Super Bowl Recap
The Pats didn't exactly light up the scoreboard as they did in previous playoff wins this year against the Los Angeles Chargers (a 41-28 win/cover) and the Kansas City Chiefs (a dramatic 37-31 overtime win as 3.5-point underdogs) - they had one snap in the red zone and scored a touchdown on that one single, solitary snap - but that was one masterful defensive showing against an oft-clueless Rams QB Jared Goff who was not exactly helped by rotten field position right throughout Super Bowl 53.
The proverbial bottom line is this was a 3-3 game with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game when Patriots' QB Tom Brady orchestrated an uber-efficient 5-play / 69-yard touchdown and that was the diff: Brady to TE Rob Gronkowski completion for 18 yards; Brady to MVP wide receiver Julian Edelman for 13 yards; Brady to RB Rex Burkhead for 7 yards; Brady to Gronkowski for 29 yards (the sweetest pass in the game); and then a two-yard touchdown run by RB Sony Michel.
It was Brady (262 yards passing with 0 TDs / 1 INT) at his best on a night when he wasn't always so good - but it was Goff throwing too late for back-in-the-end-zone WR Brandin Cooks and later there was Cooks playing dropsy with a beautiful Goff aerial that should have knotted the game at 10 apiece. Instead, the 27-yard spiral was incomplete and the pick by Pats' CB Stephon Gilmore invariably made it game/set/match.
You may have known that New England entered SB 53 at 5-3 SU (straight-up) but just 3-5 ATS (against the spread) in prior Super Bowls under head coach Bill Belichick and the aforementioned Brady but can we remind y'all that the Patriots have sported winning / or at least .500 spread seasons for the last dozen years in a row now.
SUPER BOWL LIII
NEW ENGLAND 13, LOS ANGELES RAMS 3 - Just consider that last year there were 74 points scored in Philadelphia's epic Super Bowl victory against the then 4.5-point favored Patriots ... yes, one of the easiest "overs" ever ... and New England's 33 points were not enough to get mission accomplished. This year, one touchdown and a pair of PK Stephen Gostkowski FGs were enough to slam the lid on the franchise's sixth Super Bowl crown, thus tying the Pats with the Pittsburgh Steelers who have not won a Super Bowl since 2008.
Yes, maybe the easiest "under" winner in creation.
The Pats covered their final four games this year including these three post-season tilts and - believe it or not - New England now owns a ridiculous 10-3 ATS mark in post-season games since a non-cover AFC Divisional playoff win against Baltimore back in 2014 (that's a .769 winning rate for these 13 games) and overall Belichick is 197-138-9 ATS all-time as the Pats' coach ... a wow-like .588 winning rate.
Hats off to a New England secondary that deserves an "A+" grade, an offensive line that deserves an "A" and then there was Edelman (10 catches for 141 yards) who wound up an easy MVP choice.
The Rams? Goff was terrible, RB Todd Gurley (10 carries for 35 yards) invisible again and the Rams' O-line just didn't grant Goff enough time to get comfy. Maybe next year.
2019 NFL ODDS TO WIN IT ALL
Guess the oddsmakers out there just never learn! The early-bird Odds to Win it All for the 2019 NFL Season are out and the now-defending champion New England Patriots are listed at 10-to-1 - so that means the Kansas City Chiefs (7-to-1), the Los Angeles Rams (8-to-1) and New Orleans Saints (also 8-to-1) are all shorter-priced favs to snag Super Bowl 54.
Okay, so the Pats did open this year at 6-to-1 - the shortest-priced team out there at season's start - so the Las Vegas folks did "get it right" this year but guess there's some doubting of Belichick/Brady next year and we say proceed at your own risk. Right? If you're looking for a dark horse team to win the next Super Bowl, we say consider a pair of AFC South squads - the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts are 25-to-1 each - as long as their QBs stay in one piece.