First Time Winners Celebrate in Super Bowl LVI
By Joe Quirk ’23
What a game. Super Bowl LVI was this past Sunday, Feb. 13 and really capped off a spectacular NFL regular and postseason. The game was played at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, CA, home to both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams during the regular season.
The Rams were always expected to be here. Head coach Sean McVay is one of the youngest coaches in the NFL and is heralded as an offensive genius. He has taken the Rams to the Super Bowl before, only to lose to the New England Patriots. But he and team general manager Les Snead would not be denied again. They went and got star power. They traded for stars such as quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions and pass-rusher Von Miller from the Denver Broncos, and signed wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when he was released from the Cleveland Browns. All of this added to a core that already featured top-tier talents such as Leonard Floyd, Aaron Donald, and Jalen Ramsey on defense and Cooper Kupp, Andrew Whitworth, and Robert Woods on offense.
The Bengals, on the other hand, had a miracle run to get here. Just a few years ago they had the worst record in the NFL and the first overall pick in the draft, selecting Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow.
Unfortunately, Burrow would suffer significant ligament damage to his knee midway through his rookie campaign and miss the remainder of the season. The Bengals finished last in their division again and used the fifth overall pick in the draft on LSU wide receiver and former teammate of Burrow’s, Ja’Marr Chase.
The rest of the Bengals group was slowly coming together. They had talented safeties but questionable corners. They had taken some fliers on the defensive and offensive line—only the defensive line panned out. The one undisputed fact was the skill position talent this team had. Chase joined a wide receiver room featuring promising young receivers such as Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and star running back Joe Mixon.
Both the Rams and the Bengals fought hard to win three games before reaching Super Bowl LVI. The Rams took care of business, winning two of their three games by only three points. The Bengals had some close finishes, including a field-goal in overtime against the defending Super Bowl Champion, the Kansas City Chiefs, to send them to the Super Bowl.
Now for the game itself; the scoring started early when Beckham Jr., who was resurrecting his career with these playoffs, caught a touchdown over the head of a Bengalscornerback.
The Bengals responded, getting rookie kicker Evan McPherson into range for a field goal to make it 7-3 Rams at the end of the first half. It was an exciting first half and looked to be a close game early on. Stafford and the Rams responded as best they could, and Stafford found Kupp for an eleven-yard touchdown in the second quarter. However, a fumbled snap led to a botched point-after-attempt, so the Rams only walked away with six.
Around this time, star wideout Beckham Jr. suffered a non-contact knee injury. The Bengals wanted to end the half only down three and dialed up a trick play where Mixon found Higgins in the endzone for six. Cincinnati was fired up for the second half, as Burrow hit Higgins for a 75-yard score on the first play. A Stafford interception led to another Bengals field goal. This gave the Bengals a seven-point lead, which was cut into later with a Matt Gay field goal for the Rams. Then, after a scoring drought in the fourth quarter, Stafford found Super Bowl MVP Kupp in the endzone for an 11-yard game winning score. The Rams were victorious, winning 23-20 and capping off a fantastic NFL season.
Who Will Win Super Bowl LVI?
Providence College Investigates
Will Murphy ’23
Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams are set to square off with the up-and-coming Cincinnati Bengals to decide a Super Bowl Champion, and the champion will be the Rams.
Both teams have put together impressive playoff runs, each winning three consecutive games to reach the Super Bowl. The Rams managed to build their team up into one of the top Super Bowl contenders prior to the season. They were able to re-up at the trade deadline, acquiring star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who has been one of the Rams’ most dangerous weapons down the stretch. In addition to Odell, the Rams also have Cooper Kupp, who has been one of the most productive wide receivers in the league this year.
Despite his recent struggles with turnovers, Matt Stafford is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the league, with the ability to push the ball down the field in a hurry. It will be key for Stafford to take care of the ball and avoid any critical mistakes. If he can do that, the Rams’ dominant defense is more than capable of slowing down the prolific offense of the Bengals.
The Bengals’ quarterback, Joe Burrow, has had a breakout year in his sophomore campaign, but his offense’s glaring weakness is their offensive line. Unfortunately for them, the Rams’ biggest strength defensively is their ability to get to the quarterback. Aaron Donald is widely considered the best pass rusher in the league, and if the Bengals are unable to slow him down, Burrow could be in for a long game. Alongside Donald is Von Miller, another trade deadline acquisition, who is more than capable of getting to the quarterback and forcing turnovers. All-pro cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, is another player with a great impact on the game. Jamarr Chase, the Bengals’ rookie wide receiver, has emerged as a star this year, but will draw an incredibly tough matchup in all-pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey’s physicality is unlike anything Chase has faced so far this year, and it could pose a serious problem for the Bengals’ offense if Chase struggles.
Overall, the Rams have a high-octane offense that the Bengals’ defense will struggle to contain. In addition to their powerful offense, the defense will be able to pressure Joe Burrow consistently enough to throw him off his game. The Rams’ overall wealth of talent should prove to be too much for the Bengals to overcome and ensure that the Rams wake up Monday morning as Super Bowl Champions.
Luke Sweeney ’24
This Sunday, two blazing hot teams will meet for the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA when the Cincinnati Bengals face off against the Los Angeles Rams. Unlike most years, both of these teams have had to play a wild card game at the beginning of their postseason campaigns. The Bengals have won six of their last seven games and are currently the high-powered offense that is being talked about around the league.
Led by the prophesied young Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow, the Bengals have been shocking the world recently with big postseason wins against the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and then the reigning American Football Conference (AFC) championship powerhouse, Kansas City Chiefs. Joe Burrow and the Bengals proved everyone wrong who thought that the Chiefs were an unstoppable force. In doing so, they have left their mark on the AFC as the new young team to beat for the coming years.
The National Football Conference (NFC) and AFC championship games two weeks ago left the world with their jaws open. The San Francisco 49ers and Chiefs, although coming up just short of a victory, showed that they have the tools on both offense and defense to win a Super Bowl. The weekend of championship football will go down in history as two of the most competitive and offensively explosive games ever played on the gridiron.
As for the Super Bowl between the Rams and Bengals, the Bengals are the younger and better of the two teams who will come up with the win. While the Rams have superstars such as Matt Stafford, Cooper Cupp, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsay, there is no group of players that can stop the well-rounded AFC powerhouse Bengals.
Joe Burrow and his number one target, Jamar Chase, have been unstoppable all season and the media is widely on their side. The deciding factor of this Super Bowl matchup is most likely going to be on the defensive side of the ball. It is no secret that both offenses have the ability to sling the ball down the field and hammer the run game when needed. That being said, whoever makes the biggest plays on defense will be the ones to hoist the Lombardi Trophy and bring it home to their respective cities.
The question, though, still remains: does a young Joe Burrow have the NFL-caliber skills and poise in the pocket to perform on a stage as big as the Super Bowl? We have all seen what he is capable of, but only time will tell.
PCI: Who Will Win Super Bowl LV?
Providence College Investigates
Kansas City Chiefs
By Joseph Quirk ’23
Simply put, who will win this season’s Super Bowl should not even be a question. As much as one has to respect Tom Brady and what he has been able to accomplish, this is Patrick Mahomes’s time. Indeed, Brady will be reaching a remarkable 10th Super Bowl, a feat that is hard to even fathom. It is made more impressive when you consider that this is his very first year on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the debate should be about who is the best team: a debate that Kansas City wins.
Their advantage starts on special teams, a part of the game that is not glamorous, but is important, especially in the playoffs. Ryan Succop is the placekicker for the Bucs, and he is not terrible by any means. But compared to Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker, he is severely outmatched. Since entering the league, Butker has been among the league’s best kickers, and has experience kicking in the biggest moments. He has proven to be accurate and powerful, and his kickoff abilities should give the Bucs trouble.
Steve Spagnuolo, the defensive coordinator for the Chiefs, gives the Chiefs another major advantage. Spagnuolo has experience dealing with Brady in the Super Bowl as he led the 2007 New York Giants defense which famously stopped Brady’s Patriots from having a perfect season. His defense now features high-energy and versatile weaponry with the likes of Tyrann Mathieu. Mathieu leads a Chiefs’ secondary that is far stronger than their Buccaneers counterparts. This was proven in their last regular season matchup.
It bears mentioning that Tampa Bay has a much better front seven than the Chiefs: Vita Vea, linebacker Devin White, and Pro Bowler Jason-Pierre Paul form a formidable trio for Tampa. However, Kansas City’s tandem of Frank Clark and Chris Jones is also very disruptive and works well with the Chiefs’ stronger secondary.
However, the real reason the Chiefs will win is because their offense is far superior to the Bucs. Although the Buccaneers have a very good duo in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans at receiver, other weapons like Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown are at the tail end of their careers. Meanwhile, the Chiefs feature a stronger and more mobile quarterback, a system that fits its players perfectly, a game-breaking tight end in Travis Kelce, and a trio of speedy wideouts led by Tyreek Hill.
One final point worth noting is Kansas City’s coaching advantage. While both coaches are experienced, Andy Reid proved last season that he may very well be the best coach in the league. All of these factors combined make it all but certain that the Chiefs will be crowned the champions of Super Bowl LV.
by Cam Smith ’21
All eyes will be on star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. However, it will be the performances of other players that will ultimately determine the outcome. Specifically, the play of the Tampa Bay defense and Tampa running back Leonard Fournette will propel the Buccaneers to their second Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
The two teams last met in Week 12, when the Chiefs knocked off the Bucs 27-24. Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill torched the Tampa defense to the tune of 269 yards and three touchdowns. Following that embarrassing showing, the Bucs worked hard during their Week 13 bye to address their issues with the deep ball.
Following the bye week, the Bucs have played 2-man coverage for 18.1% of all defensive possessions, compared to just 4.8% in weeks 1–12. This increase in 2-man coverage will provide a challenge to Hill, as it allows for the cornerbacks to play more aggressively while also protecting against the deep ball with two safeties over the top. So too does it target Mahomes’s potential weakness, as the Kansas City quarterback’s 53.6% completion rate against the 2-man was his lowest rate against any type of pass defense in 2020.
Tampa’s run defense, on the other hand, is one area that has refused to show any flaws all season. Coming into the Super Bowl, the Bucs have the league’s number one rush defense. In the Week 12 matchup, they limited the Kansas City backs to just 59 yards on 16 rushing attempts.
This trend will likely continue into the Super Bowl matchup, as the Chiefs suffered a brutal loss when left tackle Eric Fisher went down with an Achilles injury in the AFC Championship game. The Chiefs are also expected to be without right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, leaving two gaping holes in the line for the talented Tampa run defenders to take advantage of.
On the other side of the ball, Fournette has flourished since the start of the playoffs following an inconsistent regular season. Coming into the Super Bowl, the Tampa running back leads all players with 313 postseason yards from scrimmage. With a Chiefs defense potentially spread thin defending one of the best receiving corps in the game, Fournette should have plenty of room to continue his dominant run.
Indeed, with Tom Brady at the helm, the Bucs’ offense will remain effective, but it will be the Tampa Bay defense that brings home the trophy. Limiting big plays from perhaps the best offensive trio in the game in Mahomes, Hill, and tight end Travis Kelce will not be easy, but the surging Bucs defense might just have what it takes.
Super Bowl LIV: A PC Perspective
by Will Devaney ’23
The Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl in a 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday after a stunning second half comeback. 24 year-old quarterback Patrick Mahomes was named Super Bowl MVP for his late game heroics that earned the Chiefs their first ever Lombardi Trophy.
The 49ers struck first with a field goal early in the first quarter, but the Chiefs responded with a one-yard touchdown to give them a 7-3 lead to end the first quarter. The second half began with lockdown defense from the 49ers. With some seemingly unending pressure from the 49ers defensive line, combined with Jimmy Garoppolo’s solid passing game, San Francisco began to shut down the Chiefs, leading them 20-10 at the end of the third quarter.
With the game on his shoulders, Patrick Mahomes threw for 138 yards and two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter alone, leading the Chiefs to a 31-20 victory.
Far away from the action in Miami, Providence College students got to enjoy the big game at McPhail’s Super Bowl Game Watch. The event was hosted by the Office of Student Activities and Cultural Programming (OSA-CP).
Students had the chance to win gift cards through picking squares, as well as enjoy complimentary pizza and wings. The game itself was entertaining and memorable, but for many here at PC, Super Bowl Sunday just did not feel the same without some familiar faces on the gridiron.
The New England Patriots’ rare absence from the championship game was a hard pill to swallow for the large New England fanbase at PC. “It just doesn’t feel right, you know?” said New Hampshire native Jared Burns ‘23. “Tom should be out there, Jules should be out there, It doesn’t feel right.”
With the Patriots out of contention, New England fans were faced with a decision that they are not used to making: who to cheer for. A common answer was the 49ers. The logic behind this choice had a lot to do with the man under center for San Francisco.
Garoppolo spent his first three seasons with the Patriots, playing as backup for Tom Brady until he took the starting job as quarterback for the 49ers in 2017. Many New England students wanted to see just how much the “Baby Goat” learned from the six-time Super Bowl champion during his time with the Pats.
Those from outside the New England fanbase held similar views. Brian Cantin ’23 of California said, “Probably the 49ers because they’re in California, I didn’t care that much though.”
Some other non-Patriots fans wanted the Chiefs to win, particularly those with longstanding grudges against anything Patriots- related.
Despite the seemingly awkward absence of Tom Brady and the Patriots from February football, the PC community was still able to share food and fun on Super Bowl Sunday.
Young QBs Face-off in Super Bowl
Mahomes and Garoppolo Clash in Biggest Game of The Year
By Sullivan Burgess ’20
On Sunday, February 2, Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers will face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in Miami, FL. This is a matchup that analysists predicted on paper, however did not quite expect to happen due to the talent from other teams like the Baltimore Ravens, who have MVP candidate Lamar Jackson.
This season, the Chiefs dominated the AFC West Division with a 12-4 record, while the 49ers owned the NFC West with a 13-3 record. The Chiefs came from behind to pull out a 35-24 victory against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Conference Championship, after the Titans had a unpredictable run to get to the game. The 49ers cruised over the Green Bay Packers 37-20 in the NFC Championship game. This will be the first Super Bowl appearance for the Chiefs since 1969 and the 49ers since 2012.
The Chiefs are led by Andy Reid, the head coach since 2013, while the 49ers are led by Kyle Shanahan, only in his third season, both itching to receive their first Super Bowl ring as a head coach.
The big story coming into this game is the huge matchup between the two previously mentioned quarterbacks, Garoppolo and Mahomes. Both quarterbacks are on their second full season of starting with incredible stories surrounding how they found their way into the big game.
Garoppolo was originally a second-round pick in 2014, and served as the backup for veteran Tom Brady in New England for three years, where he briefly started and went 2-0 in the 2016 season during Brady’s suspension.
Traded to the 49ers in 2017, Garoppolo was ready to lead a team on his own.
Sadly, at the beginning of the 2018 season, he suffered a torn ACL three games in. Yet he looks at that season as if it was a “blessing in disguise,” since it allowed the 49ers to acquire defensive end Nick Bosa in the 2019 NFL Draft. As the ultimate favorites throughout the season, the 49ers found their stride, as Garoppolo threw a 69.1 percent completion rate with 27 touchdowns.
Next, we look at the NFL’s reigning MVP Mahomes II, the tenth pick in the 2017 draft, that started for the first-time last season after sitting for a full season behind Alex Smith. Seizing the new opportunity, he finished with 50 touchdowns as a first-time starter and won the MVP award. The stakes were high for Mahomes this season, and he was certainly ready to deliver for not only himself after his loss to the Patriots in last year’s AFC championship, but also for the fans of Kansas City.
Mahomes’s father, former NY Met, Patrick Mahomes Sr. stated in a recent article for the Daily News, “We always had a mantra. The thing I always said to him was ‘Players make plays.’ He does whatever he can to make a play and that is refreshing in itself.”
Mahomes finished this season with 26 touchdowns with 4,031 yards and a 65.9 percent completion rate, solidifying himself as a top five quarterback in the league.
In the end it all comes down to this last game, a game that will test the skills of both players, as Garoppolo looks to find his first Super Bowl ring as a starter, third overall, while Mahomes looks to begin his Hall of Fame career with his first Super Bowl, the answer will come on Sunday.
PCI: Who Will Win Super Bowl LIV?
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers: a matchup of two of the most consistent teams this season. The team that will be coming out victorious on Sunday will be the Kansas City Chiefs.
It has been 50 years since the Chiefs have made it to the Super Bowl. This has been a long time coming for Kansas City fans and they will be even happier soon. Make no mistake, the 49ers are a great football team with an outstanding running game and a defensive line that will hit you in the face every single snap. However, they do not have that “it” factor the Chiefs have, and that has a lot to do with a man named Patrick Mahomes.
The quarterback out of Texas Tech University has set the league on fire ever since he took the starting role in Kansas City. He has not put up numbers like he did in his MVP season last year, but he is thrown for 4,031 yards with 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions, while also posting the second best QBR (total quarterback ranking) at 76.3.
Needless to say, he has done all of this after coming back from a dislocated kneecap midseason. Mahomes is built for the big stage and he will be excited as ever to show everyone why he deserves to be called one of, if not the best, quarterback in football this season.
There are also some explosive players surrounding Mahomes on offense.
No lead is safe with the Chiefs. Kansas City’s high-powered offense has three Pro Bowlers: Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Mecole Hardman. They also have the down field threat and speedster Sammy Watkins. It is too much power for a very good San Francisco defense to contain.
The flip side of the ball will be the difference maker for the Chiefs. Their defense has been on a steady rise for most of the season and is peaking at the right time thanks to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who knows a thing or two about winning a championship as a defensive coordinator having won Super Bowl XLII with the New York Giants. The Chiefs secondary has been totally revamped compared to last season and safety Tyrann Mathieu has been a leader. The rush defense for the Chiefs is going to have to step up big if the Chiefs want to host the Lombardi Trophy, but with the massive momentum they have created over the past couple of weeks and an offense averaging 43 points per game this postseason, the Kansas City Chiefs will be crowned Super Bowl Champions.
– Liam Tormey ’22
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are primed to win this year’s Super Bowl, coming off of a dominant playoff performance and a remarkably successful regular season. They will face off on the second of February in Miami with the AFC Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 49ers have solidified themselves as a run-first offense from the onset of the season, with the combined forces of Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman, and Deebo Samuel.
Recording an impressive 2,305 rushing yards as a team, as well as averaging 4.6 yards per carry, the 49ers have worn out defenses with their massive volume of rushing attempts. This enabled Jimmy Garoppolo to take the occasional deep looks to their star tight end, George Kittle, who led the team’s receiving corp, recording 1,053 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season. This explosive offense, implemented by Kyle Shanahan, led the 49ers to an impressive 8-0 start to the season, before a crushing loss to the Seahawks in overtime.
However, the story of the 2019-2020 49ers has not been the success of the offense, but rather their defense. The statistics speak for themselves: first in scoring defense with 15.3 points allowed per game, third in forced fumbles with 12, ninth in interceptions with 12, 10th in sacks with 23, and first in rushing defense with only 73.2 yards allowed per game.
Their defense is somehow just as star-studded as their offense from Richard Sherman to Arik Armstead and the astonishing rookie, Nick Bosa. Unfortunately, the stats simply do not do Nick Bosa’s performance justice. This is not to say that nine sacks in the regular season for a rookie defensive end is not special, but the most impressive aspect of Bosa’s game is the immense pressure he can put on quarterbacks. Combining his 6-foot-four-inch and 266-pound frame with a 4.79 second 40-yard dash will prove to be a major problem for the Chiefs’ offensive line.
Come Super Bowl Sunday, expect both teams to test their opponents’ defensive backfield, as it is likely the weakest point for each team. This applies particularly to the Chiefs, who will almost certainly struggle to move the ball on the ground against the iron-clad 49ers defensive line. Regardless, this will prove to be a shootout between two talented and young quarterbacks, with possibly the two most explosive offenses currently in the NFL.
– Gavin Woods ’22
Providence College Investigates
The New England Patriots Will Win Super Bowl LIII
By Liza Sisk ’19
In signature New England Patriots fashion, a nerve-wracking, gut-wrenching birth into Super Bowl LIII was earned on Sunday, January 20. Their triumphant defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs marked their third consecutive American Football Conference (AFC) championship. An overtime victory kept fans holding their breath for the entirety of the second half. We are living during a time of a New England Patriots dynasty and the Super Bowl is theirs for the taking. They will face the Los Angeles Rams on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Despite starting the season with a 2-1 record, the Patriots were able to turn things around and dominate the regular season ending the year with an 11-5 record, blowing the rest of the AFC East out of the water. There is no doubt that much of this success can be attributed to the managerial leadership of head coach Bill Belichick and the on-field leadership of quarterback Tom Brady. Together they have built a legacy racking up five Super Bowl wins and eight Super Bowl berths. Their accolades alone, three Coach of the Year awards and four Super Bowl MVP awards, respectively, speak for themselves. This dynamic duo separates the Patriots from every other team in the National Football League (NFL).
The tenacity of Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski will contribute greatly to a Patriots win on Feb. 3. Gronkowski’s ability to assume a unique role on the team game to game is especially key. He is able to channel his brute force and strength to serve as a blocker in one play and then showcase his athleticism and hands catching anything Brady throws his way. Gronkowski was an incredibly valuable player in the Patriot’s victory against the Chiefs. Recorded by Kevin Patra, writer for the NFL, Brady commends Gronkowski for “[catching] the fade on Eric (Berry) and then [catching] the slant (NFL).” With the Lombardi Trophy up for the taking, there is no doubt that Gronkowski will perform in February.
The list of athletes on the Patriots that contribute significantly to their success is not short. Wide receiver Julian Edelman was an essential component to their victory over the Chiefs; however, the leadership from rookie Sony Michel proved the Patriots talent runs deep. Michel executed a 10-yard rush for a touchdown and his five postseason rushing touchdowns has distinguished him in the rookie class.
After defying the odds and persevering through overtime against the Chiefs, the Patriots will be victorious come Super Bowl Sunday.
Providence College Investigates
The Los Angeles Rams Will Win Super Bowl LIII
By Sullivan Burgess ’20
After defeating the New Orleans Saints and a controversial missed pass interference call late in the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Rams will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. This will be the first Rams appearance in the Super Bowl since 2002, when they also played the Patriots.
While the New England Patriots have been on a hot streak since entering the playoffs, the game will ultimately go to the Rams.
Two key aspects that will help lead the Rams to victory are their consistent offense and defense—aspects that 33-year-old head coach Sean McVay knows how to control within any game.
On the offensive side, third-year quarterback Jared Goff is looking to make a name for himself after being drafted first overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.
This season Goff has career-high stats throughout all categories, with 32 touchdowns, a 64.9 percnt completion rate, and a total of 4,688 passing yards, putting him fourth for highest passing yards during the regular season behind Ben Roethlisberger, Patrick Mahomes, and Matt Ryan.
Rams running back Todd Gurley has also been having a good season with 1,251 yards, putting him third in rushing yards. He proves to be the difference-maker when he is healthy and on the field for the Rams. For example, in a game against the Denver Broncos, Gurley completed the game with 208 yards, two touchdowns, and 28 carries which resulted in a win. Against the Chicago Bears, he only completed 11 carries and 28 yards with no touchdowns, which resulted in a loss for the Rams.
On the defensive side, starters such as Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, and Marcus Peters must put on the games of their career in order to stop Tom Brady and his offensive weapons.
Aaron Donald has proven to be a defensive nightmare against any quarterback that steps in his way. He led the league at 20.5 sacks this season and is still hungry for anyone that comes in front of him.
Overall, the game will be tough, being against the veteran team that is the New England Patriots. Hopefully, the Rams will bring the consistent game play they have used throughout the season. They will be the dominant team in the NFC and will be holding the Lombardi Trophy in Atlanta at the end of the night.
Providence College Investigtes
The New Orleans Saints Will Win Super Bowl LIII
By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
Football is officially back and Atlanta’s newly built Mercedes Benz Dome will play host to Super Bowl LIII and the New Orleans Saints will walk out with a win come Super Bowl Sunday in February.
This will be the franchise’s second Lombardi trophy; their first Super Bowl win was in 2010 when the Saints defeated Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts 31-17. They were led by Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees and a lockdown secondary that could have rivaled the Legion of Boom in Seattle.
What’s different? The Saints may have a better team now than they did in 2010 and this may be the best team that Sean Peyton has had in his tenure as head coach. The Saints were bounced out of the playoffs in the divisional round against the Vikings after a last second 61-yard touchdown sealed the Saints’ fate.
It is a new season for the Saints and the team brings back plenty of experienced players. On the offensive side, Drew Brees will enter his 13th season in New Orleans where he threw for only 23 TDs and eight interceptions last year. The last time Brees failed to throw over 30 touchdown passes was all the way back in 2007.
Why a decline from Brees in the touchdown category? Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are the answer, some consider them to be the best tag-team duo in the NFL. Kamara coming off a rookie campaign where he ran for 728 yards and eight TDs while collecting Pro Bowl and Rookie of the Year honors.
Kamara looks to build off his outstanding rookie season while WR Michael Thomas is one of the most under-the-radar receivers in the league. He should be considered an “elite” receiver after he hauled in 196 catches in his first two NFL seasons, which is an NFL record. Thomas will continue to blossom while the speedy Ted Ginn Jr. can still be considered a deep ball threat for this potent offense.
Defensively, the Saints are looking better than ever, the only concern being the linebacker position. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore finished his rookie campaign with five interceptions while accumulating a well-deserved Pro Bowl pick. Experts say he could turn into into one of the best corners in the league.
Safety Marcus Williams, who was remembered for the missed tackle he had on Vikings WR Stefon Diggs in the NFC Divisional game, also had a stellar rookie season where he started 15 games and had four interceptions.
In the off-season, Williams has received a lot of praise; he was even compared to Ed Reed, the former safety for the Ravens.
In the trenches on the defensive line, Cameron Jordan participated in his third Pro Bowl last season after he had a career high in sacks with 13.
The Saints have a chance to get back to the Super Bowl, especially with the explosive combination of Brees, Kamara, and Thomas, which should make Sundays fun to watch. It is all going to come down to the defense; however, there is nobody better in the business than Sean Payton.
Providence College Investigates
The Los Angeles Rams Will Win Super Bowl LIII
By Sam Scanlon ’19
As week one has concluded for the 2018-2019 NFL season, Super Bowl LIII predictions are a popular topic of discussion. My prediction: the Los Angeles Rams.
The defending NFC West Champions enter this season coming off an 11-5 record in their 2017 campaign, but have added several key players to this year’s roster that complement their current playmakers.
The Rams boast the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year in running back Todd Gurley. Gurley finished the season with 1,305 rushing yards while leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 2,093 and touchdowns at 19. His ability to find the end zone and create positive yardage gives the Rams the edge they will need to hoist the Lombardi Trophy come February.
Leading the offense, however, is 2016 first overall pick, Jared Goff. The 6’4” 222 pound quarterback had an excellent sophomore season as he threw 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns. Goff is emerging as one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, which is imperative for a Super Bowl contender. Look for Goff to exceed last year’s numbers and lead his team to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII.
A huge reason Goff is expected to have another successful year is because of his speedy and talented receiving core. Brandin Cooks was an exceptional offseason acquisition for the Rams as he gives Goff more depth at wide receiver. Cooks is a deep threat receiver who has an unbelievable ability to create separation for big time plays. He excelled last season in New England and played a large role in getting them to the Super Bowl.
Along with the Offensive Player of the Year in Gurley, Aaron Donald, the Rams’ top pass rusher, was named Defensive Player of the Year. He is one of the most dynamic players in all of football as he finished last season with 11 sacks and five forced fumbles.
To compliment Donald’s ferociousness up front, the Rams acquired Ndamukong Suh, who is perhaps one of the most aggressive defensive linemen in the NFL. The two of them will certainly wreak havoc on opposing offenses all season.
Finally, as if the Rams had any holes in their roster, they have added two of the NFL’s top defensive backs: Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib in their lineup. With quarterbacks already fearing the defensive line, this Los Angeles secondary is going to make quarterbacking a nightmare for opposing teams.
With all key components of their roster seemingly filled with top players, the Rams are bound to make quite the run this season. Do not be surprised when this talented group is crowned Super Bowl LIII Champions.