The last time the Patriots and Rams played, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady busily dismantled their opponent in the Super Bowl. This rematch still promises to be a good game, but the Patriots in particular look very different than they did in that last matchup.
First of all, this is a compelling rematch because both teams could still be making playoff pushes. The Rams have to navigate around Jared Goff, who is only good when Sean McVay programs him just the right way to be good, but they remain a force in the NFC West with enough talent to make a playoff run. The Patriots no longer resemble the Patriots of yesteryear—they have Cam Newton throwing for 69 yards and running people over and their defense and special teams have been largely spectacular—but they too are still in the AFC playoff hunt and looking increasingly like a dangerous team.
My money’s on the Rams in this one, but it’s not a lot of money, if that makes sense. Use this as your open thread for the game ahead.