Scouting Super Bowl LIII: Patriots vs. Rams
The matchup is set for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. The Los Angeles Rams will play the New England Patriots on Sunday, Feb. 3.
The Rams will represent the NFC after defeating the New Orleans Saints, 26-23, in overtime. The Patriots defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-31, in overtime to earn the right to represent the AFC.
The two teams did not play this year, but had several common opponents.
Both the Patriots and the Rams played the NFC North, with both teams going 3-1.
The Rams defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 38-31 in Week 4, and squeaked out a 29-27 win over the Green Bay Packers in Week 8. After a bye, they won, 30-16, at the Detroit Lions in Week 13. The one setback was a 15-6 loss at the Chicago Bears in Week 14.
The Patriots lost at Detroit in Week 3, 26-10. They won a high-scoring affair in Week 7 at Chicago, 38-31, and defeated Green Bay, 31-17 in Week 9. They wrapped up play vs. the NFC North with a 24-10 win over the Vikings in Week 13.
Both teams also played the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, going a combined 5-0. The Rams defeated the Chargers 35-23 in Week 3, and won a Monday Night Showdown in Week 11, 54-51 over the Chiefs.
The Patriots defeated the Chiefs twice, the first in a Week 6 matchup at Gillette Stadium, 43-40, and in the AFC Championship at Kansas City, 37-31 in overtime. They defeated the Chargers earlier in the playoffs, 41-28.
Here’s what you need to know about the Rams
■ This is the fourth time the Rams are heading to the Super Bowl, and only the second while the franchise was located in Los Angeles. The first appearance came in Super Bowl XIV, a 31-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The next two came when the franchise was in St. Louis, a 23-16 win over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, and a 20-17 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.
■ The Rams announced they will wear throwback uniforms in Atlanta, similar to what they wore in Super Bowl XIV.
■ Sean McVay, 32, will be the youngest head coach in Super Bowl history. Mike Tomlin had previously held that distinction, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to XLIII when he was 36.
■ Jared Goff, 24, became the youngest quarterback to win an NFC Championship Game. Now in his third season since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2016, Goff threw for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns to lead the Rams to the NFC West title and a 13-3 record.
■ One of Goff’s favorite targets is former Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who had 80 receptions for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns for Los Angeles this season. Cooks was with New England in 2017, where he caught 65 passes for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns. The Patriots traded Cooks to the Rams last offseason for a first-round pick.
■ Running back Todd Gurley rushed for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has been joined in the backfield by C.J. Anderson, who was signed by Los Angeles late in the season and rushed for 422 yards in his first three games with the team, including 123 yards and two touchdowns in the 30-22 divisional win against Dallas Cowboys.
■ Aaron Donald anchors the defense and registered 20.5 sacks during the regular season. In 2017, he was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year and received MVP consideration. Nine-year veteran Ndamukong Suh signed with the Rams in the offseason and is another presence along the defensive line.
What’s on the line for the Patriots
■ This marks the third straight Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots, and the fourth in the last five years.
■ It will be Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s ninth Super Bowl appearance, and the franchise’s 11th, the most in league history. The duo will be going for their sixth Lombardi Trophy. Brady, 41, will extend his record as the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl.
■ With the win over the Chiefs, Brady tied Adam Vinatieri for the most wins by an NFL player with 236.
■ The Patriots are tied with Dallas and San Francisco with five Super Bowl wins, and would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most in NFL history with six.
■ Brady threw for 4,355 yards and 29 touchdowns this season. Sony Michel was the leading rusher with 931 yards and six touchdowns. The versatile James White had 87 receptions for 751 yards and seven touchdowns to go with 425 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Julian Edelman had the most receiving yards, catching 74 passes for 850 yards and six touchdowns.
■ The Patriots went 11-5 to capture the AFC East title and the No. 2 seed, earning a bye. They defeated the Los Angeles Chargers, 41-28, in a divisional playoff.