Los Angeles Rams (13-3) vs. New England Patriots (11-5)
NFL Super Bowl LIII: 02-03-19 at 6:30PM ET (Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA)
Line and odds: New England Patriots -2.5 – Over/Under: 58
SUPER BOWL 53 MVP Picks
10. Andrew Whitworth, Rams, LT
The 37-year old veteran has been an integral part to the Rams’ success this season, leading the sixth best offensive line in the NFL. Indeed, the future Hall of Famer and his teammates only allowed 33 sacks on quarterback Jared Goff in the regular seasons. The aggressive Patriots will undoubtedly try to replicate their impressive Kansas first half performance – -43 net yards allowed – on the biggest of stages Sunday but Whitworth’s experience and the Rams’ solidarity could be quite a different story.
9. Marcus Peters, Rams, CB
Marcus Peters is an integral part of a star-studded, but not impermeable, group of defensive backs which also includes fellow 2016 First-Team All Pro cornerbacks Aqib Talib or the author of the worst missed call this post-season: Nickell Robey-Coleman. The talented NFL Defensive Rookie of The Year in 2015 will play his first Super Bowl, with the difficult (this is an understatement) task of hindering the greatest quarterback of all time’s influence on the game.
8. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
Gronkowski’s physical attributes have already caused a lot of problems on defences around the league in the regular season. He has gained 682 yards in thirteen games (52.5 yards per game) and will prove a great asset towards the Pats’ attempt at a sixth Super Bowl
7. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
Coming into the postseason, it was unclear how many reliable receiving options the Pats might have but ‘Gronk’ and Edelman have massively contributed to decrease this concern. In the postseason, Edelman has racked up 171 yards in passes over the middle and imposed himself as Brady’s most favoured receiver. Additionally, the duo have also proven to be clutch. They have combined notably to six catches and 106 yards on the three last New England drives, leading to their win over the Chiefs in the AFC title game. .
6. Shaq Mason, LG, Patriots
If the Patriots haven’t given up a sack yet this postseason, it is undoubtedly because its offensive line is expertly lead by Shaq Mason. He is the left head of the Pats’ powerful interior blocking Cerberus, alongside center David Andrews and RG Joe Thuney. They will hope to hinder the 15th defensive line in the league in terms of sack percentages. The Patriots will want to give as much time as possible to Brady, replicating their season’s offensive form in the Super Bowl. Having only allowed a top of the league 1.2 sacks per game, the New England franchise will hope to count on a great Shaq Mason to protect the GOAT.
5. J.C. Jackson, CB, Patriots
Despite an impressive rookie season, especially considering he was undrafted, J.C. Jackson will have a lot on his hands covering Josh Reynolds in Sunday’s game. Jackson’s inexperience has started to show more prominently on the big stage, with a few passing interference calls against the Chiefs. It is not uncommon that the matchups between second and third WRs and CBs matter more than the one between the first choices of each position. An example of this could be the last-minute Malcolm Butler interception in Super Bowl XLIX. The Rams will exploit the imperfections of Jackson’s game and we can expect them to follow Kansas’ example when going for their wide receivers. Jackson’s level has nonetheless been higher than expected at the start of the season and his matchups against the Rams’ targets could be crucial as the game progresses.
4. Todd Gurley II, RB, Rams
The 10th pick of the 2015 draft has been an impressive player for the Rams over his four seasons in the league. Competing in his first Super Bowl, the twice First-team All-Pro (2017, 2018) will undoubtedly mark the game by his talent and incisive rushes. His NFC title game was nowhere near his standards but Gurley will more likely than not bounce back against the Patriots, and his LA franchise needs that. Having scored two touchdowns in as many games and counting 125 yards this postseason, Gurley should hurt the Pats’ defensive line and will be a major actor of his team’s success or defeat.
3. Aaron Donald, DT, Rams
The Rams’ offence has attracted a lot of attention this season, and with reason; but if the saying “attack wins you games, defence wins you titles” applies to Sunday’s game, then Aaron Donald might well be the most important player on the field. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who will probably win this award again this year, has recorded a league-leading 20.5 sacks in the 2018 regular season and will hope to add to that tally in the most important game of the season. His postseason has been quieter but he will assuredly have his time to shine on February 3rd.
2. Jared Goff, QB, Rams
Jared Goff had started to justify Les Snead’s decision to draft him as the first overall pick in the 2016 draft last season. The 2017 PFWA Most Improved Player of the Year’s 2018 season has been that of confirmation of the hopes placed on his shoulders. His team is in the Super Bowl. He’s succeeded. Goff ranked fourth in the league in passing yards and in yards per pass and the last minute and a half of the NFC title championship is at the image of his resurgence. He completed six passes – out of eleven – in that time, allowing his team to pass the field-goal line and Greg Zuerlein to send the game to overtime. His postseason numbers so far haven’t been as efficient as in the regular season, having for example not been able to cross the 300+ yards mark despite attaining it eight times in the regular season. However, no one will remember – or care – about this if his team wins the Lombardi Trophy come Sunday.
1. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
Who else but the greatest of all time to complete this list? Tom Brady has yet again shown that writing him off makes him better. His XXL performance in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs, allowing him a ninth shot at a Super Bowl, is simply the last proof of this to date. Last year’s regular season MVP is having the best pass completion percentage of his postseason career this year at an impressive 71.1%. Time and time again, Brady has defied expectations and will hope to do the same this year, as the team he has led to sixteen postseason appearances seems to be the underdog this year.