Pats seek sixth title on America’s unofficial holiday

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 12:  Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams scores a 35 yard touchdown in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 12: Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams scores a 35 yard touchdown in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Who are you taking in Super Bowl LIII: the stalwart, maybe not-so-loved New England Patriots, who seem to be in this game every year, or the upstart Los Angeles Rams, with the young coaching genius and free agent shopping-spree defense?

Better make up your mind quickly; the game is tomorrow and pregame is only six hours.

The National Football League’s Super Bowl LIII (that’s 53, for the Roman numeral apathetics) is this Sunday, an 11 a.m. pregame start and a 5:30 p.m. kickoff on CBS affiliates. It’ll be the 11th overall appearance of the Patriots in the big game, the ninth with quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick leading the way.

As a franchise, New England is 5-5 all-time in the Super Bowl; they’re 5-3 in the Brady-Belichick era. Belichick is coaching in his 12th overall Super Bowl (was in three as an assistant prior to becoming the Patriots’ head coach).

It’s the fourth Super Bowl for the Rams franchise. The first was way back in 1979, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they made two more in the early 2000s, led by quarterback Kurt Warner and coach Dick Vermeil. The Rams are 1-2 in those games. Ironically, their last appearance was Brady’s first, back at the end of the 2001 season.

The Rams, led by 33-year-old coach Sean McVay and upstart quarterback Jared Goff, will likely try to rattle the venerable Brady, who has already celebrated his 41st birthday. Brady has played at a high level this postseason, with wins over the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City. He’s 64-of-90 for 691 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and has not been sacked.

The Rams’ defense is coached by Wade Phillips and led by defensive tackle Aaron Donald, whose 20.5 sacks led the NFL this season. The Rams were a middle-of-the-road defense this year, allowing 386 yards and 25 points per game.

If pop culture is your thing, then you might be interested in the annual Madden video game simulation of the game, which has the Rams winning, 30-27 (and Donald recording a somewhat unrealistic four sacks in the process).

The Madden game simulation has been done the last 15 years, and it’s correctly predicted the winning team 10 times.

Or maybe you value the opinion of longtime ESPN NFL commentator Chris Berman, who says it’s the Patriots coming out on top, 31-27.

If the commercials are your focus, watch for stars like Harrison Ford, Charlie Sheen, singer Cardi B (complete with a blinged Pepsi can), and an ad where a football game breaks out at a hall-of-famers’ banquet.

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