Super Bowl 53: Patriots vs. Rams Opening Night Location and Times

Elizabeth FinnyContributor IIJanuary 28, 2019

New England Patriots fans hold placards and cheer during an NFL football Super Bowl send-off rally for the team, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. The Los Angeles Rams are to play the Patriots in Super Bowl on Feb. 3, in Atlanta, Ga. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Surprise, surprise! The New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl for the third straight year. But this time around, they will be taking on a strong Los Angeles Rams team.

The Patriots may be favored in the eyes of oddsmakers, but the Rams had a stellar 13-3 season and beat out the Super Bowl favorite—the New Orleans Saints—in the NFC Championship game to advance to the Super Bowl.

There are plenty of storylines to focus on in Super Bowl LIII including Brady and the Patriots' dynasty, the youngest person to coach in a Super Bowl, a veteran vs. a young quarterback and more.

While the Super Bowl is not for another six days, festivities start tonight at opening night when the Rams and Patriots will be interviewed in Atlanta. Here's all the information you need to know about opening night and Super Bowl LIII.

   

2019 Super Bowl

Date: Sunday, Feb. 3

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta

Kickoff Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

TV: CBS

Odds: Patriots -2.5, Over/Under 56.5

   

Opening Night Preview

Doors Open: Monday, Jan. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET

Where: State Farm Arena in Atlanta

Rams Interviews: 7 p.m. ET

Patriots Interviews: 9 p.m. ET

Watch: NFL Network

    

Opening night should provide plenty of entertainment and discussion for those diehard football fans that are eagerly awaiting Sunday. Tonight will put players like Tom Brady, Jard Goff, Todd Gurley, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski and more at the podium to speak about the upcoming Super Bowl:

The Patriots are no strangers to the limelight and the Super Bowl stage. Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have won five Super Bowls together in New England and are looking to notch their sixth. 

In 2002, Belichick and Brady won their first Super Bowl in a 20-17 victory over the Rams, who at that time were based in St. Louis. 

Brady has been a staple in New England ever since. The 41-year-old quarterback boasts a 64 percent career completion average, with over 70,000 passing yards and 517 touchdowns. After losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl last year and getting a 1-2 start to the season—with an ugly 10-26 loss to the Detroit Lions—many people wondered whether Brady was finally on his way out. 

However, the oldest quarterback in the league has a message for fans: this is not his last game.

Brady will be joined by his longest-serving go-to receivers in Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski. However, there were seven players who had at least three receiving touchdowns on the season, showing that Brady can find anyone in the end zone if those two are covered.

On the ground, the Patriots got off to a slow start and couldn't find a rhythm in their running game. However, dual-threat back James White stepped up to run for five touchdowns and lead the team in receiving touchdowns with seven.

Rookie running back Sony Michel struggled to remain consistent during the regular season despite notching six touchdowns on 931 yards rushing. However, the former Georgia man has exploded in the postseason, running for 129 yards and three touchdowns against the Chargers and 113 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs.

The Rams' powerful and dynamic offense will pose a tough test for the Patriots, just as New England's offense will for Los Angeles. Both teams have average defenses, with the Rams coming in at No. 19 in total team defense and the Patriots following at 21. The Rams have a superior pass defense, which could pose a threat for Brady. However, the Patriots have a much better rush defense, which may cause problems for star running back Todd Gurley.

New England may have to depend more on Michel and the run game against the Rams, while Los Angeles may want to focus on getting the ball to Brandin Cooks and other receivers to take advantage of the Patriots weaker pass defense.

Los Angeles is led by the youngest current coach in the NFL, Sean McVay—who just turned 33. According to ESPN, when he was appointed in 2017, McVay was the youngest person to become a head coach since Art Lewis, who took the Cleveland Rams job in 1938 at 27. After serving as offensive coordinator for the Redskins, McVay has helped turn the Rams into a competitive team with a strong offense. 

McVay is joined by young quarterback Jared Goff, who threw for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns on 12 interceptions this season. In the postseason, Goff struggled a bit, only throwing one touchdown on one interception in the two postseason games in which he has appeared.

Despite those struggles, the Rams pulled off the upset over the Saints in the NFC Championship game, beating them 26-23 in overtime after a controversial no-call that has left the NFL and fans everywhere reeling. They only scored two touchdowns in the game, getting the rest of their points from four field goals, including a 57-yard overtime game-winner, by Greg Zuerlein.

Gurley leads the Rams on the ground, with 1,251 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. If Los Angeles finds itself being stuffed by New England's rush defense, it can turn to top receivers Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks. Both players have over 1,200 receiving yards and have six and five touchdowns, respectively. Gurley follows them with 580 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions. 

Like the Patriots, the Rams have many options at receiver, with six players having at least three receiving touchdowns. At back, they have their go-to in Gurley; however, no other player has more than two rushing touchdowns. Look for the Rams to use Gurley as a receiving back to outsmart the Patriots stronger rush defense.

If the Rams win, Sean McVay will be the youngest coach to claim a Super Bowl title and Los Angeles will win its first championship since 2002. If the Patriots win, they will tie the Steelers for most Super Bowl wins and Belichick will become the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl. Brady and Belichick will keep their titles as the quarterback and coach with the most Super Bowl wins by increasing their total to six.

There is much at stake in Super Bowl LIII, and it is sure to be an exciting game.

    

Stats courtesy of ESPN. Odds according to OddsShark.

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