Super Bowl LIII Preview

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Super Bowl LIII Preview

Michael Raupp, Staff Writer

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After striving to predict the slate of NFL games each week throughout the regular season and into the postseason, there is only one game left on the 2018-19 football schedule to decipher a winner: Super Bowl 53. It has not been easy at times, just look at my winless showing from championship weekend. Both games could have gone either way, but I happened to be on the wrong side of both. However, I have another shot this week, as the most publicized event in all of sports will be here before we know it, which is why spectators need to know the storylines heading into the most anticipated game in all of sports. Whether or not all viewers who will be watching the Super Bowl have followed each game closely all season, coming prepared to your Super Bowl party with an ample amount of knowledge can make all of those who watch more engaged in the actual game, not just the food or advertisements. However, this game, like every year, for those who have followed the league all season, will have mixed feelings heading into Super Bowl Sunday. Although devoted fans will witness the two best of the sport this season duel it out for a Lombardi Trophy, this will be the last football game until August. Savor it up football fans, as it will be quite some time until the gridiron is back on our televisions.

What time is the Super Bowl on Sunday and what channel is it on?

Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 PM, CBS.

Where is the game?

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA

Who is calling the game?

Jim Nantz and Tony Romo (hopefully, Tony uses more of his telepathic powers as he did in Kansas City two weeks ago), with Tracy Wolfson and Evan Washburn giving sideline reports.

Can Tom Brady do it again?

It is no revelation that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are back in another Super Bowl, now appearing in their ninth in 18 seasons together. It just seemed like a matter of time until Brady would break the hearts of Kansas City Chiefs fans on their home field, and Brady, actually with the help of Chiefs’ Dee Ford’s offsides penalty, took advantage of the penalty that would have sealed the second and final ticket to Super Bowl LIII for Kansas City. A little luck never hurts when coupled with greatness, unless you are on the opposing sideline. Brady, 41, has ripped defenses to threads for years, and with the way he prepares in all aspects, both strategically and physically, undermining his talent by saying he has shown signs of regression this season due to his age is not fair to his excellence at the position and what he has left to offer in the next few years.

Standing in the way of Brady and his sixth Super Bowl ring are Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. There is no question the Patriots sweep the board in experience at all positions, therefore, Goff and the Rams have no room for error on Sunday. Rams’ Sean McVay will be the youngest head coach in Super Bowl history, and the offensive wizard must get his prolific offense quickly settled in to avoid letting inexperience subdue their chances; New England must be ready for some offensive trickery, similar to Doug Pederson’s Eagles last Super Bowl against New England, which kept Belichick on his heels all game. However, there is no one more experienced on the Rams’ sideline than defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. In his 41st NFL season, he will be in his third Super Bowl; Phillips lost his first Super Bowl in his first stint as Denver’s defensive coordinator but was victorious in his second in Super Bowl 50. Phillips will need to milk every ounce out of his defensive monsters: Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. In the NFC Championship, both made their presence felt, especially in the second half, helping the team withstand the Saints. Bill Belichick is known for taking opposing team’s best players essentially out of the game, but the Rams must design ways to continue for Donald and Suh to get to the quarterback. Also, the Rams must get more than 13 total yards from All-Pro tailback Todd Gurley if they expect to wear down the Patriots’ front, however, supplementing veteran C.J. Anderson has been a surprisingly pleasant weapon for the team down the final stretch of the season, who they are sure to use again this Sunday.

It will be interesting to see how Goff, McVay, and the rest of the Rams handle being on the big stage. Nonetheless, even if Los Angeles is in the game throughout, Brady will still eventually pick his way through the Rams as the game wears down. According to Herbie Teope of NFL.com, Jaguars’ defensive end Calais Campbell described playing against Brady and the Patriots as: “Oh, man. They’re a tough team and they’re tough to beat… they’re so good at everything. He [Tom Brady] knows what you’re going to be in before you’re going to be in it, so you might as well just show your cards and try to be the best at it.” If the Rams can keep up with Brady heading into halftime, the game could be in the making for a Super Bowl to remember, however, Brady and the Pats have looked like the Patriots of old over the last month, especially with the running game to worry about now to complement the passing attack. Good luck, Los Angeles. To be the best you have to beat the best. 

Super Bowl Pick:

Patriots 38, Rams 31