…and that’s not just the delusional Bills fan in me speaking. They are going to win because they are the better team (expert analysis!).
Before I dissect the reasons (spoiler alert, there’s only one reason the Rams are going to win, but it’s a big fuckin reason. So feel free to skip the next 800 words or so if you’re in a hurry or if you’re like me and the only chance you have to freely read sports articles is while on the shitter), I’ve got to throw a Tuesday Teabag at this:
Juuuust when you thought you couldn’t hate this cheatin’ kalehole anymore he doubles down on the douche. He’s leading the charge, and dropping the mic, on the ‘we’re not going anywhere underdog’ platform?! I just threw up all over the keyboard. Pre-season favorite to win the AFC. GOAT Coach. GOAT QB. 3rd consecutive trip to the Super Bowl (geez, I’m only adding to Ginger King’s argument here). But yeah, they want the underdog role too. GTFO!
Recency bias is a dangerous beast, and it’s causing NFL fans to forget everything that happened prior to the Conference Championships. The lasting image fans have of the Patriots: they went to Arrowhead and beat Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs. Forget the fact that they played a perfect game, got a fortuitous bounce (it hit Edelmen’s thumb btw), and seemingly had every replay review go their way. And they still needed overtime to pull off the victory; an overtime that included winning the coin flip (about the only thing Belichick hasn’t found a way to cheat….yet), converted three 3rd-and-10’s, and got an inexplicable defensive off-sides that negated an ugly Tom Brady interception. It also helps when you’re coaching against a Walrus. Good God, still waiting for that defense adjustment Andy Reid. Maybe mix in a blitz or two. Enjoy those timeouts you get to take with you to the links.
And on the flipside, the lasting impression of your NFC Champion LA Rams: you don’t belong. You don’t deserve to be here. You got a free call. A non-call, which don’t get me wrong, was historically egregious, but it didn’t/wouldn’t have ended the game. Honestly, the Saints piss pour clock management (incomplete pass on 1st down) set themselves up to have to throw in that spot. The Saints, like the Patriots, won the stupid coin toss in overtime. Was that blown call still clouding Drew Brees’ judgment when he tossed that lame duck pick? The Rams caught a break, but they won that game.
So the narrative is born: The Greatest Destiny ever assembled vs. the team that doesn’t belong. And the Rams are going to have to hear that ALL.WEEK. LONG. If that doesn’t put a chip on their shoulder, nothing will!
If this game were played at a neutral location, at ANY point during the season, the Rams would be favored. Probably by a field goal. Yet, the line is Patriots -2.5 (hullo value bet!). And 78% of the money has come in on the Patriots, which means Vegas stands to make a boatload of money if one of these three scenarios plays out:
Rams lose by 1.
Rams lose by 2.
I think siding with the books is what they call “smart money”.
Offensively, the Rams are going to be able to move the ball. Belichick’s MO has always been to “take away the other team’s best player”. The Chiefs gameplan was a clinic. Double-team the best player (Tyreek Hill); put Gilmore in one-on-one coverage against the other team’s No. 2 receiver (Watkins); crowd the middle of the field to take the read away from the tight-end (Kelce) and make RB’s and No. 3 WR beat you while twisting and stunting your defensive linemen to generate pressure. Except, the Rams don’t rely on a number No.1 guy, they spread the ball around to Woods, Cooks, and Reynolds (who’s picked up the slack after they lost Cooper Kupp). McVay, the boy genius, has no qualms committing to running the ball (48 carries [!] for 273 yards against the #5 Dallas rush defense/ 26 carries – despite falling behind early- for 80 yards against the Saints #1 rush defense). Moving the ball and scoring points has never been a problem for the No. 3 overall offense in football. It also doesn’t hurt that they have the best special teams unit in the NFL, a pro bowl punter (who’s not afraid to fake it) and a kicker whose nickname is ‘The Leg’.
But like I said, there’s one reason, and one reason only why the Rams are going to win this game: their DEFENSIVE LINE. A nasty defensive line is the ultimate cheat code to beat the Patriots! It’s their kryptonite. It’s shooting your shot at the Death Stars’ one weakness! A stroll down memory lane shall we:
|2002||SB36||New England 20, St. Louis 17||W|
|2004||SB38||New England 32, Carolina 29||W|
|2005||SB39||New England 24, Philadelphia 21||W|
|2008||SB42||New York Giants 17, New England 14||L|
|2012||SB46||New York Giants 21, New England 17||L|
|2015||SB49||New England 28, Seattle Seahawks 24||W|
|2017||SB51||New England 34, Atlanta Falcons 28||W|
|2018||SB52||Philadelphia Eagles 41, New England 33||L|
Look at those 3 (soon to be 4) big fat L’s and tell me what they have in common. No, not that they are all NFC East teams, smartass. All the teams that beat the Patriots had sick defensive lines. Remember Tuck, Strahan and Umenyiora harassing the shit out of Brady all game long (Ginger King sure does). Last year’s Eagle line played behind the line of scrimmage all game long. And speaking of those Eagle, the Rams front four is eerie similar:
Cox = Donald
Bennett = Suh
Long = Fowler
Graham = Brockers
In fact, the Rams front four is MORE talented. Aaron Donald is the non-QB MVP of the league with his league leading 20.5 sacks (from the DT position!)! Donald consistently beats double teams with his blend of power, speed, and quickness. And if you double him all game long (which you should), you’re leaving Suh one on one. Suh is a beast…when he wants to be. Sure, he takes of plays/games/months and is the Santa Claus of dirty plays (always seemingly pulling a new one out of the bag), but when motivated, the big man still gets after it. As such, he was a difference maker in both of the Rams playoff games this year.
Sure, the Patriots have “experience” on their side, but that shit doesn’t matter. Doug Peterson and Big Dick Nick didn’t have experience last year. But they were aggressive, took the fight to the Patriots, went for it on 4th down and scored touchdowns, not field goals. Yeah, I think McVay will be just fine.
So give me the Rams straight up and let me enjoy those Gisele Bundchen tears once again!