Super Bowl LIII: What to watch out for in Sunday’s showdown
After 16 regular season games and two play-off match-ups, it all comes down to this for Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots.
The showcase event is being held in Atlanta, Georgia this year at the sensational Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of Atlanta Falcons.
It’s not the match-up most expected in this year’s Super Bowl, but it’s bound to be a thriller regardless. We take a look at what to look out for in Sunday night’s finale…
Brady v Goff
The battle of the quarterbacks is a contrast between the old school and the new breed. Tom Brady will be calling the plays on the Patriots side of the field, with Jared Goff directing orders for the Rams.
Brady is a 19-year veteran in the game, and is competing in his 10th Super Bowl. He’s one of the last remnants of the old guard. He’s experienced most things there are in the game, and been caught up in his fair share of controversies along the way.
He’s been around for so long, he’s not likely to be intimidated by the event. A five-time Super Bowl champion, and a four-time Super Bowl MVP, he knows exactly what’s it takes to win.
In contrast, Goff is a relatively new head in the field. He’s in only his third NFL season, and will be experiencing only his fourth post-season game after the Rams lost in the Wild Card match-up last season.
Goff will be relishing the chance to prove himself on the biggest stage and throwing his name into the spotlight.
He’s 17-years Brady’s junior, a number which he’ll be hoping won’t show through on the pitch. He’s aiming to emulate one of the greatest quarterbacks the game has ever seen and become a champion.
Rams running back talent
The Rams offence heavily relies on the movement of running backs Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson.
Gurley and Anderson make some tricky and smart runs that usually mesmerise and bamboozle the cornerbacks of the opposition. If they’re able to shake some space and send the Patriots cornerbacks into a trance, they’ll open up pockets for Goff to work his magic.
If the pocket opens up, the QB will find the pass.
The Patriots have to suffocate the space and restrict the runs of the Rams backs. If you stop the runs, you suffocate the pocket which can help to prevent open opportunities for Goff to find a runner.
Patriots offensive pack
With the Pats offense all about the throws Brady can make, it’s crucial that he gets time and space to launch the ball into the path of a rushing Patriot.
Over the years, the rushing Pat that has grabbed the ball from a Brady throw is Rob Gronkowski, and it’s likely to be the same again this year.
But in order to make this possible, the offensive line for New England need to play like they did against the Chiefs.
In that game, against the side that lead the league in sacks during the regular season with 52, they only allowed them through to hit Brady once, without it ending in a sack.
If the Patriots can repeat this performance, it’s not likely that the Rams will stand a chance of stopping a Pats offensive charge to the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
The Gronk is 10/3 to score anytime in a Patriots win.
In the mid-game interval, Maroon 5 will be taking to the floor to perform with rap-artist Travis Scott and Big Boi, known best for his work with Outkast.
There’s also likely to be an appearance from SpongeBob SquarePants, if that’s your thing. An online petition to honour the show’s creator Stephen Hillenburg reached over 1.1 million signatures online.
How to watch
Super Bowl LIII is being broadcast in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event and BBC One, with coverage expected to start from around 11:30pm on both channels.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication.