Pats the popular Super Bowl choice, but …

THE POPULAR consensus is that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will win Sunday’s Super Bowl game against the Los Angeles Rams (Wikipedia photo).

UPDATE: As you probably know by now, in a  low-scoring game dominated by defense, the New England Patriots did what most people thought they would do, and defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 Sunday in Atlanta. Despite the outcome of the season’s final chapter, it was a pretty great 2018-9 campaign for the team, reaching the NFL championship game only a few years after returning from St. Louis.

By Pete Zarustica

Believe it or not, there are billions of people around the world who don’t care a fig about the outcome of Super Bowl 53 (or LIII). For the rest of us, there’s a lot at stake, including a wide variety of fattening foods and intoxicating drinks.

The rain may put a crimp in the barbecue plans of many, but there were will be plenty of chow for those of us who figure “what the heck, it’s only once a year.”

That much is predictable, but the outcome isn’t. So we at The Tribune decided to consult with those who think they know, and then offer our own totally unsupported opinion.

  • Sportsline has the New England Patriots as a 2.5 point favorite.
  • The Sporting News predicts the Los Angeles Rams by 4.
  • Sports Illustrated had 14 “experts” weigh in and 10 backed the Pats and 4 the Rams.
  • The Boston Globe’s four football writers were unanimous for the Patriots (big surprise, right?).
  • ESPNdid a survey of 96 predictions and came up with 58 backing New England, which is 60.4 percent of the field. The average point spread was 4 points.
  • The Orange County Register (and its colleagues in the Southern California Newspaper Group) backed the Pats 4-1.
  • Thomas John, a psychic who correctly predicted who would play in the 2019 World Series and who would win, is picking New England.
  • Tony Romo, former NFL quarterback, predicted a score – 28-24 – but not a winner.

    AARON DONALD is the defensive superstar for the Los Angeles Rams (Wikipedia photo).

Here at The Tribune, always a bit contrarian, we’re predicting a Rams victory by the score of 23-20. In our view, defense will play the biggest part. L.A.’s outstanding defensive line – led by Aaron Donald and Ndamukon Suh – will try to put pressure on Tom Brady, forcing him to commit to a receiver earlier than he would prefer.

On offense, the Rams will combine a short, possession-oriented passing game (a very disciplined Jared Goff) with a rugged running attack with C.J. Anderson going inside and Todd Gurley outside.

In a relatively low-scoring game, field goals will be key, and the Rams have one of the best kickers in the game in Greg Zuerlein.

We’re not discounting Brady’s ability to work miracles, but Tom isn’t Superman: he’s 5-3 in the NFL title game. Let’s see if the Old Reliable of Boston can beat the New Hotness of Hollywood. We don’t think he will.

Pete Zarustica watches a lot of football on TV.


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