Patriots –2 vs the Rams — 2.5 units
Betting on Brady to get his 6th ring and complete this run. I don’t see this game being as easy of a win as it’s being made out to be but when the game is close in the 4th quarter I want my money on Brady. There were times this week where I considered siding with the Rams because the pass rush of Donald, Suh, Fowler and Brockers could get to Brady, but New England’s offensive line is playing at a level that they’ve never played at before in any playoffs that Brady has been in. Most of the years the Patriots lost in the playoffs they had an offensive line that would get beat up the middle or along the edges. That isn’t happening in these playoffs and it hasn’t mattered which pass rushers are lined up on the other side. David Andrews is playing amazing at C. Trent Brown has been great at LT and his size takes care of a lot of great edge rushers. When New England runs the football and needs a big yard, Develin and Gronk are able to create holes for Michel.
Wade Phillips will have a good gameplan against Brady because he beat New England in the playoffs both in 2013 and 2015 but the Broncos defense those years were better than the Rams defense in my opinion. Brady might have a few drives stall early in the game but, like he usually does, he should be able to figure out the Rams’ schemes by the second half and start attacking the right matchups.
New England knows Brandin Cooks well and the same goes for Robert Woods who they faced when he was in Buffalo. Belichick should have a gameplan that keeps both of them under their usual output and they’ll be defended mostly by Gilmore and Jackson with help at times. Jared Goff will target Todd Gurley, Josh Reynolds, Tyler Higbee, and Gerald Everett in the passing game like he’s done in big games this year against the Chiefs, the Saints, and the Eagles. I expect Gurley to have a better game than he had 2 weeks ago and for him to bounceback. He’s healthy. McVay has also said multiple times this week that he will be a big part of the gameplan. New England gives up 49 receiving yards/game to RBs and Gurley had 76 yards against the Eagles and 39 yards against the Chiefs. McVay should dial up plays to build Gurley’s confidence and he’ll have a few big plays, but ultimately Goff will have to keep up with a QB that likely won’t leave points on the board like the Saints did last week.
I clearly haven’t been gunshy over the years to go against the Pats in big games. But I’ve also backed them in other big spots. I backed them against Seattle in 2015 and won, went against them vs Atlanta in SB 51 (woof), and against them vs the Giants in ‘07 and ‘12 as well as the Eagles last year. Betting on or against Brady in the Super Bowls (4-1 ATS) has been good to me outside of the Falcons meltdown. Betting against Brady in pre-Super Bowl spots has not been good to me lately, going against them most recently vs the Chiefs and Chargers. At this stage, I don’t love this game like past Super Bowls. I’ve gone 5-1 on Super Bowl plays since I started releasing Super Bowl picks publicly but this is not one of my stronger Super Bowl spots. That being said, Brady has taken his play to another level the last two weeks. This could be Gronk’s last game. Edelman will have his opportunities. Michel has been a consistent weapon teams struggle to stop. Dorsett, Develin or Patterson could have a big moment. I’m putting my money on the greatest competitor and team in NFL history. Patriots 27-24.