BOSTON (CBS) — Here we go again. The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl for the third straight year. And the fourth time in the last five seasons. And the ninth time in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick regime.
But it never gets old here in New England. While the rest of the country is suffering from Patriots fatigue, New England are fans eager to see if the Pats can close the deal this season following last year’s disappointing loss to the Eagles.
After watching the Pats roll over the Chargers in the divisional round and then beat the Chiefs in Kansas City in an overtime shootout in the AFC title game, there is good reason to feel good about New England heading into Sunday. The road woes and offensive struggles from the regular season are in the rear-view mirror, and the Patriots are just one win away from their sixth Super Bowl championship.
Is the WBZ-TV/CBS Boston sports team as confident as the fans? You betcha:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV
My prediction is simple. The Patriots will not lose two Super Bowls in a row. The team is too good, too hungry and too focused.
Patriots 34, Rams 27
MVP: Tom Brady
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV
The Patriots seem to be a confident bunch, with their QB leading the way. Brady spoke all week about his ability to handle game-winning drives. It may come down to that again.
The L.A. defense is built to stop Brady by delivering inside pressure from Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. The Pats O-Line has kept Brady clean during the playoffs, but this will be a monstrous challenge Sunday night.
The Rams offense can score, just like the Chiefs. Jared Goff has Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Josh Reynolds in his arsenal.
But this one may come down to who can run the ball better. Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead and James White have been outstanding, rushing for 177 yards and four touchdowns against Kansas City and 141 yards and four touchdowns against the Chargers. Michel has rushed for over 100 yards in each of those playoff games and the Pats are now 11-0 when a player rushes for 100 yards or more in a postseason game.
The Rams have had two different playoff games when it comes to the running game. In their divisional round win over the Cowboys, Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson combined for 238 yards and three scores on the ground. But in the NFC Title game at New Orleans, the duo could only muster 54 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Gurley was benched in that game. It will be interesting to see how he reacts in this one.
I’m not going to bet against Belichick and Brady. I’ll continue on this Patriots “Circle of Life” theme and take the Pats to bring home their sixth Lombardi Trophy thanks to a game-winning field goal from Stephen Gostkowski.
Patriots 30, Rams 27
MVP: Tom Brady
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV
Chances are you’ve downed an entire container of Tums the last eight times the Patriots have been in the Super Bowl. I don’t think this game will be as close for New England fans.
The Rams are good and if they were playing any other team I would probably pick them to win on Sunday. But New England is on a roll and playing with so much confidence.
L.A. defensive lineman Aaron Donald is a huge threat, but the Pats offensive line has been playing so well this postseason. And here’s a surprise: Sony Michel may be the difference. So far he’s racked up 242 yards and five touchdowns on 53 postseason carries. The Pats are back to the days of Corey Dillon, using the run to set up the pass.
This will be a close game for a couple of quarters but New England will pull away late in the third and put this one away.
Patriots 34, Rams 20
MVP: Sony Michel
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
This is crazy to say, I know, but I think for the first time of these nine trips … the Patriots will make it easy on their fans. I really think they win this one relatively comfortably.
The Rams are a great team, no doubt. But the way this team has developed game plans this postseason, and they way they’ve been implemented from Belichick to McDaniels to Flores to Brady, it’s been remarkable to watch. Plus, the running game and the work of the offensive line has been huge; I expect the Patriots to control the clock and the game.
After hiccuping throughout the year, the Patriots have been a machine for the past four games — two of which came against the best teams in the AFC.
I expect that to continue.
Patriots 37, Rams 31
MVP: Julian Edelman (he’s overdue)
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
I’m done picking against the Patriots this season. Can’t do it. Won’t do it.
I love their ground attack and Sony Michel should have a field day against a Rams defense that has struggled against the run. If the Patriots offensive line can continue to be bullies in the trenches, the Patriots will run all over the Rams. And if that falters, Julian Edelman and James White will turn short passes into big gains.
Hopefully this one doesn’t keep everyone on the edge of their seats for 59:59, but that always seems to be the case when the Patriots are in the Super Bowl.
Patriots 34, Rams 31
MVP: Sony Michel (since the entire offensive line and Dante Scarnecchia can’t win it)
Tune in to Super Bowl LIII on WBZ-TV/CBS! Our special coverage begins Friday night with Patriots GameDay at 7 p.m., continues Saturday evening with Patriots All Access at 7 p.m., and kicks off Sunday morning with a special two-hour edition of Patriots GameDay at 11 a.m.! After the game, stay tuned for Patriots 5th Quarter for all the reaction and analysis from Super Bowl LIII!