The New England Patriots are coming off of the emotional roller coaster that was the AFC Championship Game. After defeating a stacked Kansas City Chiefs team 37-31 in a hostile Arrowhead Stadium, the Patriots will now shift their focus to Super Bowl LIII. New England is set to play the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams on February 3rd in Atlanta. This sets up what should be a fantastic matchup at quarterback between Tom Brady and Jared Goff.
Super Bowl LIII Quarterback Report: Tom Brady vs Jared Goff
Brady is coming off of what is undoubtedly the best road win of his career. Brady threw for 348 yards and one touchdown. His best work came in overtime when he converted three straight third and long passes for first downs. His performance in this game catapulted the Patriots over an arguably more skilled Chiefs team.
As for Goff, he went into an incredibly tough place to play in New Orleans. Pulling off a road win against the Saints is no easy feat. However, Goff put together a solid performance throwing for 297 yards and one touchdown. He led two drives late in the game that set up opportunities for kicker Greg Zuerlein to drill both a game-tying and game-winning field goal.
How the Patriots Will Defend Jared Goff
Defending Goff is going to start by limiting his options. The Rams have a wildly talented offense and the Patriots secondary will have their work cut out for them. Brandin Cooks was an absolute nightmare for the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, hauling in seven catches for 107 yards. In addition to Cooks, Robert Woods has been sensational all year long for the Rams. Being able to hold both of these players in check and force Goff to go through his reads will be crucial in the Pats limiting the passing attack of the Rams.
In addition to the receivers in the passing game, New England will have to keep an eye on Todd Gurley out of the backfield. The Saints were able to keep him relatively quiet last week, but for the large majority of the season, he did very well in the passing game. The Rams like to use Gurley’s elite athleticism and speed to use him both in the run and pass games. The Patriots linebackers will be tasked with keeping an eye on Gurley in the passing game. Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy had a great game against Kansas City. He was flying around the field and was seemingly involved in every important defensive play. If the Patriots wish to limit Gurley they will need Van Noy to keep that high level of play going.
How the Rams Will Defend Tom Brady
The most important factor for the Rams on defense is their pass rush. Brady ranked last in the NFL this year against the blitz, and the Rams will need to bring pressure if they want to bother Brady. The Rams will lean heavily on Aaron Donald to put pressure on Brady, but Ndamukong Suh and Dante Fowler will also need to step up. Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has had success in the past at bothering Brady’s rhythm. The Chiefs didn’t get to Brady at all in the AFC Championship. The Rams will have to do a better job if they hope to come out on top.
Another key to slowing down Brady is to limit James White. White absolutely gashed the Chiefs last week. He has been one of the best pass-catching backs in the league this year and has picked up some crucial first downs for New England this year. It will be crucial for the Rams defense to keep a close eye on White. Being able to keep White’s impact to a minimum is key to the Rams keeping Tom Brady from dominating.
Who Has The Edge?
This year’s Super Bowl has all the makings of an instant classic. Two great offenses being led by two great quarterbacks going at it in the biggest game of the year. As far as for who has the edge in this game, it has to be Brady. The legendary 19-year veteran is playing in his ninth Super Bowl while Goff is making just his first appearance. There is something to be said for experience and Brady has that. Brady’s experience in big moments came into play last week when he was able to calmly drive the Patriots down the field in overtime. Tom Brady’s experience in the Super Bowl gives him an upper hand on the younger and less experienced Jared Goff in Super Bowl LIII.