Columnists predict Super Bowl LIII winner

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Columnists predict Super Bowl LIII winner

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Following a championship win against the Chiefs, Tom Brady will have the chance to win his sixth Superbowl Sunday. The Patriots will face the Los Angeles Rams and quarterback Jared Goff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

The 11-5 Patriots, coached by Bill Belichick, are coming off a win against likely season MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs that ended with Brady’s overtime drive. This is Brady’s ninth Superbowl appearance, his first in 2002 against the Rams before their move from Saint Louis.

The 13-3 Rams, coached by Sean McVay, defeated the New Orleans Saints in a controversial finish. The controversy came after a missed pass interference call from the NFL referees which has led to debate from commentators to players throughout the last couple of weeks.

Despite the controversy, the Rams have had a phenomenal season with McVay, the youngest head coach in the league. Since having the position, McVay has earned a 24-8 record in his short tenure. Belichick, going into his 19th year as the head coach of New England, will coach his ninth Super Bowl in the position.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have possibly been the greatest duo in NFL history by a long shot.”

— Faith Douglass, 12

As for Tom Brady, Sunday will be quite a nostalgic day, not only because it is his ninth super bowl appearance, but 17 years ago on the same day, Feb. 3, he won his first Super Bowl. In 2002, the L.A. Rams were favored to win the 35th NFL Super Bowl, but Brady and Belichick together won their first Super Bowl ring. That was Brady’s second year in the NFL, and he replaced New England Patriots star quarterback Drew Bledsoe in the second game of the season after Bledsoe ruptured a blood vessel in his chest. Bledsoe eventually returned from the injury, but because Brady carried the team to an unlikely victory at the 2002 Super Bowl, Bledsoe lost his job. Seventeen years later here they are again, but Brady is now a father of three kids and Belichick a five time NFL Super Bowl winning coach.

Super Bowl 53 will be Belichick’s 12th Super Bowl appearance. He is the only coach to make that many appearances and to win five Super Bowls. Belichick is the third most winningest coach in the league behind Don Shula and George Halas.

Brady is debated to be the greatest of all time, the G.O.A.T., the best NFL quarterback ever, and debatably he might be just that. The 41 year old has reached 1,000 rushing yards and passed Peyton Manning for most combined passing yards for regular and playoff season. Brady also now only needs one touchdown to pass Manning’s record 579 touchdowns for both regular and playoff season. Some see Brady as the ultimate quarterback, but what they may not know is in 2000 at the NFL combine, Brady ran a 5.28 40-yard dash and was later drafted as 199th pick.

Despite Brady’s interesting draft pick, he alone has more Super Bowl appearances than any other team in the NFL outside of the Patriots. In fact, since 2002 the Patriots have appeared at half of the Super Bowls in the last 18 years. Brady has also been the MVP at four of the five Super Bowls he has won. Over the span of 18 years, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have possibly been the greatest duo in NFL history. Patriots fans this Sunday should have no doubt in their mind the incredible award winning Patriots and Belichick can win their sixth Super Bowl at that.

If the Rams hope to win this game, Goff will have to step up his passing game.”

— Luke Bruce, 11

The Pats performance two weeks ago showed how much of a competitor this team is. Facing an early favorite on the road in icy weather, the defense gave away zero points in the first quarter. They will face a far less phenomenal quarterback in Jared Goff. If the Rams hope to win this game, Goff will have to step up his passing game.

Their running game must not slow down against the Pats. However, the recent playtime of star running back Todd Gurley puts the Rams running game in a scary place. Gurley had five touches in the game versus the Saints. While C.J. Anderson filled that hole, it is doubtful Gurley will sit this one out as he is a frontal part of the offense.

Defense will likely be the big winner in this game. If the Patriots defense can stop Gurley and Anderson, this Rams offense will underperform in this game.

Throughout the playoffs, whether it was the Chiefs or the Chargers, the Pats have been the underdogs. Each time they were picked to lose, and throughout the season people have forgotten one key factor. Experience.”

— Luke Bruce, 11

The Rams defense led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald is a force to be reckoned with. The defense could be a terror for Brady. If the defense is able to control Brady, the Rams could have a shot but Brady is no stranger to handling tough defenses. Belichick will likely have prepared for such a defense and especially for Donald. The five-time pro-bowler will probably not be able to do much throughout this game as Belichick will likely have him double even triple-teamed. Nonetheless, the Rams defense could find exploits in that plan. To really beat someone like Brady, the Rams will have to get into Brady’s head. That means putting pressure on him and breaking through his O-Line.

Over the course of the postseason, the Pats have converted 61 percent of third downs compared to the Ram’s 41 percent. The Pats will likely rely on Sony Michel for their running game. They could do this if they use Rob Gronkowski as a blocker instead of trying to catch passes. 

The real bet for the Patriots simply lies on Brady and Bellichick. Throughout the playoffs, whether it was the Chiefs or the Chargers, the Pats have been the underdogs. Each time they were picked to lose, and throughout the season people have forgotten one key factor. Experience. Brady and Bellichick have been here before, and won more than any other team in the league. After this postseason, anyone should see why it’s foolish to bet against the Pats.

The pick: 34-28 Pats.

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