NFL Picks Week #21 Super Bowl (2019 playoffs)

NFL PICKS (WEEK #21 - Super Bowl)


University Professor. PhD in stats. Proud dad of 2 boys.


Hello NFL fans! I can’t believe the football season is almost over… Our picks are 6-4 in the playoffs, following a season where our record was 26-21. Let’s make our final pick of the year!

PICK: Los Angeles Rams +2.5 vs New England Pats

I’ll be honest with you: I don’t have huge faith in this pick. I spent the past two weeks changing my mind on several occasions. Once the Conference Championship games were over and I saw the line on the Super Bowl, I was pretty convinced I was going to go with New England. I asked myself: “If I had to pick a team and my life was on the line, would I really want to bet AGAINST Brady and Belichick?” Obviously, the answer was no.

However, as time went on I kept having this feeling like the Rams are going to win. I remember a few times this year where I strictly followed my system despite my gut telling me to do otherwise; most of the time, the pick turned out to be wrong.

Most of the arguments that come to my mind are favoring New England. Brady and Belichick have a lot of playoff and Super Bowl experience, while Goff and McVay don’t. They might feel much more nervous on such a big stage. However, I read an article on stating that teams with a more experienced coach in terms of Super Bowl appearances are 8-11 straight up (4-13-2 against the spread) since 1990. Similar numbers can be found in terms of quarterback experience. Sure, the sample size is small, but there does not seem to be evidence that Super Bowl experience carries an advantage.

The interior of the Pats’ offensive line is strong and matches up well against Suh and Donald. I’ve been very impressed by the effort shown by Suh in the playoffs; he is playing like a mad man. Historically speaking, the best recipe to beat Tom Brady is to put pressure in his face. The Rams have the tools to do it.

One thing that worries me: the Rams couldn’t stop running back Alvin Kamara as a receiver a couple of weeks ago, as he caught 11 passes for 96 yards. Covering James White out of the backfield won’t be an easy task either.

Todd Gurley’s situation is quite puzzling. He was playing great until he got hurt with two games left in the regular season. He hasn’t looked like his old self during the postseason thus far, getting just 5 touches against the Saints, compared to 17 for C.J. Anderson. Getting two extra weeks of rest should help, and I’m confident he will play a big role in this game. When healthy, he is one of the most talented offensive player in the league.

You might have expected me, a statistics professor, to come up with convincing numbers supporting my picks. I won’t. I simply feel like this will be the Rams day. Even though there are few reasons to believe it’s going to happen, I wouldn’t fall off my chair if Los Angeles wins by 14+ points. I’m not saying I firmly believe it’s going to happen, but I do see it as a real possibility. Despite the history of New England’s success in the playoffs, remember that the Rams had the better regular season record (13-3 versus 11-5) and the better point differential (+143 versus +111).

To recap, this is basically a gut-feeling pick.


I big THANK YOU to those of you who have been following me throughout the season. I really appreciate a lot! Enjoy the game, guys!

Professor MJ