Though the glory of New England's thrilling win over the Chiefs in the AFC title game will never really fade, it has become time to turn the analytical page toward the Patriots Super Bowl LIII opponent – the Los Angeles Rams.
The NFC champions are a young, talent-filled team with plenty of big-name players and very little big-game experience.
The Boston Globe offers up what to expect from the Rams defense and just how the Patriots should go about attacking the Aaron Donald-led unit. The Globe has first-year L.A. receiver Brandin Cooks talking about his lone season in New England, which included a trip to the Super Bowl a year ago. The Globe passes along Matthew Slater remembering the first Patriots-Rams Super Bowl in 2002, when the now-Pro Bowl special teamer had a different view of the matchup. Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy writes that the first Patriots-Rams battle in Super Bowl XXXVI was the one that started it all. The Globe notes that CBS analyst Tony Romo still sees the field as a quarterback as he prepares to call his first Super Bowl. The Globe says that offseason trade addition Trent Brown formed his own opinion of the Patriots. The Globe has details of the Patriots sendoff rally set for Sunday morning at Gillette Stadium.
The Boston Herald writes that New England's impressive offensive line is made up more of marathon men than true hogs. The Herald notes that Bill Belichick had plenty to say about the Rams impressive offense when the coach met with the media on Thursday. The Herald looks at how things have changed since the Patriots dynasty kicked off against the Rams in February 2002. The Herald declares that safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung will be key in stopping the Rams versatile scoring attack. The Herald observes that the connection between Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski is heating up at just the right time. The Herald notes that the Patriots have had perfect practice attendance during this Super Bowl bye week.
After a jocular press conference on Thursday, the Providence Journal writes that Gronkowski is suddenly more like his old self. The ProJo notes the Super Bowl experience is extra special for first time Patriots. The ProJo passes along word that Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea is the reported frontrunner to become the Dolphins offensive coordinator when New England linebackers coach Brian Flores takes over as Miami's head coach. The ProJo notes that Belichick once again called unique Rams punter Johnny Hekker a "weapon."
ESPN takes a look at some of the prop bets for Super Bowl LIII.
WEEI.com declares that the key matchup of the Super Bowl will be Brady vs. aged Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. WEEI.com writes about all the anti-Brady trolls out there and how they are winning the battle against Patriot Nation. WEEI.com looks at the strange story of Jets safety Jamaal Adams hitting New England's Pat Patriot mascot at Pro Bowl activities on Wednesday. WEEI.com notes what a difference a year makes for first-year Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty. WEEI.com has Gronkowksi saying that playing with Brady, "makes football the best it can possibly be." WEEI.com says that the Patriots aren't using last winter's Super Bowl loss as extra motivation this time around. WEEI.com notes that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones thinks that Julian Edelman did muff a punt in the AFC title game.
NBC Sports Boston writes that on Thursday Belichick marveled at Phillips' defense. NBC Sports Boston writes a sarcastic column saying the NFL should just "cut to the chase and ban the Patriots." NBC Sports Boston passes along Jerry Rice with some salty language praising Edelman. NBC Sports Boston has its version of the story of Adams' hit on Pat Patriot. NBC Sports Boston declares that the Patriots offense is built to impose its will against a lighter Rams defensive front. NBC Sports Boston has Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes relaying what Brady said to him after last week's game in Kansas City.
NFL.com has report on the NFL seeing a significant decline in concussions this season. NFL.com looks at Cooks intentionally dropping a pass before L.A.'s game-winning field goal in last week's controversial win in New Orleans. NFL.com offers up five ways the Patriots can win Super Bowl LIII.
NFL.com says that Patriots fullback James Develin is the most important back in the Super Bowl, a point that's hard to argue. "The league's second-most-used player at the position in terms of offensive snaps this season, James Develin has been absolutely instrumental in the run game, despite remaining an unsung hero of sorts."
NESN.com notes that the Patriots offensive line's athleticism surprises even Belichick.
The Palm Beach Post reports that O'Shea is expected to run the Dolphins offense in 2019.