5 Matchups That Will Define Super Bowl LIII
1. Bill Belichick vs. Sean McVay
The defensive guru who has dominated the NFL for the past 17 years, against the offensive wunderkind who could define the next 17. This is one hell of a matchup.
2. Aaron Donald vs. New England’s offensive line
Aaron Donald might be the best all-around player in the NFL and the Patriots No. 1 job on offense will be containing him. Donald has been named first-team All-Pro in each of the past four seasons and is poised to be named Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career. He also led the NFL with 20.5 sacks. He’s an absolute beast.
3. Todd Gurley vs. Dont’a Hightower
Todd Gurley had the worst game of his career in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, carrying the ball just four times for 10 yards. The Rams managed to win without a big contribution from their two-time, first-team All-Pro, but they won’t beat the Patriots if Gurley is bottled up.
Dont'a Hightower has long been one of the best run-stuffers in the NFL
4, Julian Edelman vs. Nickell Robey-Coleman
For five seasons, Julian Edelman has been Tom Brady’s security blanket. When he’s absent, New England’s offense is disjointed and just plain looks rough.
Nickell Robey-Coleman has solidified himself as one of the NFL’s best slot cornerbacks. Pro Football Focus has him graded out at 83.1, which puts him as PFF’s fifth-ranked corner.
5. Tom Brady vs. Wade Phillips
Tom Brady will be trying to win his sixth Super Bowl title on February 3. Read that again.
Wade Phillips (no relation) has been an NFL coach on and off since 1976. He’s consistently been one of the league’s best defensive coordinators. This season, the Rams ranked 14th in passing yards allowed per game (236), but ranked third in interceptions (18) and sixth in yards lost via sacks (326).