By Maryam Naz
Last Updated: 30th January 2019
The odds are stacked against the Los Angeles Rams when they face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII on February 3rd.
Sean McVay’s men face what’s widely considered to be the finest quarterback-coach combination in NFL history, yet there’s reason to believe.
Scroll down for five reasons why you should bet on the Rams to win Super Bowl LIII.
A chink in the armour?
It’s easy to fall into the category of people who envisage Bill Belichick’s side as this mighty unconquerable beast, given their track record in the post-season playoffs.
But during the regular season, they have been anything but that.
In fact, the Pats have lost regularly – and to teams that didn’t exactly boast the best offensive or defensive records in their respective divisions.
The Detroit Lions ended up bottom of the NFC North, yet despite their stuttering start to the season, managed to emerge victorious against Tom Brady’s and friends.
Likewise, the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins regularly shipped over 30 points in their division match-ups, but just like Matt Patricia’s team, left Foxborough as winners.
While, the trend suggests that the Patriots don’t perform so well against lesser sides – and the LA Rams certainly don’t fit that category – the NFC representatives will be able to take some hope from these games if they are to upset the odds.
Donald and Suh – a deadly duo
The Patriots have never faced a defensive-line duo like Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. The two Rams players have shared 141 quarterback pressures during the regular season.
No pair of defensive tackles had more – and it wasn’t even close. The Pittsburg Steelers’ duo of Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt ranked second with a combined 100 pressures.
Indeed, Donald, who the great Peyton Manning labelled as ‘the best defensive player in the NFL’ has broken the record for sacks this year, with 20.5 to his name.
And if that wasn’t enough to rattle the bones of Pats fans, his sparring partner, Suh, has just as impressive a defensive record, having made the all-pro team for three years running.
Suh’s experience, combined with Donald’s explosive power makes them a deadly defensive duo that possess all the hallmarks to take down this Pats offence.
How to beat the team that’s memorised every play in the book
Kansas City Chiefs fans will be wishing this article had been published a week earlier when they faced Belichick’s men in the Conference Championship playoffs.
A last-minute throw from Brady, up against a defensive formation that brought running backs into play ultimately condemned Patrick Mahomes and co.
Yet while the Chiefs made errors of their own, you can hardly blame them for losing to a quarterback with such an extensive range of passing like Brady.
So, how do you beat the team that’s memorised every play in the book? Surprise them.
While McVay has time to come up with a scheme to create hiccups in Brady’s plan, the Rams only have to cast their mind back to their performance against the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago, where creative play allowed them to bring unexpected ball-carriers into space.
A good example was a reverse pass to wide receiver Josh Reynolds late in the third quarter; he was knocked out of bounds at the Saints’ 1-yard line, setting up a key touchdown that cut the New Orleans lead to three.
The Dolphins performed similar heroics in their last-minute, hot-potato theatrics that tricked the Pats defence into missing a free running-back in the dying moments of the game.
Case in point, while Belichick’s men have experience on their side, they could be in for a surprise at the hands of Jared Goff and co.
Goff, Gurley, Anderson, and Woods: a boy band you wouldn’t want to face in a sing-off
To complement their stellar defensive line-up, the Rams have Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, C.J. Anderson and Robert Woods leading the charge.
The quartet have proved that when they’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, they’re simply unplayable for any opposition defence.
And the stats certainly prove it: Anderson showcased his capabilities as Gurley’s understudy with a record-breaking three-game streak of receiving more than 100 yards.
Meanwhile Woods, who isn’t a rusher by trade, has totaled at least 60 yards receiving in 14-straight games from Weeks 2-16 and reached the mark once again in the divisional round.
The beauty of such an attacking quartet is that if one is off-tune, as Gurley has been in the last few weeks, the other can adjust, and as an attacking unit, this is exactly how they will need to operate if they are to inflict disharmony on the Patriots’ defensive ranks.
Empires are made to crumble
Considering that this could be one of the last times that Brady and Belichick play together, a grand-stand finish will be exactly what the Pats will be aiming for.
But given that the mighty Patriots have been in agreeance with those predicting a comfortable win for Belichick, their long reign at the top end of American football could come to an end this Sunday at the hands of McVay and Goff.
Signs of collapse have been evident across the season, as mentioned earlier in defeats to the Dolphins, Lions and Titans, and away from their beloved home in Foxborough, this could be the final straw for Belichick’s men.
Maryam is a female football writer, who grew up playing a wide variety of sport. She slowly became converted as a lover of football around the age of 10, and her interest in it drove her to pursue it not only physically, but also academically. In her first year of college she cemented a placement at the Independent, whom she worked for before branching out to Premier League-accredited sites like the female-led 'Offside Rule' blog and RealSport. She studied English at University alongside this, and is now a digital copy-writer and editor, specialising in sports journalism.