Ictzone: Way Too Early Super Bowl Prediction
The time is here, the day we have all been waiting for since the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52. Tomorrow, September 5th marks the start of the 2018 NFL Season and with that comes 268 games leading up to the finale and an infinite amount of possibilities that make correctly predicting the super bowl matchup an impossible task. With that been said, we don't shy away from the impossible and we think we have the super bowl matchup correctly picked out.
Super Bowl 53: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Jaguars finished 3rd in the AFC last season and the Rams matched that by finishing 3rd in the NFC, yet Vegas does not have a potential matchup between the two teams in their top 16 odds. The Jaguars were a few questionable pass-interference calls away from a super bowl berth and the Rams were upset in the wild card round.
The Jaguars come into the season with pretty much the same roster that took the NFL by storm. Jalen Ramsey spearheads the NFL's second best defense and while it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to back up all the trash talk he did during the offseason, the truth is the Jaguars return a defense full of talent, six pro-bowlers to be exact.
The real doubt comes on the other side of the ball where the Jaguars are led by an inconsistent quarterback in Blake Bortles. The good news is that Bortles has shown he can be an elite quarterback, throwing for over 4,400 yards and 35 touchdowns on a 2-1 interception ratio in the 2015 season. The bad news is that Bortles has not been anywhere near that level in the last two seasons. However, with Leonard Fournette proving to already be one of the NFL's elite running backs, the Jaguars should have just enough to outlast teams while the defense puts on a show.
The Los Angeles Rams turned a 4-win season into an 11-win season within the space of a year. The difference was the growth of second year quarterback Jared Goff and the addition of a new head coach in Sean McVay. McVay performed miracles turning Goff from a potential bust into a pro-bowler. Not to mention Todd Gurley, the reigning NFL offensive player of the year coming off a combined 2,000 yard season rushing and receiving out of the backfield. So, what have the Rams done since the end of a great season? How about signing Brandon Cooks, one of the fastest players in the NFL also coming off three straight 1,000 yards receiving season. Well what about the defensive side of the ball, are they just another top-heavy team?
Determined to improve defensively after only finishing 19th last season, the Rams made some impressive defensive acquisitions in the offseason. Two 2016 all-pro cornerbacks in Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters to team up with a former pro-bowl cornerback in Sam Shields, 5-time all-pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and oh yeah the Rams resigned last year's NFL defensive player of the year Aaron Donald to a six year contract. The Rams might have the best roster the NFL has seen since the 2014 Denver Broncos.
As far as the game goes I think the Rams go in as favorites but the Jaguars come away victors. The NFC is much more talented than the AFC and I don't see the Rams successfully navigating the NFC without a few bumps and bruises. Ultimately, it'll come down to the league's number one offense against the number one defense and history as shown us the defense tends to win those matchups. Jaguars edge out the Rams.
Who do you have making it to Super Bowl 53? Let us know in the comments below.