With just a few hours to go before Super Bowl LIII is underway, Las Vegas oddsmakers have the New England Patriots 2.5-point favorites over the L.A. Rams.
At 41, Tom Brady is heading into his ninth Super Bowl, while 24-year-old Jared Goff is at the big game for the first time in his short career.
That will be a huge factor in how they will handle the pressure from both the Super Bowl itself, and the circus that has surrounded it in Atlanta all week, according to the hosts of ESPN’s Twitter show “Mina and Dianna – LIVE! from Atlanta.”
“This is really about experience vs. youth, and I am going to give the nod to experience just knowing how much it takes to handle everything leading up to the game,” reporter and anchor Dianna Russini told TheWrap. Having had non-stop media or team obligations since they arrived a week ago, “some of these players are even getting bored,” she added.
When asked if we’re going to see a changing of the guard with the Patriots handing their NFL dynasty over to Goff and the Rams, ESPN senior writer, radio host and television commentator Mina Kimes told TheWrap: “Sadly not. For this game in particular, most people are picking the Patriots. They really don’t even have a new storyline, weirdly most people thought Brady was going to retire last year than this year.”
Having explicitly said that there’s “zero chance” that Super Bowl LIII is going to be his last game, Brady will bring his almost two decades of experience under the spotlights down on the young Rams roster as they prepare for their first championship game.
“Think of the anything you’ve done for the first time, like driving. Remember the first time you drove and just how much better you were a month later? The Patriots are coming in with all this experience of just handling the Super Bowl,” Russini explained. “I think that is going to help them in the end. Once you understand the trail, it gets a lot easier — you have the knowledge, you know what you need to do.
“They are the best at knowing it and sticking with their plan and not getting distracted,” she added.
A lot of that comes from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who engineered that historic comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI when the Patriots were down 21-3 at halftime.
“What fascinates me is whether Sean McVay can make the necessary changes that Belichick does,” Kimes said of the Rams 32-year-old head coach, who both ESPN experts believe could be the “next Bill Belichick.
As for Goff, “he has been a good quarterback but not a great quarterback. He was only phenomenal in one game and that was against the Vikings,” Kimes said.
We’ll find out if these and many other predictions are true when Super Bowl LIII kicks off from Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 6:30 p.m. ET live on CBS.