Tom Brady Bill Belichick Patriots
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and head coach Bill Belichick before the game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are back playing for a championship for the third straight year and the fourth time in five seasons. Anchored by head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the team has become the greatest dynasty in NFL history.

On Sunday night, the team that has won five titles since 2002 will take on a Los Angeles Rams’ team that hopes to be building a dynasty of their own. With a brilliant young head coach, a Pro Bowl quarterback that’s 17 years Brady’s junior and a defense led by arguably the best player in the sport, L.A. has a legitimate shot to pull off the upset in Super Bowl LIII.

That’s exactly what a victory for the Rams would be: an upset. New England is the Super Bowl favorite with good reason, and they should beat Los Angeles to become the 2019 NFL champions.

If the postseason has taught us anything, it might be that the struggles the Patriots faced in the regular season should be taken with a grain of salt. New England’s somewhat unimpressive 11-win season was followed up by two playoff victories over 12-win teams.

The Patriots dominated the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round 41-28. New England went on the road to defeat MVP favorite Patrick Mahomes and the No.1 seed Kansas City Chiefs, looking like the team we’ve seen win in the playoffs each year. Belichick schemed up a perfect game-plan against L.A., and Brady showed, once again, why he’s the greatest quarterback of all time by leading a game-winning overtime drive against the Chiefs.

Maybe Brady isn’t quite the same player that won five rings, though it was only a year ago that he capped off an MVP season with a record 505 passing yards in the Super Bowl. New England can count on the 41-year-old to come up with big plays when the team needs it most.

In eight Super Bowls, Brady has never had a bad performance. His numbers from his Super Bowl debut in 2002 aren’t exactly eye-popping with 145 passing yards, but he didn’t throw an interception and led the Patriots on a game-winning drive in the final two minutes.

Brady has a career 98.0 passer rating in the Super Bowl. He’s thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in each appearance. His only two-interception Super Bowl came in 2015 when he threw for 328 yards, four touchdowns and won the MVP award against a dominant Seattle Seahawks’ defense. In his three Super Bowl appearances in the last five years, Brady is averaging 433 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception per game.

With Brady under center, the Patriots have a sizeable edge at the game’s most important position. Jared Goff was arguably better than Brady in the regular season, but he’s still a 24-year-old that’s never been on this stage and has yet to have a standout playoff performance.

Los Angeles’ perceived disadvantage at quarterback didn’t hurt them in the NFC Championship Game. In fact, it was Drew Brees that made a fatal mistake in overtime and Goff that made a big play that decided the outcome.

Let’s see what Goff does in the Super Bowl against Belichick’s defense, which stymied Philip Rivers and the Chargers just a few weeks ago. Rivers was under more pressure than any quarterback this season in that contest, and the Patriots sacked Mahomes four times the next week. In the final seven weeks of the regular season, Goff posted a 40.2 passer rating when under pressure.

In three career postseason games, Goff has never posted a passer rating higher than 83.0 or thrown for more than one touchdown. The quarterback has thrown one touchdown pass and six interceptions in four games against playoff teams since December.

The Rams survived Goff’s 186 passing yards in the divisional round because Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson combined to run for 238 yards in a win over the Dallas Cowboys. The duo wasn’t nearly as effective against the New Orleans Saints, and Los Angeles’ high-powered offense was held to 23 points in regulation.

It’s going to be a tall order for the Rams’ ground attack to be dominant in Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots limited the Chargers to 19 yards on 10 rushes a few weeks ago. Kansas City’s running backs totaled 30 yards on 10 attempts in the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots haven’t allowed any running back to rush for more than 41 yards in a game since Week 15.

Sean McVay’s offense did lead the NFC in points and yards in the regular season. They will be able to move the ball at times. Maybe the Rams will score several touchdowns, considering the Patriots have given up 69 total points in the last two Super Bowls, including a loss against Nick Foles.

But the safe money is on Brady, Belichick and the Patriots getting the job done, yet again.