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New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams Pick & Prediction DEC 10TH 2020

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Logo Los Angeles Rams

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The New England Patriots aim to complete a sweep of the tenants at SoFi Stadium on Thursday night when they visit the Los Angeles Rams.

The Patriots (6-6) enter the primetime showdown with four wins in their last five outings, including a convincing 45-0 victory over the Chargers in the same stadium on Sunday.

Coach Bill Belichick and team celebrated that triumph by staying in Los Angeles and working out at UCLA as opposed to making a pair of cross-country flights.

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While New England will see the Rams (8-4) for the first time since posting a 13-3 victory in Super Bowl LIII, Belichick is focusing his attention on the present: Specifically Los Angeles' third-ranked total offense (395.3 yards per game) and sixth-ranked passing offense (271.2).

The Patriots have the NFL's third-ranked rushing offense (150.9), however the Rams counter with Aaron Donald leading their second-ranked defense (291.3) and third-ranked rush defense (93.1).


"He's an outstanding player. He can wreck a game. There's no play he's not a factor on, he's right in the middle of the defense," Belichick said of the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who is tied for second in the league in sacks (11).

"You can't really get away from him on any run or pass play. You have to deal with him blocking on every play. He's definitely a major factor in the game."

Donald likely will have his eyes locked on Cam Newton, who accounted for three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) against the Chargers. Although Newton threw for just 69 yards, the former NFL MVP was not interested in tossing out any apologies for his performance.

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"I am not here to throw up this and throw up that, but however the game needs to be won, that is what I am willing to do," Newton said on WEEI Radio on Tuesday. "That's running the football, that's passing the football, and it's my job to protect the football and be efficient."

Newton (abdomen) joined cornerback J.C. Jackson (hip, knee) and special teams ace Matthew Slater (knee) among 14 players listed as limited in Tuesday's practice for the Patriots.

Although healthy, Los Angeles' Jared Goff likely had his ego bruised following recent criticism from coach Sean McVay. Goff, however, responded with one of his best performances of the season.

Goff completed 37 of 47 passes for 351 yards on Sunday as the Rams ascended to first place in the NFC West with a 38-28 victory over Arizona.

Those are some nice numbers for Goff, who wasn't as successful the last time he faced the Patriots. He completed 19 of 38 passes for 229 yards with an interception and four sacks in the Super Bowl loss two seasons ago.

With the teams renewing acquaintances on Sunday, McVay was asked if that game is still in his mind.

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"It's definitely something that's a big memory," McVay said. "You try to move on. It was a very humbling night for myself, but you can't dwell on it. It's about how you move forward, how you transition. But that's the biggest game I've ever been a part of as a coach. ... But that really doesn't have anything to do with how you move forward to the next season, or two years removed from that."

Rookie Cam Akers appears to have taken control of the backfield after rushing 21 times for 72 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals. Akers, however, was listed as a non-participant on Monday's estimated injury report and limited on Tuesday with an ailing shoulder.

Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown would receive more work in the backfield if Akers is unable to play.

We have the Rams winning and covering the point spread at home tonight.

--Field Level Media

New England Patriots
Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams Recap DEC 10TH 2020

After a scoreless first quarter, Stephen Gostkowski's 42-yard field goal with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter gave the New England Patriots a 3-0 lead against the listless Los Angeles Rams at halftime of Super Bowl LIII on Sunday in Atlanta.

The Rams punted on all six of their first-half possessions, picking up just two first downs. The NFL's No. 2 offense in both scoring and yards during the regular season, Los Angeles reached intermission with 57 total yards.

After missing from 46 yards in the opening quarter, Gostkowski converted his second attempt to cap a seven-play, 39-yard drive. The Patriots tallied 12 first downs and gained 195 yards in the half, as 41-year-old Tom Brady completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards with one interception. Julian Edelman had seven catches for 93 yards.

The Rams crossed midfield three times -- but only barely. They were stopped at the New England 49 once and the 47 twice, the second time with about four minutes left in the half. Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy sacked Jared Goff for a 14-yard loss on third-and-2 to force another Rams three-and-out.

Los Angeles star Todd Gurley started and rushed for 2 yards on the Rams' first play from scrimmage, but had only two more touches in the half. Dealing with knee inflammation, Gurley missed the last two regular-season games and had only five touches in the NFC Championship at New Orleans.

After the Rams won the coin toss and deferred, the Patriots opened the action with a 38-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson. Following four straight running plays, Brady was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the game. Cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman deflected a throw intended for Chris Hogan, and linebacker Cory Littleton cradled it before it hit the ground at the 27-yard line.

Los Angeles couldn't take advantage of the takeaway and gave it right back with a three-and-out.

Starting from its own 12, New England drove 60 yards in 11 plays but came up empty when Gostkowski's 46-yard attempt missed wide left. Patriots coach Bill Belichick used two timeouts on the drive, the second with 6:17 remaining in the first quarter. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had his first catch on the drive, a 19-yard gain that took the Pats into Rams territory.

The Rams crossed midfield on their second possession before Johnny Hekker came on to punt for the second time. L.A. tried to draw New England offsides on fourth-and-3 at the Patriots' 42-yard line with no luck, taking a delay of game penalty.

Despite getting inside the Rams' 35-yard line on each of their first two possessions, the Patriots failed to score a first-quarter touchdown for the ninth time in nine Brady-Belichick Super Bowl appearances. After a failure on fourth-and-1 late in the half, New England had just three points to show on four trips inside the Los Angeles 35.

New England's third possession stalled after John Franklin-Myers sacked and stripped Brady near midfield, with center David Andrews recovering the loose ball. It was the first sack allowed by the Patriots this postseason.

It was the ninth scoreless first quarter in Super Bowl history, with the Patriots now involved in five of them (they won the previous four).

--Field Level Media


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