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WCG picks Super Bowl LIII and Open Thread

It’s the Patriots and Rams for all the marbles. Here’s how WCG sees Super Bowl Sunday shaking out.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

EDIT: Have fun and be safe today on this national holiday for us football fans! The 2018 season may be almost over, but with free agency and the draft coming up we’ll still have plenty of Chicago Bears news to keep you satisfied until OTAs and minicamps get started.

There is no offseason for Windy City Gridiron!

Be sure to check out all our Super Bowl predictions below that Robert compiled for us, and since recycling is good, this is now our official Open Thread to talk about the Super Bowl.

While you’re here be sure to vote in our special Sunday poll.


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Before the handwringing and over-analysis of draft prospects begins in earnest, there’s one more game to play in the 2018 NFL season. We are officially 3.5 hours away from putting 20-22-year-old amateurs through a ringer that contradicts itself regularly. Aren’t you excited?!

That game is none other than Super Bowl LIII between the Rams and Patriots. Can’t you feel the hype? I can barely sit still. There are so many fascinating storylines to sort through, I have found it incredibly overwhelming.

For one, did you know Sean McVay is young? Well, he is! And whoa, he’s coaching in the Super Bowl? He’s 33-years-old! Wow, Tom Brady is older than the head coach of the opposing team. McVay is so young. How does anyone become a good NFL head coach when they’re that young?

Also, did you know Rob Gronkowski likes to party and have fun? Well, he does. It’s just Gronk being Gronk! This is the first time I’ve ever heard of such a thing. A football player that likes to party and have fun? Stupendous.

How about the fact that nobody believes in the Patriots, a team that will have appeared in more Super Bowls (9) than road playoff games (8) in the last 17 years by Sunday? They are underdogs that are “still here!” or something like that. I, for one, can’t believe that nobody believes in them. What media bias! Rudy Ruettiger and Rocky Balboa are angry over the fact that these Patriots have stolen their underdog thunder.

There’s so much intrigue and next level drama to this game, I can’t get over it.

NFL Football No. 1, baby.

Here’s how the Windy City Gridiron staff sees Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta playing out.

Robert Zeglinski: Patriots 30, Rams 24

Bill Belichick with two weeks to game-plan for Jared Goff and a Rams offense that isn’t that complex? Hmm, that doesn’t sound good. Unless Aaron Donald takes out an Infinity Gauntlet, the Patriots cruise to their sixth Super Bowl title.

For the record: Sean McVay is young, nobody believed the Patriots could do it, and Rob Gronkowski likes to party.

Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.: Rams 27, Patriots 24

Belichick is a legendary genius, but McVay is a burgeoning one. We’ve seen the Rams morph into what they need to in order to move the ball on offense, so what will Belichick take away? If the game-plan is to get after Goff, then McVay might run the ball 40 times. If New England tries to slow down the running game, then Goff will utilize his two 1,200 yard receivers. We’ve seen the ideal game-plan to shut the Rams’ offense completely down, but the Patriots don’t have the Bears’ defense.

Jeff Berckes: Patriots 34, Rams 23

The one unifying theme of all Patriots Super Bowls under Belichick is close scores. There are good reasons for this, mostly that the Belichick game-plans and superior coaching adjustments make up for a difference in elite talent level versus the NFC team. I think the Patriots finally win one of these things by two scores because I don’t believe in Goff or in McVay’s ability to make changes at halftime.

Bold prediction: Belichick retires with the win.

Jack Silverstein: Patriots 30, Rams 27

Brady looked more excited to reach his ninth Super Bowl than some people look to reach their first. Brady has led what I consider nine “super clutch” Super Bowl drives: the winners against the Rams, Panthers, Seahawks, and Falcons; the go-ahead against the Giants with 16-0 on the line; the second to last touchdown drive against the Seahawks; and the final three touchdown drives against the Falcons.

I can’t see this guy losing Super Bowls in consecutive seasons. Game-winning, go-ahead touchdown with 2:06 remaining to Julian Edelman.

Jacob Infante: Patriots 27, Rams 22

I made the mistake of betting against the Patriots in the WCG playoff roundtable, and I don’t want to make that mistake again. While the Rams have more star power, the Patriots are the best-coached team in the league and have plenty of experience in big-game situations. Brady further cements his status as the greatest of all time by winning his sixth Super Bowl in a chess match.

Josh Sunderbruch: Patriots 31, Rams 24

Despite everything the NFL has done to favor offenses with its rules changes, and despite the talent on the Rams, nobody exploits situational football better than the Patriots. I think the game is pretty one-sided with the score only close because of a doomed come back effort late, with some headscratcher calls to help.

Sam Householder: Patriots 34, Rams 30

It’s so hard to pick against the Patriots because of Belichick and Brady. While the Rams defense has picked up of late, I’m not sure they have enough to slow down the methodical Brady. Brady was sacked 21 times during the season, a testament to their offensive line. That ability to keep him clean, even against Aaron Donald will be crucial.

However, the Pats have given up some points and so I think this turns into a shootout, even if the Rams start slow. Belichick and Brady get their sixth ring together.

Robert Schmitz: Patriots 31, Rams 21

Despite any early excitement, big plays, or late heroics the Rams may have in them, I believe Belichick will hold his team steady through the waves and guide them to their sixth Super Bowl win under his command.

Patti Curl: Rams 31, Patriots 24

The Patriots are better coached, but the Rams have the better roster. The most effective way to pressure Brady is up the middle, and Donald is poised to put a cherry on top of the best interior pass rushing season in history.

WhiskeyRanger: Patriots 24, Rams 21

The Rams are a good, but flawed team, and The Hoodie likely has them more or less figured. That said, I’d expect McVay and company to counter late and make a run. But I also expect them to ultimately come up short in the end, losing by three.

ECD: Rams 27, Patriots 24

This will be a generational clash like none we’ve ever seen before. McVay will eventually crack the code on Belichick during the game, and Goff will do enough to get the Rams into position for the game-winning field goal in overtime.

Ken Mitchell: Patriots 34, Rams 17

I’m not sold either on the Rams defense being able to stop Brady or on Goff’s ability to read the New England defense. Goff’s reads depend a lot on what comes in his ears from McVay in the first part of the play clock when the headset is still live. I expect the Patriots to throw in a lot of late shifts to confuse Goff, leading to both sacks and interceptions. Darth Hoodie never misses a trick like this.

For the Rams to have any chance, they must be able to run the ball, limit turnovers, and Donald has to own his side of the ball.

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WCG Contributors: Jeff Berckes; Patti Curl; Eric Christopher Duerrwaechter; Kev H; Sam Householder; Jacob Infante; Aaron Lemming; Ken Mitchell; Robert Schmitz; Steven Schweickert; Jack Silverstein; EJ Snyder; Lester A. Wiltfong, Jr.; Whiskey Ranger; Robert Zeglinski; Like us on Facebook.