Tom Brady

This weekend underlined one of the most useful rules of thumb when predicting NFL playoff results: you can never count out the New England Patriots, their coach Bill Belichick, and their quarterback Tom Brady.

The Pats’ overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday is taking them to a third consecutive Super Bowl, their 11th overall, and their ninth under the guidance of Belichick. As is often the case, Brady was crucial to the eventual victory. Having won the overtime coin toss, he threw for 75 yards, setting up Rex Burkhead’s winning touchdown.

Paddy Power has installed the Patriots as 3/4 favourites for Super Bowl LIII, with the Los Angeles Rams available at 11/10.

Big Game Experience

Most analysts thought that time had run out for this team, and Brady in particular, who is now 41; but such is the experience of their coach and QB, the Patriots can never be entirely written-off. As Riley McAtee wrote in The Ringer, “all season they made it look like they weren’t invincible this time… Yet here we are again.

The Patriots lost 5 of their 16 games this season, with the Rams losing 3. Both ended up as the second seed in their division.

Super Bowl LIII will take place on the 3rd February at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta. It is in effect a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVI from 2002, when the Rams were based in St. Louis. However, only Belichick and Brady remain from either of those teams. In 2002 Belichick was in his second season as the Patriots’ coach, while Brady had just broken through from backup quarterback.