LA Rams McVay and Goff must end Belichick haunting their career

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Sean McVay Jared Goff
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So here we are, a circular track that leads us back to this game against these two teams. The Rams have evolved, but let’s not ignore the changes that have occurred in New England.  The Patriots are 6-6, and are clinging to the hope for a playoff berth. The Patriots no longer have QB Tom Brady under center. But even moreso, the team was hard hit by players opting out of this season due to COVID-19.

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The Patriots are in third place in the AFC East behind the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. Their offense is struggling, ranked 22nd in the NFL, and the defense is above average as the 12th-ranked defense in yardage, and the seventh-ranked defense in terms of points allowed.

Defense determines a different outcome

While there will be a lot of focus upon this Rams offense, the Rams held the Patriots to just 13 points in the two teams’ last encounter. Nobody questioned Brady. Nobody questioned the Patriots offense. Winning tends to gloss over any vulnerabilities. Since they last met, the Patriots regular season record has been 18-10 to the Rams record of 17-11.  Isn’t that a bit surprising?

The Rams need this win to purge Belichick’s curse, his haunting, which has continued to be thrown back into the Rams’ face ever since. Sean McVay and Jared Goff were young and successful, two factors that attracted envy and disdain. The bump in the road from the New England Patriots allowed that negativity to reach critical mass and explode in the Rams faces. This is more than a football game. This is even bigger than reaching the 2020 NFL Playoffs. This is about validation, a second chance to prove that the combination of Sean McVay and Jared Goff was not a flash-in-the-pan.

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The Rams have evolved. And now, they have a second chance to prove to themselves and to the NFL that a score of 13-3 was the anomaly, not their sudden rise to NFL success. Second chances are very rare, almost as rare as appearances in the Super Bowl. But for the Rams to return to the latter, they will need to take advantage of the former.