Super Bowl LIII Preview: RAMS vs. PATRIOTS - February 2, 2019

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Super Bowl LIII Preview: RAMS vs. PATRIOTS – February 2, 2019

Chicago Bears

It’s finally February and the Super Bowl is just days away. And while I would rather be gearing up for a Bears game, I’ll take solace in the fact that the Bears beat the NFC’s representative and hung with the AFC champs when they played at Soldier Field during the regular season.

The New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams are worthy of being in the Super Bowl, but only one can emerge victorious.

Never Tell Me The Odds:”

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas lists the Patriots as 2.5-point favorites with an over/under set at 56.5. New England is 10-7 when favored against the line this season and the under has come in 11 times in 18 games. Los Angeles has been an underdog just once this season (in the NFC Championship Game, of course) and the over has come in as often as the under (9 times each).

Game Time, Broadcast Info, Officiating Crew:

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta Field

Broadcast Info: Sunday, February 2 at 5:30 CT on CBS (Jim Nantz & Tony Romo (commentators), Evan Washburn & Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporters), Gene Steratore (rules analyst), Jay Feely (special teams analyst)); Westwood One Radio (Kevin Harlan, Kurt Warner, Mike Holmgren)

Bonus: You can stream the game via the CBS Sports app and website, NFL app/website, and via Yahoo Sports, AOL, and Tumblr via tablet

Officials: John Parry (referee), Fred Bryan (umpire), Edgar Camp (down judge), Jeff Bergman (line judge), Steve Zimmer (field judge), Eugene Hall (side judge), Terrence Miles (back judge)

Expected Starters and Lineups:

Rams Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Jared Goff
  • RB Todd Gurley
  • WR Brandin Cooks
  • WR Robert Woods
  • TE Gerald Everett
  • TE Tyler Higbee
  • LT Andrew Whitworth
  • LG Roger Saffold
  • C John Sullivan
  • RG Austin Blythe
  • RT Rob Havenstein

Rams Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Michael Brockers
  • DT Aaron Donald
  • NT Ndamukong Suh
  • WLB Dante Fowler
  • ILB Mark Barron
  • ILB Cory Littleton
  • LCB Marcus Peters
  • RCB Aqib Talib
  • SCB Nickell Robey-Coleman
  • FS Lamarcus Joyner
  • SS John Johnson

Rams Specialists: 

  • Greg Zuerlein (kicker), Johnny Hekker (punter, holder),  Jake McQuaide (long snapper), Jojo Natson (return specialist)

Patriots Offense Expected Starters:

  • QB Tom Brady
  • RB Sony Michel
  • FB James Develin
  • WR Julian Edelman
  • TE Rob Gronkowski
  • TE Dwayne Allen
  • LT Trent Brown
  • LG Joe Thuney
  • C David Andrews
  • RG Shaq Mason
  • RT Marcus Cannon

Patriots Defense Expected Starters:

  • DE Trey Flowers
  • DT Lawrence Guy
  • DE John Simon
  • LB Dont’a Hightower
  • LB Kyle Van Noy
  • CB Jason McCourty
  • CB Stephon Gilmore
  • CB Jonathan Jones
  • CB J.C. Jackson
  • S Patrick Chung
  • S Devin McCourty

Patriots Specialists:

  • Stephen Gostkowski (kicker), Ryan Allen (punter, holder), Joe Cardona (long snapper) Julian Edelman (punt returns), Cordarelle Patterson (kick returns)

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff has lived up to being the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but he hasn’t met a challenge as big as the one ahead of him on Sunday. The Patriots defense has forced at least one quarterback turnover in four of their last five games. And in New England’s last 12 games, only two quarterbacks have thrown for at least 300 yards – Philip Rivers in the Divisional Round and Mitch Trubisky back in Week 7. Goff has averaged 273 yards and two touchdowns per game while posting a 100.8 passer rating since Sean McVay arrived. He’ll need to be on that level again if the Rams are going to pull off the upset.

New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski tends to show up in big games. And since they don’t get any bigger than Sunday, Gronkowski could hold the key to quarterback Tom Brady having a big day. The Rams allowed some high-profile opposing tight ends to go off last year including Jared Cook (9 catches, 180 yards), Travis Kelce (10-127, 1 TD), and George Kittle (14-247-2 in two games). And while injuries have slowed Gronk down, he is coming off a six-catch, 79-yard showing in the AFC Championship Game. Perhaps Gronk has another big one in him on Sunday.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.