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Thought 1. The Rams need a steady & consistent interior pass rush
Nobody pressures Brady from the perimeter because no quarterback in the history of the league is more comfortable stepping up quickly in the pocket and delivering the short-range bullet to a wide open, usually-white receiver. If your game plan to defend him is reliant upon edge pressure and disguised coverages (*cough* Vic Fangio *cough*) Brady will dice you up like a sous-chef working a garlic bulb.
You must put defenders in his face. And few teams are better equipped to do so than Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and these Rams. This game has career-defining potential for Donald.
Thought 2. Where the hell is Todd Gurley?
A few months back, the player Bill Belichick would have completely removed from this game would have been Todd Gurley. “Eliminate Gurley and force Jared Goff to beat us” might have been his rallying cry. And it would have been the correct approach. The Bears showed the league that if you take away the Los Angeles rushing attack and pressure Goff, you control the game.
But Gurley seems to have eliminated himself, unless you believe the injury fairy tale spewing out of the City of Angels. C.J. Anderson has somehow become every bit the horse but Anderson does not have anywhere near the game-changing explosiveness of a man many considered the best offensive weapon in the sport in, like, October! If the Rams are going to win this game, Gurley can’t be riding the stationary bike on pivotal possessions.
Thought 3. Return Men
Three names will be involved.
For the Rams, JoJo Natson.
For the Pats, Cordarrelle Patterson and Julian Edelman.
All three are capable of conjuring the kind of game-altering play that decides which team is holding the Lombardi at the end of the evening. (And all three rank in the top ten at all the relevant return statistics.)
Who will it be? Watch out for Patterson. If Greg the Leg gives him an opportunity to give the Pats an easy six, he may just do it.