Sports Editor, Maddy Hite: Rams
Though one may say that the New England Patriots (11-5) are the underdogs when comparing them to the Rams (13-3), the Patriots are a lower seed and objectively have had lower performance expectations throughout the playoff and regular seasons. However, now in Super Bowl LIII, this is not the case. Tom Brady has more Super Bowl appearances than any other team in The NFL. And the Patriots have made nine of the last 18 super bowls. It doesn’t matter what seed they are — they dominate the playoffs.
However, I still think the Rams will come out on top. Not because I am a “salty” Steelers fan or because I am tired of seeing the Patriots winning — or dislike every “New England fan” who suddenly cares about football — I think that the Rams young-blood will outlast the traditional AFC powerhouse. While yes, the Rams bout offensive weapons Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, they won’t be the ones who will win the game. But it is not going to be the offense that needs to win the game — it will be the Rams’ defense. The Rams, ranked 19th in total defense during the regular season, an unimpressive stat for a dominant team, need to be able to stop the run and double team receivers Gronk and Edelman. If they can do this, they will win. Go Rams!
Deputy Sports Editor, Madison Schmitt: Patriots
With Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots (11-5) and Los Angeles Rams (13-3) going down in Atlanta in less than a week, predictions are generating in abundance.
Cheering for either of the upcoming Super Bowl teams is highly improbable for me. I, like most NFL fans with no ties to New England, am exhausted of seeing the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Even more so, I’m exhausted of listening to Patriots fans boast about it for the 12 months that follow.
But just as I’m incapable of supporting the Patriots, I’m equally as incapable of denying the franchise’s greatness. Thus, with much reluctance, I think the Rams’ youthful identity will prove insufficient against a team with a history embedded in excellence. Based on Brady’s past success in playoff games and Super Bowl appearances, as well as the distinct imbalance in experience that exists between the two teams, I think the Patriots are going to leave Atlanta with their sixth ring. If that prediction proves accurate, though, I can say with certainty that it will be a painful victory to watch.
Associate Sports Editor, Chris Gaetano: Patriots
As much as I hate to say it, I think the Patriots are going to win Super Bowl LIII. As a Giants fan, it’s difficult for me to applaud the Patriots, but I think that they are the better team. I think Tom Brady really wants this one, and he’s going to be more fierce than ever. I think Brady has the mindset and the offense to back him up to give the Pats the win. Equally as important is the mastermind on the sidelines Bill Belichick, a man who knows the game and the plays that will lead his team to victory. Also, as the track record shows only NFC East teams — Giants and Eagles — have beaten the Patriots in the 2000s, thus far. However, I’m hoping the Rams can beat the trend and create an upset. The Rams 8-0 season start shows they’re a formidable foe, but they’ve become the underdog in this match-up. While I think the Patriots are going to take the win, I’m hoping the Rams can prove me wrong.
Managing Editor, Sarah Epstein: Patriots
Everyone knows the outcome of the last time the Patriots and the Rams met in the Super Bowl, but in case you forgot the Patriots won 20-17 on a buzzer beater Adam Vinatieri field goal in 2001. While much has changed since then across the league, most notably the Ram’s move from St. Louis to Los Angeles, the Patriots’ greatness has remained the same. It’s hard to bet against the Brady/Belichick/Kraft trio, which has seen more success over its tenure as any other NFL franchise.
Time and again, football fans across the country bet against New England, but the Patriots have proven this to be the wrong move. Sunday’s game will be Brady’s record-ninth Super Bowl appearance. His confidence performing on the big stage is unwavered, but it remains to be seen if the same can be said for Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who was just seven years old when Brady earned his first ring. Though L.A. ended its regular season with a stronger record than New England, the team has much less playoff experience. I have to give the Patriots the advantage in Super Bowl LIII.