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.
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.
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.
But no flag was thrown. So I have a few questions for the NFL… pic.twitter.com/SgUBaTHPdw
— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) January 25, 2019
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.
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.
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.
Best Rams Bets:
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.
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.
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.
- Aaron Donald for Super Bowl MVP @ 20/1
- Jared Goff Any Time Touchdown Scorer @ 12/1
- Last Scoring Play: LA Rams Field Goal @ 4/1
*All odds correct at time of posting