Super Bowl Preview: Local prognosticators pick the pigskin

Twin Harbors area experts, and not-so-experts, make their picks for Sunday’s game

If you are football fans like we are, you’ve likely had many a conversation with friends and family as to what will happen when the Los Angeles Rams face the New England Patriots for NFL supremacy.

We’ve done the same. We reached out to some in the local sports community as well as football fans here in The Daily World offices, to get people’s takes on the game.

We also threw in a bit of a “wild card” pick, someone that has little knowledge of the NFL yet seems to pick correctly every year (we all know someone like that).

Here are some predictions for the outcome of Super Bowl LIII.

The Experts (people that actually coach for a living)

Jeremy McMillan, Hoquiam Head Coach

I have to go with the GOAT, and the Patriots. New England’s experience has to be a huge factor. The Pats will control the clock with their run game and tempo. You have a “challenged” Tom Brady, and I believe he will establish why he is who he is. The Patriots have a chip on their shoulder.

Side note: I think what Sean McVay is doing for the game is an inspiration!

Final score: Patriots 38, Rams 24.


John Peterson, PWV Asst. Coach and Willapa Valley AD

I will pick, and this sickens me to say this, the Patriots. Bill Belichick was calling defenses when Sean McVay was in diapers. I just think an old hat may be able to figure out a way to slow down the Rams’ high-powered offense and me thinks Brady will get the ball out quickly and nickel-and-dime the Rams to death. They will then move to a bump-and-run (coverage) and he will throw one or two over their heads.

Final score: Patriots 31, Rams 24.


Luke Abbott, Raymond Head Coach

Yes, I went with the 40-something year-old quarterback that everyone is rooting against. Why? He and his coach are proven winners.

Brady is a three time MVP, has five Super Bowl rings and was the Super Bowl MVP four times.

Coach Belichick has won 30 of his 41 playoff appearances. Just based on that number you have to say he has almost a 75 percent chance of winning.

As for the Rams, they are great, but are the prime example of “I spent a lot of money and expect to win.” Nothing against Jared Goff and Sean McVay, great young talent in both realms, but still young. McVay is 33 (my age) and Goff is 24! I’m sure there will be some nerves there.

The Patriots have always been slow starters when it comes to Super Bowls, but have finished strong. Give Bill Belichick a quarter or two to figure out your offense, slow you down and allow the experienced Tom Brady to establish a running game/play action and keep the ball out of the young guns’ hands. Tick, tick, tick goes the clock.

The Rams might hold on to a late lead or even a tie, but they will give the Patriots and the seasoned Tom Brady just enough time to create a miraculous two-minute drive. Whether its a game-ending field goal from Gostkowski like his predecessor Vinatieri in seasons past, or a last second pass to Gronk, Edelman or Hogan, I feel that Mr. Brady will have his sixth ring.

Final score: Patriots 27, Rams 24.

The Not-So-Experts (journalists that like to sound like we know what we are talking about)

Dave Haerle, Daily World News Editor

This is a tough one. Not necessarily to pick a winner, but it’s sort of the lesser of two evils.

As a lifelong Niners fan, I’ve never been a fan of the Rams, though I’ll likely root for them Sunday because their starting quarterback, Jared Goff, is — like me — originally a Marin County, Calif., boy (Think the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, which connects Marin to San Francisco.)

His counterpart, Tom Brady, who is hated in these parts, is also originally a Bay Area kid, hailing from the South Bay — San Mateo to be specific. He prepped at Junipero Serra High School, which also boasts famous athletic alumni such as Barry Bonds, Lynn Swan and Jim Fregosi.

Both grew up avid 49er fans. Both idolized Joe Montana as kids, with Goff wearing the No. 16 as a tribute to Montana. As a child, Brady attended 49er games at Candlestick Park. His Wikipedia bio claims he was present at the 1981 NFC Championship when Montana threw what’s now known as “The Catch” to Dwight Clark to defeat the hated Dallas Cowboys.

So where does this all lead? I have no clue, I’m just rambling.

It would be nice to see someone other than Patriots win this thing, but the Rams? I was rooting for the Saints a couple of weeks back as I have family in New Orleans, but we all know how that worked out.

So I’ve said it before in these pages, and I’ll say it again.

“It’s Tom Brady’s world, and we’re just living in it.”

Final score: Patriots 34, Rams 31.


Hasani Grayson, Daily World Sports Reporter

This is the Super Bowl where we start to question if Tom Brady is too old to play this game for much longer. It’s not that age is going to come out of nowhere and blindside him, but I think Rams defenders Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh might.

The Patriots offensive line has done a better job of protecting Brady this season, but asking any line to account to for both Donald and Suh is tough. I’ll be putting my money on Suh and Donald leading a Rams pass rush that will allow them to get pressure without bringing additional blitzers.

That being said, Jared Goff will still be awarded MVP for some reason.

Final score: Rams 28, Patriots 20.


Doug Barker, Daily World Managing Editor

I predict that Tony Romo will be more entertaining than Maroon 5, but less entertaining than the Doritos commercial. That Julian Edelman will be a beast in the fourth quarter and that at the end of the game, Sean McVay’s hair will look just like it did at kickoff, that is to say untouched by Gatorade.

Pats will win, Bill Belichick finally smiles with :07 left when Jared Goff is sacked on fourth-and-7 and Tom Brady has another family commitment when it comes time to go to the White House.

Final score: Patriots 41, Rams 38.


Rick Anderson, Former Daily World Sports Editor

My record in predicting Super Bowls is pretty bad — probably due to (A) I’m not a pro football expert and (B) I tend to over-analyze the matchups.

I’m not making the second mistake this year. I’m picking New England on the theory that the Patriots generally don’t lose two consecutive Super Bowls and the Rams can’t be that lucky in two consecutive games.

Final score: Patriots 30, Rams 24.


Ryan Sparks, Daily World Sports Editor

When attempting to predict the outcome of championship games, one must refrain from using past history to to account for future success.

The New England Patriots under Belichick and Brady are unquestionably the greatest dynasty the NFL has ever seen. That amounted to nothing in last year’s Super Bowl loss to the Eagles.

On paper, the Rams are simply a better team at just about every single position outside of quarterback. Plus, the Rams posses what a team needs to defeat a quarterback like Tom Brady — an outstanding defensive line with an excellent pass rush. If they can get in Brady’s face, make him uncomfortable and take away those quick throws, it could be a long day for New England.

But both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs, the Pats’ playoff opponents this season. had defensive lines that could rush the passer, yet Brady emerged from both games without so much as a grass stain on the back of his jersey. If the Pats O-line can keep Brady upright, they have a good chance at winning their sixth championship.

On the flip side, I have to believe that Rams head coach Sean McVay and his offense is foaming at the mouth to get a crack at the Patriots defense, which has been serviceable but nothing to write home about this season. As crafty a defensive guru as Belichick is, this Pats team simply doesn’t have some of the name recognition of their Super Bowl teams of the past. And with the way the Rams love to punish teams with their running game, it’s hard for me to see a team that averaged 32.9 points-per-game this season finishing with much less than that.

I’m also interested in seeing how the Rams handle the opening and closing five minutes of the game. If Los Angeles, with all its inexperience, settles into the game quickly and can score early, they can get rid of any butterflies and settle into a groove, which means they’ll score points.

For the Pats to win, they must keep the game close. If they are within striking distance late in the game, well, that’s Bradytime and likely when the Rams’ inexperience will rear its ugly head.

I just don’t think the Pats have the defense to stop the Rams enough to keep the game that close in the end.

Final score: Rams 38, Patriots 27.

The Wild Card (those that know little to nothing about the NFL yet somehow seem to pick correctly every year)

My mother, Nikki Sparks, is not an NFL fan. Far from it.

Yet by using a system no Vegas odds-maker would ever recommend, she has consistently picked the Super Bowl winner (six of the last seven by my unofficial count).

By using such tried-and-true methods as picking one team over the other because she likes the team colors or once visited a team’s home city, my mother has consistently made me look like a fool with her accuracy while being absent from any knowledge of the game, whatsoever. So why should this year be any different?

Here’s an excerpt from a conversation we had recently:

“So who do you pick in this year’s game?” I ask.

“Who’s playing?” (She has admitted she is “devoid of the sports gene”)

“The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots.”

“Well of course I’m going for the Rams because I grew up in L.A. That’s the only reason. I don’t know what their record is or who is on the team, but I like blue. They wear bright blue right? That’s my favorite color on me.”

(I realize at this point I’m not sure if she is aware the Rams were in St. Louis for 20-plus years, so I ask.)

“You are aware the Rams played in St. Louis for a long time right?”

“Yes, but now that they are back, I like them again.”

“You do know the Rams are going up against a legend in Tom Brady and the Patriots, the greatest dynasty in league history?”

“No, I didn’t know any of that. But good for him.” (Looks like even Tom Brady isn’t immune to my mother’s kind yet unimpressed responses. Welcome to the club Tom.)

At least this season, if we get it wrong, we get it wrong together.

Enjoy the Super Bowl folks and we hope you and yours have as much fun and enjoyment watching and talking about the game as we will.