John’s Well-Educated Guesses: Patriots vs. Rams – Super Bowl Edition

I haven’t been this excited since the debut of the “Call On Me” music video.  (Somewhere in a dark alley, Eric Prydz gently weeps).

I think I can speak for all the readers of this site that we are happy to be here.  I also think it resonates that we NEED TO WIN THIS.  Last year was a gross fluke that we don’t talk about.  Frankly, it was one of the most clear examples of the refs giving away the game.  Anyway, that’s in the past.

In a world where next year we could lose Trent Brown, Trey Flowers, Stephen Gostowski, Both McCourtys and Gronk…the time is now to get number 6.

The Rams are no joke, but I can’t stop thinking about them last year in the playoffs.  They just looked over matched and not ready for the big-time.  I think the Saints were the better team last week and controlled most of the game.  As usual it came down to two or three big plays.  I expect nothing different on Sunday.

Their offense is their strong suit.  Second in points per game.  Second in yards per game.  (Chiefs were number one in both.)  Rams were 3rd in Rush yards per game and 5th in Pass yards per game.

Gurley is the bell-cow back, but hasn’t really played so much recently.  Have they been saving him?  Obviously he is hurt but has had some time to heal.  Either way CJ Anderson has filled in well otherwise.  Their O-Line is quite good and Jared Goff is surgical IF given time (more on that soon.)  Familiar face Brandin Cooks provides a deep threat while Robert Woods is more of a possession receiver.  Both were very productive this year.  Losing Cooper Kupp to an ACL I think is huge.  We can slow them down easier without him.

As such, I think the strategy has to be similar to the KC game.  Ball control offense and keep Jared Goff on the sideline.  We need rushers and I think we will blitz him to force bad throws.  Goff is pretty bad if you can get a guy in his face.  Put Jonathan Jones on Cooks with a safety over the top.  Put Gilmore on Woods.  Stack the box.  Gotta watch for Gurley catching passes as I think that could hurt us bad.  Overall, I think that is gonna be a good way to slow them down.  Just need to get them off the field a few times.

The Ram’s Defense is about 15 notches better than Kansas City’s.  19th in yards per game, 14th in pass yards per game, Surprisingly 23rd in rush yards per game (Letting up 5.1 yards per carry??? I thought their D-Tackles were sick?).  Most importantly 20th in points allowed per game.  I’d say this is a middle of the road defense at best, and it normally takes a top 5 to stop Tom Brady.

We all know about Aaron Donald and Donkey-Kong Suh.  Add Michael Brockers and Dante Fowler and that’s 4 First Rounders on the D-Line if my math is correct.  They also brought in Talib and Marcus Peters to run corner on the outside, so some good name recognition on the defense.  Slot corner is a place I think is not their best.  The linebackers are the true weakness.  They stink and are slow in pursuit laterally.  That will be where we will focus.

That being said, we are going to attack the edges of this defense.  Jet sweeps, screens, pitch toss.  You know what I’m talking about.  No better way to neutralize that nasty D-Line and take advantage of those trash linebackers.  Get the ball out quick, and take advantage of some play action.  Gronk and the running backs will have a day.  If we can do that, we will be in good shape to control the game.  I think we go up tempo if we get a personnel look that we like and really press them.

Overall I’m scared as anyone else.  Always am.  Anything can happen and its always disgustingly close. Need to play a clean game, although we are normally good for giving away a turnover in these games.  Don't panic if that happens. Otherwise, Rams don’t deserve to be here and they are young.  I think our experience will shine through.

Prediction:  At least 3 Jet sweeps – I think Patterson gets 2 and Edelman gets one. 

Prediction:  Gronk goes off – In what could be his last game (I personally think he will be back)  Gronk will look like Gronk.  Big blocking and at least 5 catches and a tuddy.

Prediction:  James White wins MVP – I actually think Brady will win but that’s no fun.  Otherwise I’m picking Sweet Feet.  He is uniquely qualified to attack this defense.  He will get looks with screens and targets with linebackers in coverage.

Prediction: Donald gets no sacks.  We will key on him and take him away with double teams.  They know he can wreck a game and I don’t think they give him a chance to get started.

Prediction:  Pats win 38-30.  I can’t pick against my guys.  I want this bad.  See you on the podium and cue the duckboats.