Published: Jan. 31, 2019 at 08:57 a.m.
Updated: Feb. 1, 2019 at 08:10 p.m.

Super Bowl LIII analyst predictions: Patriots or Rams in Atlanta?

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Will Bill Belichick and Tom Brady avoid losing back-to-back Super Bowls, earning their sixth Lombardi Trophy? Can second-year head coach Sean McVay and his Rams bring a title back to Los Angeles? Which players will seize the spotlight shining on Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta? Our analysts provide their predictions for Super Bowl LIII.

New England Patriots 30, Los Angeles Rams 27

Why the Patriots will win: The Pats' offensive line will match up very well against the Rams' defensive front. That gives New England the opportunity to run the ball and win by shortening the game.

MVP: Sony Michel

Bold prediction: This will be the last game for Rob Gronkowski in a Patriots uniform.
Los Angeles Rams 28, New England Patriots 27

Why the Rams will win: The teams that traditionally have given Tom Brady fits in the Super Bowl possess a common trait: a strong defensive line. Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Dante Fowler Jr. will have similar success against him.

MVP: Jared Goff

Bold prediction: Rams cornerback Marcus Peters will intercept two passes in this game.
New England Patriots 30, Los Angeles Rams 27

Why the Patriots will win: First off, the Pats will control the ball with their power running game against the Rams' linebackers. They will also contain Sean McVay's offense by taking away Brandin Cooks deep with Stephon Gilmore, keeping defensive ends wide to eliminate bootleg plays and being disciplined in gaps against Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson.

MVP: Tom Brady

Bold prediction: No sacks for Aaron Donald.
Los Angeles Rams 38, New England Patriots 34

Why the Rams will win: My official game prediction will come Sunday morning, but until then ... In a back-and-forth affair, there will be a game-changing pressure on Tom Brady that will cause a late turnover.

MVP: Aaron Donald

Bold prediction: Todd Gurley rushes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
New England Patriots 27, Los Angeles Rams 24

Why the Patriots will win: It will be a hard-fought, close game, but Tom Brady is great in the moment and comes up big once again.

MVP: Sony Michel/ James White

Bold prediction: The Patriots have the game's leading receiver and rusher.
Los Angeles Rams 31, New England Patriots 28

Why the Rams will win: I nailed this prediction in the preseason, so I'm sticking with my original pick. Sean McVay out-schemes Bill Belichick for his first Lombardi.

MVP: Jared Goff

Bold prediction: After throwing a combined three picks on Championship Sunday, neither Tom Brady nor Jared Goff throw an interception.
Los Angeles Rams 27, New England Patriots 24

Why the Rams will win: Tom Brady and interior pressure aren't friends, and the Rams' pass rush makes sure it stays that way.

MVP: Aaron Donald

Bold prediction: Tom Brady throws two interceptions for the second time in a Super Bowl.
New England Patriots 31, Los Angeles Rams 27

Why the Patriots will win: It's utterly impossible to pick against the Patriots. After seeing how their offensive line has dominated, I think it can even handle the Rams. And a clean Brady is a deadly one.

MVP: Tom Brady

Bold prediction: The Patriots' defense holds the tandem of Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson under 100 yards.
New England Patriots 34, Los Angeles Rams 31

Why the Patriots will win: After 58 minutes dominated by two strong running attacks, a creative blitz by the Patriots will force Jared Goff into one huge mental mistake late on the final drive.

MVP: Tom Brady

Bold prediction: Rob Gronkowski scores two touchdowns in his final game.
Los Angeles Rams 34, New England Patriots 30

Why the Rams will win: Los Angeles brings its "A" game. Todd Gurley looks like Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald dominates and Sean McVay dazzles!

MVP: Aaron Donald

Bold prediction: "Greg the Leg" launches two 50-plus-yard field goals.
New England Patriots 33, Los Angeles Rams 27 (OT)

Why the Patriots will win: As the only NFL.com rep to pick the Pats in our preseason and midseason predictions, I'd be a fool and a coward to back down now. This one will follow the exact same script of both championship games: A dominant Pats first half, followed by a Rams resurgence in the final frame. Legatron bangs home a field goal with time expiring. New England wins the OT toss, drives down in, like, six plays to win, and we debate the OT rules for the ensuing seven months.

MVP: Tom Brady, Adonai, New England Patriots

Bold prediction: Trey Flowers has more sacks than Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh combined.
Los Angeles Rams 27, New England Patriots 24

Why the Rams will win: Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson run wild against the Patriots and combine for 175 rushing yards.

MVP: Jared Goff

Bold prediction: A late turnover by the Patriots sets up Los Angeles' game-winning drive.
Los Angeles Rams 37, New England Patriots 33

Why the Rams will win: It's clear in this game that youth beats wisdom.

MVP: Jared Goff

Bold prediction: Sean McVay's girlfriend, Veronika, will be trending by Monday.
New England Patriots 34, Los Angeles Rams 24

Why the Patriots will win: The Patriots peak at just the right time, riding into the Super Bowl on a wave of confidence. The Rams won't know what him 'em.

MVP: Tom Brady

Bold prediction: The Patriots' dink-and-dunk offense will drive Sean McVay and Wade Phillips mad. Brady will complete over 70 percent of his passes, and James White will surpass his 14-catch total from Super Bowl LI.
Los Angeles Rams 35, New England Patriots 24

Why the Rams will win: Motivated by a poor Championship Sunday performance, Todd Gurley returns to early-season form and comes up BIG in the Rams' passing game. He proves why he was in the MVP conversation for most of the year.

MVP: Jared Goff

Bold prediction: Jared Goff tosses five touchdown passes.
New England Patriots 30, Los Angeles Rams 27

Why the Patriots will win: New England will again play keep-away, winning time of possession by running away from Aaron Donald and targeting James White plenty. The Rams come close, but fall short of dethroning the team that makes appearances on this stage an annual tradition.

MVP: Tom Brady (though it should be one of the running backs)

Bold prediction: Todd Gurley doesn't break 75 yards rushing, and Los Angeles' offense suffers just enough to lose by three.
New England Patriots 28, Los Angeles Rams 14

Why the Patriots will win: Tom Brady and the Patriots are consistently great in crucial situations, and their experience proves valuable against a young Rams squad.

MVP: Tom Brady

Bold prediction: Brady has a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Los Angeles Rams 20, New England Patriots 17

Why the Rams will win: The Rams' pass rush will be too much for Tom Brady to overcome. Brady has yet to be sacked in the playoffs, but the Rams get to him three times in this game.

MVP: Jared Goff

Bold prediction: Greg Zuerlein hits another game-winning field goal.
New England Patriots 31, Los Angeles Rams 28

Why the Patriots will win: Tom Brady will get the ball last and author an epic drive to produce Stephen Gostkowski's game-winning field goal -- just like when Brady set up Adam Vinatieri the last time these teams played in the Super Bowl.

MVP: James White

Bold prediction: Brandin Cooks is the leading wide receiver in the game.
New England Patriots 38, Los Angeles Rams 31

Why the Patriots will win: It's hard to believe New England has been playing the underdog card during the playoffs, but here we are. Ultimately, the Patriots are a dynasty and have obviously been here before. The past experiences of playing in the biggest NFL game will help out tremendously against the up-and-coming Rams.

MVP: Tom Brady

Bold prediction: The Rams' defense, which struggled against the run during the regular season, turned it around in the playoffs by holding down the potent ground games of the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. But rookie running back Sony Michel will get his on Super Sunday, rushing for 100-plus yards and a touchdown -- while adding a touchdown through the air -- to help out the Patriots' winning cause.
Los Angeles Rams 29, New England Patriots 28

Why the Rams will win: This game comes down to O-line play and executing touchdown/scoring drives. No doubt Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T., and his O-line has been playing extremely well (just five sacks allowed since their Week 11 bye), but the Rams' -- and specifically, Aaron Donald's -- ability to generate interior pressure is the most elite we've seen in recent years. Their 17 percent interior-pressure rate paces the NFL (per Next Gen Stats) and projects to be a drive-stopping problem for the Pats.

MVP: Aaron Donald

Bold prediction: Josh Reynolds, especially on crossing routes, keeps the Rams' offense moving the sticks and scoring.
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