Super Bowl: How the Rams can butt Tom Brady aside

The LA Rams will go from a mess to the best in just two years if they can knock off the been-there, done-it pairing of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick...

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Two years ago the Rams were stuck somewhere in Missouri, their feet sinking in muddy mess of mediocrity. Now they’re one game away from bringing the Lombardi trophy to the LA Coliseum.

But what are their chances against the New England Patriots?

How can the Rams win?

They’ve more options than the stock exchange on offence, a defensive line that would scare the Russian mafia sh*tless, and an NFL coaching prodigy doing his best impression of Mozart if playcalling was knocking out a tune on the old Joanner.

Though the team moved from St Louis to LA two years ago –  think Wimbledon “becoming” MK Dons – they haven’t let Hollywood go to their heads. In fact the team has entirely turned around since heading out west.

Aug 31, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay during the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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Running back Todd Gurley’s been the main man on the field in the last couple of years, while defensive pass rusher Aaron Donald is top of the stoppers when it comes to upsetting QBs, but it’s their hip and happenin’ young coach Sean McVay who is making the real difference.

The 33-year-old has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game, and there’d be no more fitting way for him to win his first Super Bowl ring than by taking down someone similarly soaked in the history and culture of the game, Bill Belichick.

Why should you hope they lose?

Besides being young, rich, insanely talented and living in southern California, you mean?

There’s the small matter of them getting a ridiculously fortunate call go their way last week to save them when the New Orleans Saints could’ve ended the game.

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 20: A referee watches as Tommylee Lewis #11 of the New Orleans Saints drops a pass broken up by Nickell Robey-Coleman #23 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 20, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

It wasn’t quite Thierry Henry’s handball against Ireland-level injustice – though needless to say all America’s problems have been pushed aside by Lousiana’s lawmakers to press for a replay.

If being ridiculously lucky is not good enough for you, there’s the whole moving the team to LA from St Louis thing. Arsenal supporters might recognise the fingerprints of Stan Kroenke on this one – he owns the team and made the running for the change of city because *drum roll*, even though his wife owns Walmart, he still needs to make even more money, and Los Angeles can make sure he does just that.

Finally, with the best young coach in the league, there’s no limit to their championship potential. Given they’ll almost certainly get their mitts on a couple of titles soon, missing out this time wouldn’t do them any harm.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 23: Defensive end Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates after a sack
against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 31-9. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Who is their MVP?

The smart arse answer would be Sean McVay, who temporarily possesses the mind of QB Jared Goff for the seconds prior to every snap via the microphone in his helmet – kind of like what Jose said he did when Luke Shaw played well.

McVay is the main reason the Rams no longer stink worse than sackful of unwashed jock straps. A team that looked doomed to mediocrity under Jeff Fisher two years later is on the verge of a league championship.

But McVay isn’t a player no matter what mind control tricks he performs on his QB.

Aaron Donald actually pulls on the pads, and pretty much every QB in the league is glad he has to wear something to cushion the blow when he rips through their offensive line and slams them to ground

One way for the Rams to win here is for Donald to get after old man Brady and his soft-shoe shuffling in the pocket. Never the most mobile, Brady’s movement has (apparently, you can never really know with New England) been hampered further by an MCL issue since they played the Titans.

Saying that is a lot easier than doing it, but the key to the game will be making Brady’s life as uncomfortable as possible.

Where is their weak link?

Todd Gurley’s carried the team for long stretches since being drafted, but had a weird game at New Orleans. Form is temporary and all that, so this feels like just the kind of set for him to explode for 150 yards and two TDs, something he’s done in the past, but it’s a worry that he’s not looked great recently.

The Rams secondary is a more likely Achilles heel. They were pretty average all season, which, when you consider what they spent on upgrading in the offseason, is really disappointing. The Pats don’t have great outside receiving threats, so that should help, but Brady could cut them up if they’re not on their game.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JANUARY 28: Head coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams talks to the media during Super Bowl LIII Opening Night at State Farm Arena on January 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

What does the future hold if they win? If they lose?

The Rams have a lot of expensive and expiring contracts, so plenty of their players won’t be hanging around come the 2019 season. That doesn’t mean their Super Bowl window slams shut with a loss here, because they’ve got Goff on his rookie deal for a couple more years, have thrashed out a contract with Donald, and their coach is clearly more than just a flash-in-the-pan, but they might struggle to make it this far again next year.

But provided they hang on to McVay, they ought to be in the reckoning for years to come.

If they were a movie character who would they be?

The kid from Home Alone, because they’re performing ridiculous feats way beyond their years and are tasked with taking down two goons with potentially hilarious – and painful – results.

Fingers-crossed Tom Brady ends up with a tarantula on his face at some point.

FOXBOROUGH, MA – OCTOBER 14: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots exits the field after a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Best Rams Bets:

Super Bowl MVP: Aaron Donald – 20/1

Quarterbacks generally win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award, and don’t have to play all that well to do so. Still, that’s reflected in some of the prices for the award, and Aaron Donald stands out at 20/1 given his potential impact on the game.

He led the league in sacks this season, and the Rams have a great chance of winning if he gets stuck into Tom Brady.

Any Time Touchdown Scorer: Jared Goff – 12/1

I’d look at Jared Goff on the touchdown scorer markets. He had just two scores in the regular season, and won’t run much, but if they get down to the goal line there’s always a chance he’ll find a chance to stroll in for a score. He’s 25/1 for the first TD, and 12/1 any time, two big prices.

Last Scoring Play – LA Rams Field Goal – 4/1

If you’re looking for something a bit shorter and fancy the Rams to win, Last Scoring Play – LA Rams Field Goal at 4/1 really looks good. This should be a very close game, and we saw last week Greg the Leg Zuerlein has the bottle and boot for a big occasion, so this could be a sharp play.

LA Rams Super Bowl Best Bets

*All odds correct at time of posting

Get the latest Super Bowl odds at PaddyPower.com

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