Super Bowl 53 Preview: New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams
After possibly the most exciting Conference championship Sunday of all time, the New England Patriots will once again head to the Super Bowl where they will face the Los Angeles Rams.
The blueprint for beating the Patriots is pressuring Tom Brady. For the Rams, the key to applying pressure will start with the man in the middle, Aaron Donald. When asked what’s so good about the all-world defensive tackle, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn’t mince words. “Everything,” Belichick said during a Tuesday conference call. “He’s pretty much unblockable.”
Patriots handling Aaron Donald
The Pats can look to the Bears handling of Donald back in December as a model. The Bears held Donald to just one QB contact and some Bears players suggested there may have been some tells in Donald’s game after reviewing the game tape. “If you study his film and know how he’s going to play, and know how he can hurt plays, so if we run the ball just make sure he doesn’t do this because that hurts the play,” Bears left guard James Daniels said.
But Donald isn’t the only thing the Patriots need to worry about. On the conference call, Belichick also acknowledged that the Rams “have a variety of players and they’re all a problem.”
Todd Gurley is the backbone of the Rams offense and CJ Anderson has added a level of physicality that would boost any team’s run game. Since Belichick is known for trying to take away opponent’s strengths, look for the Patriots to stack the box in Super Bowl LIII.
Former Patriots receiver, Brandin Cooks could wind up as an integral cog for the Rams facing a team looking to stop the run. Cooks was forced out of last year’s Super Bowl in the first half with a concussion and isn’t taking the trip back for granted.
While Belichick has an extensive record, Ram’s Head Coach Sean McVay is only a year removed from being the youngest coach ever hired. McVay’s squad has been a zone defense team all year, but Brady has been known to pick apart zone defenses.
If the Rams hope to stop Brady, McVay will have to be a chameleon, as Jets pro bowler Jamal Adams put it on Twitter earlier this month.
TB12 has been doing this since I was in diapers!! You sitting in zone all game, best believe he will tear you apart!! You have to wrinkle in man switch it up on him, & disguise!!
— Jamal Adams (@TheAdamsEra) January 13, 2019
The Patriots dynasty started in 2001 against the then St Louis Rams. Eighteen years later, the Los Angeles Rams hope to finish what their midwestern predecessors couldn’t.
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