Staff Picks: Super Bowl LIII

The stage has been set for Super Bowl LIII, where the New England Patriots will take on Los Angeles Rams.

Many gave the Patriots no chance, and they managed to finish atop the AFC East at 11-5, then they went on to claim a spot in what will be Tom Brady’s ninth Super Bowl.

KANSAS CITY MO. – JANUARY 20: New England Patriots celebrate winning the AFC Championship at Arrowhead Stadium on January 20, 2019 in Kansas City, MO. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

On the other side of the field is the LA Rams, who started off hot with an 8-0 start to the season and Todd Gurley bursted out as an early MVP favorite. Jared Goff and Sean McVay are making their first ever Super Bowl appearance.

Which team will take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy? Here are picks from some of our staff.

Dylan Hoover: Patriots, 34-30 — I’m going with the experience. Tom Brady has been in this situation many times and it’s hard not to choose him. It also concerns me on the lack of playing time Gurley has seen recently and I question if he will be ready come the big game.

Nick Dowd: Patriots, 28-24 — This year seemed to be the end of the Patriot’s dynasty. Brady looked like age had finally caught up with him, Gronk was on the verge of retirement, Edelman was suspended and dropping passes, uncertainty with a rookie running back and Rex Burkhead’s injury, but Brady and Belichick are once again laughing in all of our faces as they waltz right into the world’s biggest game. As great as this juggernaut Ram’s defense appears to be behind the great minds of Sean McVay and Wade Phillips, it won’t be enough to extinguish the eternal flame that is the New England Patriots.

Alec Bradley: Rams, 31-24 — The Rams are easily a year ahead of schedule, even after all the shiny FA acquisitions this past offseason. Sean McVay has done wonders with Jared Goff, who looked like an MVP candidate before the loss of Cooper Kupp. The curious case of Todd Gurley remains a thing, but CJ Anderson was a great pick up that helps TG not take as many hits. The LA defense is big time, and the front seven will make Tom Brady dance around in the pocket and effect his already (at times) porous throws. The secondary is a major question mark but I think they’ll do enough to curb TB12 when the time comes for it.

Jordan Fisher: Rams, 23-20 — I’ve been on the Rams bandwagon all year long for my Super Bowl LIII pick, and I don’t see any reason to give up hope now. Personally, I’m hoping the two weeks off will allow Todd Gurley to finally get right. It’s clear his knee has been bothering him over the last couple months. LA’s offense also has quick strike ability, though I don’t think it’ll be that big of a factor due to New England’s bend don’t break mentally on defense. However, I don’t expect this to be an easy game at all. Tom Brady has been great the last couple weeks and the Pats have a legit running game with Sony Michel. This game, like most big games, will come down to the turnover battle and who can pressure the QB more. The Rams will absolutely need Sean McVay to call an incredible game offensively and it starts with getting the ball to Gurley early and often. On the other side of the ball, Aaron Donald needs to wreak havoc against the Patriots interior O-line and be in Brady’s grill all game.

Tristan White: Patriots, 27-23 — I’m a lifelong Colts fan, so this pick makes me want to slice my Achilles tendons, pour acid on my legs, and gouge my eyes with a rusty spoon. It’s just so damn hard to pick against Tom Brady in this game. The Pats got hot at just the right time to make a playoff run, and this team is so much more motivated than I’ve ever seen them. Brady has an underdog mentality and it’s scary. The Rams are a younger team and will definitely make this a battle, but I think the expertise of Brady and Belichick will hand Goff and McVay an L in their first Super Bowl.

Ricky Covington: Rams, 27-21 — I think this game will be a tough game for both offenses overall, with neither being able to establish a consistent running attack. Therefore, it’ll fall on Brady & Goff to get their teams in scoring position, which neither of them have had too much trouble doing for the better part of this season. However, there will be key defensive stands on both sides that will keep this game from getting out of reach for either team. In the end, I’m feeling irony coming into play against Brady, who’s won multiple rings off the legs of his kickers, as the Pats will lose on a late game field goal from Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein. I’ve been on record as saying Brady is the GOAT, but he will come up just short in this one against this Rams team I picked to win it all in the preseason.

Derek Blank: Patriots, 31-24 — As it is with all Super Bowl predictions, this one is a little tough. On one hand, you have Tom Brady and the Patriots, who are always tough to bet against in this situation. This will be Brady’s ninth Super Bowl in eighteen years as a starting quarterback, which is just absurd. Then you have the Rams, led by young savvy head coach Sean McVay, who is the youngest coach ever to reach the Super Bowl. Ever since his arrival, this team has been special. I’m rooting for the Rams, but I’m predicting a Patriots victory here. Brady and Bill Belichick have shown time and time again that come playoff time, they can make all the adjustments needed to win the game, and I see that happening again Sunday. McVay and company may be the future, but I’m taking experience over youth in this matchup.

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