Constituents – its Championship Sunday and if you aren’t chubbed up and ready to go then see yourself off of this site reeeaalll quick.
Your boy Faderian here is going against his moniker today and might as well be Contrarian Peterson. And when its all said and done – I’ma sit down and have a good little nice little bowl of gumbo, yafeelme?
That is, of course, as long as the Rams travel Talib with Michael Thomas and not Peters but we’ll get into that in second.
As you know if you’ve read our playoff content, the WiseGuys (me, Lil D aka Hedgerrin James, and Snake aka Guy aka Daddy Locks) have a playoff bracket challenge going on right now. One point for each game predicted correctly, simple as that. The point’s standings (with Super Bowl Picks following) are as follows going in to the final 3 games of the season:
Faderian: 7 of 8 possible points thus far (Rams over Patriots for SB53)
Guy: 5 of 8 possible points thus far (Saints over Chiefs for SB53)
Lil D aka Hedgerrin James: 4 of 8 possible points (Saints over Colts for SB53)
Read between the lines here (not that hard) and you can see its coming down to me and Guy. And that’s why I’m here with the contrarian article, doubling down hard on my Rams over Pats Super Bowl pick.
I have played my own hard earned monies on both MLs outright as well as some according props. So here are 5 reasons why both the Rams and Pats will pull off the upsets today.
The Rams have been to the Superdome twice this year (once in the preaseason,) and with the line settling in at +3, that suggests that home field advantage is about the only thing separating these two teams. Its not as big of a factor as everyone is making it out to be IMVHO.
The Patriots aren’t accustomed to playing on the road but they are accustomed to the cold weather, which is being equally as overhyped as the Superdome in the earlier tilt. If any duo is one to buck trends (0-3 in their last road playoff games), I’m rolling with Brady and Belichik.
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – RAMS @ SAINTS; WHY THE RAMS WILL WIN THIS GAME:
- Going in to the playoffs I power ranked all 12 teams and surprisingly enough the remaining four checked in at the top four spots, with the Rams at the summit. Full body of work, they ended the year with the best total offense in the league and the best total defense (3rd overall) of these four teams. They were already getting healthy despite finishing more efficient in the last month of the season than the Saints. Essentially, the Rams might not have been AS hot as they were to start the season, but they are just as poised on both sides of the ball to play a complete game today as the Saints. Albeit a small sample size, McVay is 5-1 when playing a team for a second time in the season; he keeps the momentum and outschemes Older Sean today.
- No Sheldon Rankins for the Saints. This plays in to the Rams’ fortes in multiple ways. Todd Gurley and CheeseburgerJelly Anderson will be able to get downhill and keep the Saints honest; in turn, Goff is a totally different, system-made QB when he has a clean pocket – the LBs will have to be more honest defending the run without Rankins, allowing Goff to have more time in the pocket.
- While I expect Walking-Press-Conference-Gold Marcus Peters to play better this week, he’s also not going to be tasked with Michael Thomas. Thomas absolutely eviscerated Peters in Week 9, but the Rams were without Aqib Talib. The Rams had a PFF grade in the 40’s for coverage that game, so Talib will be a welcomed sight today.
- The Rams were unsurprisingly the 3rd best team in the league at getting to the QB this year with Aaron Donald leading the way. However, their worst performance of the year in this facet was against the Saints …and they still gave them a game. Suh actually came to play last week against the Cowboys, and I expect him, Donald, and the Rams to pressure Brees early and it will pay big dividends.
- New Orleans has the advantage at managing the clock as a whole, but the Rams have trended more towards running the ball of late. If they can actually balance their attack, the Rams have the advantage in Yards Per Play; early down success rate is a push, so the Rams have to involve Brandin Cooks while keeping themselves out of obvious passing situations – and I believe they will do just that.
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – PATRIOTS @ CHIEFS; WHY THE PATRIOTS WILL WIN THIS GAME:
- TB12 is 24-7 or some shit like that in games under 32 degrees. Can Mahomes sling it as effectively in this weather? Probably, but the poise factor goes to Brady here. There is a disparaging difference in Time of Possession between the Patriots and Chiefs, as the Pats clock management still reigns supreme. This obviously plays into New England’s favor here with cold weather and a low scoring game expected, especially with a rejuvenated Sony Michel and playoff wonder James White reemerging last week.
- Defensively on early downs, per Warren Sharp, the Patriots have the advantage here. Forcing Mahomes into obvious passing situations coupled with New England’s ability to veil coverage schemes in a strong secondary will cause fits for the young Gunslinger in Red and Yellow. The Pats are the best (of the teams remaining) at Opponent’s Passing Yards per play, so if they disrupt Mahomes more than they did in the regular season, its SB53 bound. They were also the best in the league in the last four games of the year at total yards per play allowed.
- The Chiefs are terrible against Tight Ends, plain and simple. So here’s the biggest if of these reasons: IF Gronk is effective, he will be very effective. He had 3 receptions for 97 yards in the first bout, so if he can stretch the field and give Brady clean access to the slot and flat, the Pats will keep up with the Chiefs with ease.
- The Pats have to take away Damien Williams from the Chiefs and force Mahomes to play a complete game. They disrupted the run early last week and graded out at nearly an 87 for rush defense per PFF. They make this happen, and couple it with with points 1 and 2, and I see this game playing out closer but similar to last week against the Chargers.
- The Chiefs have been terrible against the run and even worse at giving up receiving yards and TDs to RBs. Brady will manage the game as the GOAT Vet he is and Michel and White will eat.
There ya have it, Constituents. Both 2 seeds are heading to ATL. Book it.
Go get it and enjoy Championship Sunday.
- Faderian, out.