The New England Patriots put together a defensive masterpiece in Super Bowl LIII to slow down a talented Los Angeles Rams offense and win Super Bowl LIII two years ago.
Will we see a repeat of that Patriots game plan on Thursday night when New England and Los Angeles square off at SoFi Stadium?
That's probably a pretty good bet, and Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo explained why on the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast with Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry.
"Sean McVay and the Rams offense -- they've always needed to make this adjustment. Belichick has been so good for so long because he adjusts to the league, right? His offense changes, his defense changes, everything changes when it needs to," Palazzolo said. "Sean McVay still has not completely adjusted to the things that crushed them in the Super Bowl, which was quarters coverage and the zero blitz.
"(Rams quarterback) Jared Goff is still one of the worst in the league -- a lot of people are talking about zero blitzes this week because of Gregg Williams -- you might see some of them Thursday night because Goff has been terrible at them. He was terrible a few years ago and he was terrible against the Dolphins. (Dolphins head coach Brian) Flores executed the Super Bowl game plan from 2018 (in Week 8), which, by the way, that was Bill dusting off a piece of the playbook he hadn't used in years, which is this quarters coverage that the Pats don't even use a whole lot. But he dusted it off for the Rams and I think we'll see more of that.
"McVay and Goff need to find answers for these simple coverages that teams like the Patriots are throwing at them, and they haven't done that yet."
The Patriots will need to give a similarly strong defensive performance against Goff and the Rams because this Week 14 game is of the utmost importance to New England's playoff chances.
The Pats enter this matchup with less-than-stellar odds to earn a postseason berth -- 16 percent, per FiveThirtyEight -- and a loss in L.A. on Thursday night would make it almost impossible for New England to return to the postseason for a 12th consecutive year.
Also in this episode: Curran and Perry talk about the matchups the Patriots can exploit in Week 14, the importance of putting pressure on Rams quarterback Jared Goff, and much more!