Our weekly Minnesota Sports Ramble articles are released on Tuesday (Wild related) and Thursday (Timberwolves related). Monthly content on inactive Minnesota pro sports teams is released during the first week of the month or when there's big news. We plan on expanding to coverage of high school hockey and the Gophers in the future as well.
Below, our contributors make their predictions for the Big Game (if the NFL doesn't want people to call it by its proper name, then screw them, we won't).
Thanks for your support!
Mike Coenen (Rambling On Vikings and NFL analyst)
When Bill Belichick won a Super Bowl as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants on January 27, 1987, Sean McVay was just one year and one day old.
When Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl as quarterback for the New England Patriots in 2002, Jared Goff was only about eight years old.
Big Game LIII will pit the NFL's current Old Guard vs. this season's version of the NFL's New Guard or future generation. It will definitely be a 'battle of the ages', but whether or not it will be a 'battle for the ages', only time will tell. The last two Big Games, both of which included the New England Patriots, were very competitive, exciting, and even epic battles, and I expect Big Game LIII to be the same.
In the end I expect Belichick's and Brady's wisdom and mastery to out duel and outwit their younger counterparts, putting a sixth Lombardi trophy in the New England Patriot trophy case.
Patriots 31, Rams 28
Erik Ritland (Founder and Director of Rambling On)
Man, I just don't care.
I can't put a finger on why, but the NFL has gotten boring to me. I've never been less excited for a Big Game, and I'm not the only person saying that.
It's the only elite team in the AFC for the last 20 years vs. a boring, one-dimensional offensive juggernaut whose city doesn't even care about them. Yawn.
My hot take: it'll be a low scoring game. The Patriots defense is good enough to keep down the Rams, and the Rams defense is good enough to keep the Patriots in check.
Patriots 17, Rams 13
Peter Ripka (Rambling On Wild and Twins analyst)
The narrative for Big Game LIII is clear: old school vs. new school, tried and true vs. run and gun, what the new NFL is supposed to look like vs. the way it was for a long time.
I expect the game to be close in the first half. The Rams will take an early lead, but experience will prove to be the difference in the second, with the Patriots winning yet another Big Game.
Patriots 31, Rams 24
Beartrap McManus (Rambling On Timberwolves analyst)
I second Erik: I really just don't care.
I'm skipping both, but honestly, I'd rather watch the NBA All-Star game. But I am the Timberwovles analyst after all, so I'm not paid handsomely to care about this anyway.
Unlikable Fan-base 1, America 0
Jeff Hartfiel (Rambling On Wild analyst)
The Rams have a great defense that can get after the quarterback. They'll need to get in Brady's face making him uncomfortable to have a chance. The Rams run-first offense should help them control the clock.
The Patriots defense always ups their game in the playoffs, and if they can make the Rams one-dimensional by taking away the run game and making Goff beat them, their lives will be easier.
Essentially, the Patriots offense is Tom Brady. What else do they need? I suppose they also have James White, Gronkowski and Edelman. It will help a lot if Gronkowski is healthy and on his game. Regardless, Tom Brady has shown time and time again he doesn't need much. They will be ready.
Patriots 34 Rams 28
About the Authors
Mike Coenen is a writer, historian, professor, and author from Little Falls, Minnesota. He is the Vikings analyst for Rambling On and is the co-host of the Minnesota Sports Ramble podcast. Since 2016 he has been creating content for Rambling On as sports analyst and podcast co-host.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. Founder of Rambling On, he has written hundreds of articles and hosted almost a hundred podcasts. He began his career as Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Hometown Hustle and Curious North. He directs all of the content on Rambling On, created and maintains the website, and is social media content director. He is also copy editor and writer for Music in Minnesota. Support Erik's music on his music site or BandCamp, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.
Peter Ripka is the original Rambling On podcast co-host and has been a contributor since its inception. He’s currently the Wild analyst, a position he’s held for several years. A Wild and Twins season ticket holder, his writing combines the passion of a fan and the insight of a beat writer.
Beartrap McManus is an NBA and Timberwolves expert. He has been a life coach for Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland since before time, a consultant for Rambling On since its founding, and Timberwolves analyst beginning in Series Five. He resides with his wife and twelve kids in Hurley, Wisconsin, where his wife owns a popular supper club.
Jeff Hartfiel is a Minnesota sports analyst specializing in the Wild and Vikings. He's been a part of Rambling On since 2018.