coliseum. Granted, two of those losses came this season at New Orleans and Chicago. In the 15-6 defeat to the Bears at Soldier Field in December, the Rams allowed one touchdown, while intercepting Mitchell Trubisky three times. Goff was picked off four time in the loss, marking only the second time in the last two seasons that the Rams have been held to single-digits.
Now to the good on the road. The Rams topped the 30-point mark in six of nine away contests this season, while Goff was intercepted six times in the other eight road games not including the Bears’ debacle. Los Angeles has compiled a 3-1 SU/ATS mark as a road underdog, with two of those wins coming in the first four weeks of 2017. Since allowing 45 points to New Orleans in Week 9, the Rams have yielded 63 points in the past four road contests.
BALK AT CHALK
The Patriots were listed as a favorite away from Gillette Stadium in all eight regular season games. New England lost five of those contests outright, including defeats at Jacksonville, Detroit, Tennessee, Miami, and Pittsburgh. Not one of those teams made the playoffs, while the Patriots were limited to 10 points in three of those setbacks. In four of those games, New England allowed at least 31 points, which didn’t include the AFC Championship where the Patriots gave up 24 fourth quarter points to the Chiefs.
DON’T COUNT THEM OUT
VegasInsider.com expert Joe Nelson checks in with several convincing points on backing Los Angeles, “The Rams will hear for two weeks that they didn’t deserve to be in the Super Bowl with the missed call late in the NFC Championship to provide extra fuel for this opportunity, but the box score painted a clear edge for Los Angeles with a 378-290 edge in yards in New Orleans. The Rams also showed resiliency battling back from a 13-0 deficit in the first quarter, holding the Saints to just 160 yards the rest of the game including overtime.”
“The Rams have marginal run defense numbers for the season, but in the postseason they held Dallas and New Orleans to 2.3 yards per rush each, surrendering a grand total of 98 rushing yards against a pair of strong rushing teams. The Rams also had to face the prolific Seattle rushing offense twice this season to skew the numbers in a 16-game sample. The Patriots have rushed the ball with great success in the playoffs, but it appears that success will come to an end in the Super Bowl as the Rams will likely aim to force Brady to throw just like the Eagles did last season in the Super Bowl,” Nelson notes.
Obviously Todd Gurley’s productivity will be a key factor on Sunday after totaling only 10 yards on four carries in the NFC Championship. Gurley posted MVP-type numbers this season by racking up over 1,800 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns. The Rams rushed for over 135 yards as a team in 10 games, including dropping 273 yards on the ground in the NFC divisional playoff win over the Cowboys. C.J. Anderson closed the season with three 100-yard rushing performances, including 123 yards and two touchdowns against Dallas.
TO MAJOR TOM
Nelson is back for some surprising notes on the four-time Super Bowl MVP, “Despite his all-time great status, Brady finished 12th in QB Rating this season which was four spots behind Goff. Brady finished with his worst QB Rating since 2014 this season and across the board his numbers were worse this season than in his past two Super Bowl seasons, including featuring the most turnovers he has had since 2013. He had two interceptions in the AFC Championship and had a game-sealing third interception last week until an offsides call brought the play back.”
The public loves the favorite in the Super Bowl, but that hasn’t been the best play over the years. Underdogs own an 8-2 ATS mark in the past 10 Super Bowls (taking out Super Bowl XLIX which closed at a pick-em), while seven of those teams have won outright. The last seven AFC favorites have compiled a 2-5 SU and 1-6 ATS mark in Super Bowls since 2008, when the Patriots were upset by the Giants as 12-point chalk.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.