New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams
Date and Time: Sunday, February 3, 2019, 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Opening Super Bowl Odds: New England PK, 58.5
Super Bowl LIII TV Coverage: CBS
The Road Traveled
The Rams have taken one step further in each of McVay’s first two years at the helm. Actually, Los Angeles took two steps further this season but I digress. A year ago, LA was taken down 26-13 on its home field by a more veteran and experienced Atlanta Falcons outfit that actually went off the betting board in that matchup by 6.5 points. By way of securing the No. 2 seed in the NFC this time around, the Rams were afforded a home game in the Divisional Round against the Dallas Cowboys whom they ousted 30-22 to just cover the closing 7.5 point spread per the closing NFL odds at Bookmaker.eu.
In doing so, they punched their ticket to the NFC title game for the first time since the 2001-02 season when they got by the Philadelphia Eagles 29-24 but failed to cover the closing 10.5 points spread. Their opponent this time around was a New Orleans Saints team they had lost to in the Superdome 45-45 as 1.5 point favorites back in Week 9. This time around, they went off the betting board as field goal underdogs but went on to win the game by a 26-23 final count in overtime. Many are of the belief LA doesn’t deserve to be in Super Bowl LIII due to the fact that it was the beneficiary of an extremely controversial late-game call that prevented the Saints from winning the game in regulation. Be that as it may, they’re here so get over it!
How They Stack Up
Jared Goff completely turned his professional career around in year one of the McVay regime throwing for 3,804 yards and a 28:7 TD/INT ratio while putting forth a solid 100.5 QB rating. He actually went on to improve upon those outputs a year later by throwing for 4,688 yards and a 32:12 ratio while attaining an impressive 101.1 QB rating. In doing so, the Rams will hit the Mercedes-Benz Stadium gridiron owners of the league’s No. 5 ranked passing attack that averages better than 281 passing yards per game.
The Rams boast a pair of 1,000 yard receivers in Robert Woods and Brandon Cooks. They likely would’ve had a third had Cooper Kupp not succumbed to a season-ending knee injury in Week 10 against the Seahawks. Either way, this is a passing attack that commands the attention of opposing defenses especially with Todd Gurley also getting into the mix out of the backfield by reeling in 59 receptions and turning them into 580 yards and 4 TD in the regular season.
Speaking of Gurley, it still remains to be seen just how effective he’ll be due to the knee injury that forced McVay to look to the newly signed C.J. Anderson for a bulk of the carries over the team’s last four games. He was only able to turn four carries into 10 yards against the Saints and clearly didn’t look healthy. Hopefully the two weeks off will have him ready to go against a resurgent Patriots run defense that still gave up nearly 5.0 yards per carry in the regular season.
Only the Chiefs and Saints averaged more points per yards gained than that of the Rams whose 13.0 average ranks out third in the league. Their 0.48 points per play average sits on behind Kansas City!
Defensively, the unit’s success or lack thereof hinges upon the front seven shutting opposing running games down, and Aaron Donald and company wreaking havoc in opposing backfield. The stud defensive tackle came a couple sacks short of breaking Michael Strahan’s all-time regular season record, but he was held without a sack in the two playoff games. He’ll no doubt be going all out to get numerous pieces of Brady in this matchup!
Los Angeles proved to be a losing investment at top rated sportsbooks over the course of the regular season. They only managed to cover their 16 played games at a 7-8-1 ATS clip, and were average to below both at home and on the road. As a host, the Rams went 3-4-1 ATS but was asked to lay an average of 9.1 points in those contests. They split their eight played road games and enter this tilt pointspread victors in three of their last four when you include the outright win in the title game against the Saints. Los Angeles was the only team in the league to go off the board favored to win in all 16 of their regular season matchups.
The book on the Rams from a total perspective has been very easy to read. You backed the over when at home and looked for low scorers on the road. Including the win over Dallas in the Division Round, the over cashed in seven of nine home games. Quite the opposite occurred when in the visitor’s role with it also cashing at a 7-2 clip when you include that contentious overtime win over the Saints in the NFC title game.