The Rams and Patriots are advancing to the Super Bowl. And while there’s been a lot of talk about the well-known stars for their respective teams, there are some under-the-radar NFL players to watch during the title game.
Clearly a lot of the attention will be on Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Jared Goff, and Sean McVay. However, football is the ultimate team sport and many players who aren’t household names will have a major impact in determining which team gets to hold the Lombardi trophy.
If you are going to bet on the Super Bowl it’s important to make an informed decision. That means knowing both the stars for each team as well as the lesser known players on defense and special teams. Betting on the Super Bowl gets larger every year and there are plenty of sports books that are available to place a wager with. Just like you need to be informed about the players, you should know the site you are betting with and which sports books are offering the best deals. Reputable sites like betbrain offer great deals to fans interested in betting on the Super Bowl and other big sporting events.
C.J. Anderson, running back, Rams
Things couldn’t have worked out better for Anderson this season. After getting cut by the Broncos, Panthers and Raiders, the veteran running back has burst on the scene with the Rams, rushing for over 400 yards in the last three games. He and Todd Gurley punished the Cowboys in the Divisional Round, win thanks in large part to a dominant performance up front by LA’s offensive line.
Anderson led the way with 123 yards and two touchdowns against a Dallas defense that ranked fifth against the run during the regular season. Yards on the ground will be harder to come by against the Patriots run defense, but Anderson should continue to have success running behind an offensive line that has been owning the trenches.
James White, running back, Patriots
The Patriots have quite the duo at running back in White and rookie Sony Michel. The latter has shown to be most effective on the ground, with 931 rushing yards on the year. White, on the other hand, is the better receiver of the two, with 87 catches. Only Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley had more receptions at the running back position this season.
In the Divisional Round win against the Chargers, White finished with a game-high 15 catches on 17 targets. In what should be a pass-heavy approach against the Rams, White appears set for another heavy workload in the game.
Aqib Talib, cornerback, Rams
The last time the Rams and Saints met, Thomas went off on the LA secondary, catching 12 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown. However, it’s important to note that Talib missed that game with an ankle injury. With Talib back for the rematch against New England, it will be far more difficult for Thomas to potentially explode for another big game. And if the Rams can keep him in check, it’ll put a lot of pressure on the rest of the Patriots receiving corps.
Phillip Dorsett, wide receiver, Patriots
After watching Julian Edelman pick apart the Chiefs’s secondary, it’s safe to say the Rams defense will be devoting a lot of attention to the Patriots’ scrappy veteran receiver. That could create some opportunities for other players to step up.
One player in particular is Phillip Dorsett, who saw a lot of targets the first four weeks of the season when Edelman was suspended. It’s also worth mentioning that Dorsett’s snap counts have increased since Josh Gordon’s departure from the team last month.
If L.A. succeeds in taking away Edelman, look for Dorsett to step up for New England in an increased role.
Cory Littleton, linebacker, Rams
Littleton was voted to the Pro Bowl this season as a special-teamer, but he’s also been one of LA’s best players on defense. His 90 solo tackles ranked eighth in the NFL, and he led all linebackers with 13 passes defended.
In addition to Thomas, the Patriots have a running back in Sony Michel, who’s just as lethal catching passes out of the backfield as he is running the ball. As the Rams’ best coverage linebacker, Littleton will often be matched up with Michel on Sunday, and it will be his job to limit the damage done by the Patirots’ dynamic running back.
Dont’a Hightower, linebacker, Patriots
One of the more intriguing matchups this Sunday will be Jard Goff going up against the Patriots defense. The Patriots are well known for having creative gameplans on defense, and Hightower is one player in particular who they like to move around. It will be interesting to see what New England throws at Goff in the Super Bowl