New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles/ St. Louis Rams: Matchup History

Photo courtesy of NPR

The New England Patriots are set to play a game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. While both franchises have been around for a long time, they do not have an extensive matchup history. Despite only playing a total of 12 games over the years, the New England Patriots have played some very interesting games against the Rams franchise. 

The Patriots have been victorious in seven of their 12 games against the Rams. They also have a four-game winning streak over the Rams that dates back to 2002. While these two teams have played a lot of close games, nobody will dispute that their best game was Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans after the 2001 season. 

The St. Louis Rams were attempting to build a dynasty with their high-octane offense led Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt, but they were thwarted by Tom Brady in his second season in the NFL. While the Rams offense was great throughout most of the game, they struggled to score points due to three turnovers. The Rams overcame a 14-point deficit to tie the game with less than two minutes left in the game. Tom Brady then had one of the best drives of his young career, which helped set up Adam Vinatieri for the game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired. This iconic game between the Rams and Patriots will go down as one of the best Super Bowls of all-time, and it is also noteworthy for being the first championship win in Tom Brady's great career. 

While the game on Sunday will never be able to top Super Bowl XXXVI, fans of the New England Patriots can expect their fifth straight win over the Rams franchise. The Patriots are coming off a poor performance against the New York Jets, which should energize the team and coaching staff. Bill Belichick expects perfection on a weekly basis, so he will not be happy about a five-point win over a terrible team. While Jeff Fisher has always been able to get the Rams to show up against great teams, the Patriots are far too talented to lose a home game to Los Angeles. 

The Rams defense specializes in stopping the pass, but they have not faced a quarterback with Tom Brady's talent this season. Even if New England has to rely on LeGarrette Blount and the running game more than normal, putting points on the board should not be a problem. The defense will also play a big role on Sunday for New England. An interesting matchup to see is how rookie quarterback Jared Goff squares up against MVP candidate Tom Brady. Goff can expect to see a lot of exotic plays from the Patriots defense. Goff had a solid game against the New Orleans Saints last week, but it will not be surprising to see him struggle mightily on Sunday.