The New England Patriots are the gold standard in longevity and their head coach Bill Belichick has now been involved in 23% of all Super Bowls, despite working in a league designed for you to fail before you rise again.
But let’s dig deeper. Who exactly are the New England Patriots?
Why do they deserve to win?
Quite simply, they’re about the tenth-most talented team in the NFL and consistently overcome obstacles through nothing but intelligence.
Everyone has had the knife in at some point, myself included.
But when you have the smartest head coach and the greatest player to ever play the game on your sideline, you can overcome a lack of talent everywhere else.
The bottom line is: until you can stop them, they deserve to beat you.
Why do people root against them?
Simply put, there is no hope anyone outside the New England fanbase in their right mind would be supporting the Patriots on Sunday because they’ve probably done one over on everyone’s favourite team countless times before.
Think of Manchester United in the nineties. It got tedious, so no matter who they played, everyone wanted to topple them. You’re allowed be in awe and full of respect for an organisation while simultaneously wanting them to fail at every juncture.
The arrogance they carry themselves with combined with the bandwagon nature associated with them, on top of the cheating allegations make the Patriots an easy team to detest.
But as our dear friend Marcelo Bielsa will tell you – by any means necessary.
Who is their MVP?
Tom Brady is not the best technical quarterback of all time. He doesn’t have the best mechanics, the biggest arms, the best vision nor anything that resembles athletic ability.
This is why he was taken in the sixth round of the draft.
But one thing that’s now indisputable is that Tom Brady is the greatest player to ever play the game. That’s in spite of lacking those flashy characteristics. He’s the ultimate game manager and nobody reads the field like him from the pocket.
He alters pieces from their positions to dissect what the opposition is doing. He does this over and over again and very few have stopped him.
Where is their weak link?
Their weak link lies with their pass rush. The only thing that remains out of the wherewithal of teams as well drilled as New England is toughness. You can’t disguise toughness; you can’t dress it up.
Los Angeles have maulers protecting Jared Goff and any form of edge pressure could be eliminated as the Patriots lack any marquee player on the line of scrimmage. Some of their best blitzes are designed to get Dont’a Hightower in the A gap with everyone else simply taking up space.
It’s unorthodox, but it works for them. The key to beating New England is making them blitz more – because they can’t backload their pass coverage then.
What does the future hold if they win? If they lose?
This one’s the easiest answer. The Patriots are not defined by their individual moments of success, but by their refusal to go away.
If they win a Super Bowl again, they won’t be considered in any way more dominant than they already are, and if they lose, they won’t be considered any less dominant.
Until Brady and Belichick retire, we’re stuck with them, I’m afraid.
If they were a movie character, who would they be?
They would be Jason Voorhies. Not only do they continually carve you up with very little motive to do so anymore, they’ve had far too many sequels to their success – and it feels like the same plot over and over again.
Honestly, twelve Friday the 13th films. TWELVE.
When New England inevitably get down to the goal line, they will run the ball. They’ve usually handed off to Michel, White or Burkhead, but there’s every chance that the handoff delay against a beefed-up Rams goal line personnel would back fire.
Look for them to power it in with the fullback in these situations. He also caught a pass for a decent gain against the Chiefs.
This will be closer, that much is obvious. With time of possession seeming to favour New England in their new power-heavy run scheme, they’ll take points off the clock and keep it lower scoring than expected. That favours a margin of victory by less than a touchdown.
The Rams won’t run Gurley up the middle, they’ll take him outside against this front due to inside linebacking help. On the perimeters, New England lack the help they get in the A and B gaps.
Flowers will be the first point of contact for Gurley.
- Any Time Touchdown Scorer: James Develin – 13/1
- Winning Margin: New England Patriots 1-6 – 7/2
- Trey Flowers Tackles + Assists: Over 3.5 – 8/11
*All odds correct at time of posting