SB53: Pats vs. Rams Buildup

BigSoxFan

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Hoping to see the Pats D force some INTs in this one. Here are the INTs from the other 8 SBs:

2017: 1 (kind of fluky)
2016: 0
2014: 1 (Malcolm!)
2011: 0
2007: 1
2004: 3
2003: 0
2001: 2

Obviously, confusing a QB is more than just the number of INTs you force but it’s tough to win SBs when you’re not forcing multiple turnovers, as it puts such a big burden on the offense. And if you don’t get INTs, you’re basically relying on fumble luck.

This secondary has legit talent and legit ball skills. Goff is a young QB. The DL is creating pressure better than it has all year. Time for the D to really take control of a SB. I’ll be pretty disappointed if yet another QB goes through this defense like a knife through butter.
 

Silverdude2167

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That article was nice but it did not really wow me with what Goff did.

Of the three throws he covers in the article two are too wide open receivers while being pressured and the third is a throw I would hope most QB's could make, a wide open receiver and no pressure, yes he was able to not stare down his target but you would expect most 3rd year QB's to be able to do that with a clean pocket.
 

Saints Rest

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This. BB will confuse him and Goff loses contact with McVay after 15 seconds for each play.
I seem to recall a discussion after the Cowboys game but before the Saints game, about how McVay uses that rule to rush the team to the line so that he (and his staff) can see how the D is setup before the 15 second cutoff. Then he communicates to Goff what Goff should do based on what he (McVay) is seeing. (My source was either Francesca or one of the other NY sports radio shows).
If this is true, I wonder if BB will rollout some of the mixed setups I recall him doing against Peyton in the early days. Or even simply lots of amoeba.
 

phenweigh

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I wonder what effect Hekker's passing ability on fakes does to the Pats' special teams' punt unit. Will the threat hinder the ability to block effectively and get good returns? Given what's at stake, there seems to be an decent chance the Rams take a shot if they fall behind.
On the flip side, this could be the game that Belichick brings back the fake punt for the Pats. Just don't let Chung make the call.
In the surprise play department, I'll bring up Edelman passing. McVay has seen it first hand in college, so maybe the Rams will overprepare.
 

BaseballJones

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Patriots last 8 playoff games, points scored: 34, 36, 34, 35, 24, 33, 41, 37 = 34.3 average

Patriots last 3 Super Bowls played:
- 28 points against one of the best defenses of all time
- 34 points in the greatest comeback in SB history
- 33 points against the #4 defense in the NFL

Brady last 3 Super Bowls played:
- 37-50, 328 yds, 4 td, 2 int, 101.1 rating
- 43-62, 466 yds, 2 td, 1 int, 95.2 rating
- 28-48, 505 yds, 3 td, 0 int, 115.4 rating
- TOT: 108-160 (67.5%), 1,299 yds, 9 td, 3 int, 103.1 rating

Two playoff games this year:
- 41 points, 498 yards, 30 first downs, 155 yds rushing, 38:20 TOP
- 37 points, 524 yards, 36 first downs, 176 yds rushing, 43:59 TOP

They are going up against a Rams team with some very talented defensive players, but who finished:
- 20th in points allowed
- 19th in yards allowed
- 17th in passer rating allowed
- 20th in pass completion percentage allowed
- 32nd in rush yards per attempt allowed
- 23rd in rush yards allowed
- 14th in red zone TD percentage allowed
- 12th in third down conversion percentage allowed
- 19th in DVOA

In other words.... Just not a very good defense. They can't seem to stop the run, they allow a ton of yards and points, and let the opposing QB complete passes at a very high rate. And they're not "bend but don't break" as they are only average at stopping teams in the red zone. So all signs point to the Patriots being able to move the ball and put points on the board in this game.

That said, they do offer some challenges that could trouble the Patriots' offense.

1. They have a very very strong interior defensive line. Suh often underperforms his ability, but when he's playing like he's capable of, he's a game-wrecker. And of course, they have the best defensive player in the game, DT Aaron Donald. Donald had 20.5 sacks (41 QB hits) and led the league in tackle for losses, with 25. When it comes to stopping Brady, the #1 thing you need to do is get pressure up the middle, and no team in the NFL is better at that than the Rams.

2. They actually do a good job defending running backs. I thought this was a weakness, but Football Outsiders says they are ranked #4 in the league defending running backs in the passing game. That happens to be a major strength of the Patriots, so the Rams seem well-suited to defend that.

3. They also do a good job defending tight ends. Gronk isn't GRONK anymore, but as this past week showed, he's more than capable of making huge plays. The Rams are ranked #5 in the league in defending opposing tight ends in the passing game. So again, they are well-suited to limit Gronk.

4. They finished 3rd in the NFL in takeaways. They had 18 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries, so they really get after taking the ball away. And the Patriots...well...Brady definitely has thrown some picks in the playoffs so it wouldn't be at all surprising to see him throw one, even two, interceptions - or an INT and get strip-sacked - in this Super Bowl. In his last 13 playoff games, Brady has committed 12 turnovers, and he's committed a turnover in 8 of the 13 games.

You can run on them, and while they seem to do a good job covering opposing RBs and TEs, and even #2 WRs (9th in the NFL by DVOA), they struggle against opposing teams' #1 and #3 WRs (28th vs #1s, 24th vs #3s). So this means that Edelman and Hogan probably will get lots of opportunities to make plays. However, if the Patriots stick with the 2 RB, I-formation sets, plus Gronk, that means they won't be spreading the Rams out and isolating their weaker DBs in one-on-one matchups and taking advantage of that. So it will be interesting to see how the Patriots play it.

The numbers point to the Patriots being able to move the ball and put up points, but the Rams do possess the ability to make big plays - sacks, turnovers, etc. - against the Patriots. And, frankly, I expect both to happen. I expect NE to move the ball and score, but I expect some big plays from the Rams' defense that either lead directly to points, or set up the Rams' offense in good field position, or deny the Patriots points (if the big plays come deep in Rams' territory). Those big plays keep the Rams in the game and we are all lamenting how the Patriots' mistakes (and Rams' big plays) are preventing NE from blowing them out, and it ends up needing a big fourth quarter for the Patriots to win.
 

joe dokes

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he numbers point to the Patriots being able to move the ball and put up points, but the Rams do possess the ability to make big plays - sacks, turnovers, etc. - against the Patriots. And, frankly, I expect both to happen. I expect NE to move the ball and score, but I expect some big plays from the Rams' defense that either lead directly to points, or set up the Rams' offense in good field position, or deny the Patriots points (if the big plays come deep in Rams' territory). Those big plays keep the Rams in the game and we are all lamenting how the Patriots' mistakes (and Rams' big plays) are preventing NE from blowing them out, and it ends up needing a big fourth quarter for the Patriots to win.
It's taken as gospel that BB (maybe every coach, but so what) likes to take away something from the other offense. Against KC, in hindsight, it was Hill and Kelce. So Watkins and Williams were the main receivers, and KC didn't run much. (Im not capable of telling if that was part of the plan, too -- i.e., force them to throw, but not to Kelce and Hill).

What do they try to take away from LA?
 

BaseballJones

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It's taken as gospel that BB (maybe every coach, but so what) likes to take away something from the other offense. Against KC, in hindsight, it was Hill and Kelce. So Watkins and Williams were the main receivers, and KC didn't run much. (Im not capable of telling if that was part of the plan, too -- i.e., force them to throw, but not to Kelce and Hill).

What do they try to take away from LA?
Good question. The Rams have lots of weapons. I don't know what's up with Gurley - he's a generational talent at RB but he just hasn't played much and they are emphatic that it's not a physical problem. CJ Anderson is a good RB that I thought NE should have picked up actually. He's given the Pats problems in the past. But they won't play Gurley and Anderson at the same time, obviously, so maybe you just try to take away the opposing RBs first. Make Goff throw, throw, throw. He was one of the worst QBs under pressure this year so I'd like to see some of Flores' exotic blitzes that have worked so well against the Chargers and Chiefs. But for a receiving takeaway, has to be Cooks, right? He's the best WR of the bunch.

Focus on Gurley/Anderson.
Double-team Cooks, like they did with Hill from KC.
Gilmore on Woods.
Get after Goff.

Rams will still score points. But I think this is probably the best formula. That and make sure that your own offense is moving the ball, possessing it, and finishing drives. Might need 30+ to win this game.
 

dcmissle

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It's taken as gospel that BB (maybe every coach, but so what) likes to take away something from the other offense. Against KC, in hindsight, it was Hill and Kelce. So Watkins and Williams were the main receivers, and KC didn't run much. (Im not capable of telling if that was part of the plan, too -- i.e., force them to throw, but not to Kelce and Hill).

What do they try to take away from LA?
Gurley. BB is not going to lose a SB by a visit to Lourdes or a McVay rope-a-dope if that’s what last week’s NFC game was.
 

cshea

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I think they’ll try to take away the run game and by extension, play action. Gilmore will likely get either Cooks or Woods straight up (Woods?) and then other will get the Hill treatment, Jackson/Jones with safety help.
 

MainerInExile

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The Rams play 3 wide, but we're talking here about how to stop the run. So maybe we see the base defense with 3 corners. Takes a safety off the field, but keeps the front 7 stout. We could also see the big nickel, but Chung or McCourty would have to cover a WR.
 

Devizier

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Speaking of missed calls, I've heard enough about the missed roughing call on Brady.
Refs fuck up calls all the time. Most of the time it's off camera, so people don't notice/complain. I generally expect that they are trying their best but they are expected to do the impossible. Besides the league loves high profile fuckups because it keeps people talking.
 

Jimbodandy

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Refs fuck up calls all the time. Most of the time it's off camera, so people don't notice/complain. I generally expect that they are trying their best but they are expected to do the impossible. Besides the league loves high profile fuckups because it keeps people talking.
In addition, about 2% of fans understand and interpret most of the rules correctly. Between not fully understanding the rules and not understanding the nuances that influence when a particular behavior goes from "let them play" to "ok that's a flag", it becomes quite easy to construct a narrative that fits your world view.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Statistical analysis on n=6 and n=4 is ... yikes.

FWIW, they played super light on Sunday, with Shelton inactive and the three active DTs combining for only 57 snaps on 52 plays. I'd expect them to activate Shelton and / or Kamalu and use more big personnel.
I’m a statistical moron (among other things).

What do you mean?
 
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Al Zarilla

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Gurley. BB is not going to lose a SB by a visit to Lourdes or a McVay rope-a-dope if that’s what last week’s NFC game was.
Take away Aaron Donald and to a lesser extent, Ndamukong Suh. Imagine if BB had to scheme against a prime Lawrence Taylor Giants team. Would he worry more about Phil Simms and Joe Morris or Taylor and Carl Banks? I suppose you can try to do both, but those two Rams monsters in the middle possess the ability to do what the Giants teams did to beat Tom. I’m not too worried about the Rams offense.
 

DJnVa

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Why couldn't you try to do both?

Scheming against Donald and Suh takes nothing away from our defense scheming against Gurley.
 

Old Fart Tree

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In the “micd up” didn’t one of the lineman say “no it’s GOOD they got Suh” before saying “uh don’t get that on camera”?

I’m curious what they think about Suh that makes him easier to neutralize. If that’s what they think. Obviously have seen a lot of him over the years.
 

joe dokes

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Why couldn't you try to do both?

Scheming against Donald and Suh takes nothing away from our defense scheming against Gurley.
I think Al's question was just mine from the LA defense perspective. Who should the Patriots' target?
 

Red Averages

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In the “micd up” didn’t one of the lineman say “no it’s GOOD they got Suh” before saying “uh don’t get that on camera”?

I’m curious what they think about Suh that makes him easier to neutralize. If that’s what they think. Obviously have seen a lot of him over the years.
It was Cannon, I believe. I took it to mean he thinks he's very overrated.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Wasn't Suh more or less invisible as a Dolphin vs the Pats? Obviously, he didn't have Donald next to him then.
 

rodderick

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In Jared Goff's last 7 games he has thrown 7 TDs and 7 INTs for a 75 passer rating. He also went 5 TD, 0 INT for a 127 raing against the Cardinals and the 49ers in that stretch, so he was absolutely god awful against the Lions, Bears, Eagles, Cowboys and Saints. I like Goff as a player, but I think he peaked a lot earlier in the season and the stage might be a little too big for him. The Pats also bring a lot of pressure, so I'm expecting some struggles. And if he struggles, the Patriots win this one, possibly by a bigger margin than we're used to in Super Bowls. I'd be stunned if he managed to keep up with Brady like Mahomes did.
 

tims4wins

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In Jared Goff's last 7 games he has thrown 7 TDs and 7 INTs for a 75 passer rating. He also went 5 TD, 0 INT for a 127 raing against the Cardinals and the 49ers in that stretch, so he was absolutely god awful against the Lions, Bears, Eagles, Cowboys and Saints. I like Goff as a player, but I think he peaked a lot earlier in the season and the stage might be a little too big for him. The Pats also bring a lot of pressure, so I'm expecting some struggles. And if he struggles, the Patriots win this one, possibly by a bigger margin than we're used to in Super Bowls. I'd be stunned if he managed to keep up with Brady like Mahomes did.
Yeah since the bye their scoring is down by over a TD a game. I think they miss Cooper Kupp. He didn't play in the 54-51 game against KC either, but since then it's been more of a struggle. 27.7 PPG during that stretch, which includes those games you alluded to against the Cardinals and Niners in which they scored 31 and 48 points. In the other 5 games since the bye, they have scored 30, 6, 23, 30, and 26 points, which isn't bad, but isn't the 35+ PPG they averaged through the bye.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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It's also fairly common in college, so it's not like McVay is the first one to use one.

Would have saved the Steelers some problems.
 

Bowhemian

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Every team at all levels have a designated “get back” coach. At younger levels, it’s more to keep the players behind the line. The Rams obviously take it to a whole other level. It is pretty sad to me that the coach can’t have enough self awareness to keep himself off of the field and out of the refs way. Like I said upthread, any little contact with the ref and it is a 15 yard penalty. Get that penalty in the wrong situation and it could really hurt his team.
 

JVglove2face

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We throw sideline warnings frequently in high school but when was the last time you saw this infraction in an NFL game? Professional get-back coaches do their job!
 

NortheasternPJ

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Every team at all levels have a designated “get back” coach. At younger levels, it’s more to keep the players behind the line. The Rams obviously take it to a whole other level. It is pretty sad to me that the coach can’t have enough self awareness to keep himself off of the field and out of the refs way. Like I said upthread, any little contact with the ref and it is a 15 yard penalty. Get that penalty in the wrong situation and it could really hurt his team.
I’d love to see a Pats coach grab BB around the waste to pull him back to see what BB would do.
 

Ferm Sheller

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That is some weird shit. Maybe it IS the easiest way for them to deal with McVays sideline wandering tendencies, but how big a problem would it be, really, for McVay to have a little more awareness?
His owner should get a shock collar.
 

Oppo

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Exploit his tendency to creep onto the field. Keep reminding the refs. Run into him.
 

SMU_Sox

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What are best podcasts for super bowl analysis?
LockedonNFL, and next week LockedonPatriots. Both pods get into some nerdy football stuff and I tend to learn a lot from both especially lockedonPatriots.
 

staz

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The cradle of the game.
Been watching NFL Films of SB 1 to about 6 now (NFLN), and I haven't seen one team that could compete in todays league. Most striking is, on par, how small the defensive players were.