Thanks to all who have been checking out my weekly NFL picks this season, and I’m just moments away from unveiling my official pick for Super Bowl 53. But before we get to that, let’s take a moment to talk about how this Super Bowl Sunday is completely jam-packed with Boston sports action.
I mean, seriously … (in my best Chandler Bing voice) … could there BE any more sports???
As if the Patriots playing in their third straight Super Bowl wasn’t enough for one day, the Celtics and Bruins are both playing early games the very same day. And they are both playing huge games against really good teams on national television. This is a humongous Sunday for Boston fans, one that will require about eight straight hours of being parked on the couch with eyes glued to the TV.
First, in the early afternoon, the Bruins (reeling from back-to-back OT defeats, but still in the midst of a pretty good season) are in Washington to take on the reigning Stanley Cup champions. The Capitals and Bruins are boasting almost identical records. Hey, this would be a pretty good day for David Pastrnak to complete that hat trick he almost had on Thursday against Philadelphia, am I right?
And then a little bit later in the afternoon, the Celtics are at home at the Garden to face the Oklahoma City Thunder, currently the No. 3 team in the Western Conference. With Kyrie Irving going against Russell Westbrook, this could be one of the biggest point guard duels of the season. And by pure coincidence, the Celtics and Thunder also have nearly identical records. How weird is that?
By Sunday night, we’re going to be completely wiped out (hopefully in a good way). Not only do Boston fans have to deal with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley in the evening, but we also have to survive Westbrook and Paul George in the afternoon. I recommend having plenty of beer on hand, because we might need it.
So just to sum up what’s happening in the Boston sports scene this Sunday: the Bruins play the defending champions, the Celtics play one of the NBA’s hottest teams in what could be a potential Finals matchup, and the Patriots play the terrifying Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Are we sure that’s enough for one day?
You know what? Just to top it off, I think we should try and convince the Red Sox to play a one-game playoff against the Yankees with the winner earning the rights to Bryce Harper.
And now, I present to you my final pick of the season … the official Super Bowl 53 prediction.
SUPER BOWL LIII: Mercedes-Benz Stadium — Atlanta, Georgia
New England Patriots (-2.5) vs. Los Angeles Rams
Goodness, how times have changed since the last time the Patriots and Rams met in the Super Bowl. Back then, it was the no-name Patriots as 14-point underdogs against “The Greatest Show on Turf.” And what was the result? Patriots 20, Rams 17.
Seventeen years later, it’s the dynasty Patriots as 2.5-point favorites against the best Rams team we’ve seen since the “Greatest Show” days. It’s literally a matchup of the past vs. the future.
And there are some really interesting connections here. Let’s look at a few points:
—It’s the greatest coach ever (Bill Belichick) at age 66 against a guy who could potentially someday be considered one of the greatest coaches ever (Sean McVay) at age 33 — exactly half Belichick’s age.
—It’s 41-year-old Tom Brady, who has won more Super Bowls than any quarterback in history with five, against 24-year-old Jared Goff, who might have a couple of rings himself in a few years. Brady was 24 years old when he won his first ring.
—The Patriots defeated the Rams in Super Bowl 36, and it jumpstarted the single greatest dynasty in NFL history. Five championships and nine Super Bowl appearances in 17 years. Now, the Rams have a chance to defeat the Patriots in Super Bowl 53, and potentially begin the NFL’s next great dynasty.
Am I sensing a little bit of irony here? It almost feels like a script written directly out of Hollywood.
But here’s the twist: Brady is far from ready to let another dynasty usurp the one he has built. Remember the absolute fire, determination, competiveness, will and spirit that he displayed against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game two weeks ago? You can expect to see more of the same against the Rams on Sunday.
Brady is well aware that the whole world is sick and tired of watching the Patriots in the Super Bowl. He knows it, and he loves it. I’ve been saying for two weeks that the game in Kansas City was arguably the most impressive win of his career because it was a game that, on paper, he had no business winning. And yet, he just simply REFUSED TO DIE. No matter how many knock down punches the Chiefs threw at him, he kept coming back, time and time again.
One of my favorite movie quotes of all time came from the late, great Tony Burton in “Rocky II.” While World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed was desperately trying to trash talk Rocky Balboa into a rematch for the title, Burton’s character (Apollo’s trainer) tried to warn him by saying, “I saw you beat that man like I never saw no man get beat before, and the man kept … coming … after you.”
That was Brady against the Chiefs. The Patriots kept getting knocked down, and Brady kept bringing them back until they finally won the game, 37-31, in overtime.
On Sunday, it’s the Rams’ turn to experience the exact same thing.
Prediction: Patriots 35, Rams 34
(BEAT LA! BEAT LA!)