It's the day of days in American Sport.

Super Bowl LIII kicks off just after midday with the New England Patriots looking to add another title in this impressive dynasty squaring off against the always fun and entertaining Los Angeles Rams.

NZME's resident NFL Tragics Alex Chapman, Christopher Reive, Marc Peard and Nigel Yalden take a look at some areas of interest ahead of the season decider in Atlanta.

The details
Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta.


Which quarterback is under more pressure – Tom Brady (NE) or Jared Goff (LA)?
CR: No point wasting words here. Tom Brady has five rings; Jared Goff is playing in his first Super Bowl. It's not hard to pick who is going to be under more pressure.

AC: Of course it's Jared Goff. His first Super Bowl, his coach's first Super Bowl, and the first Super Bowl for a lot of his teammates - going up against a five-time champion who's been in the big dance in three of the last four seasons. Goff will no doubt be fizzed for it, but that could be dangerous when it comes to having to sit there at halftime – an area Brady knows how to deal with rather well.

MP: It's not often I look at a match up and think, neither quarterback is really under any pressure -this is the case here though. Let me fabricate some reason that could fatten my answer - Tom Brady can sit above all in his record-setting career by winning his sixth Super Bowl ring. Jared Goff has the pressure of 31 fan bases worldwide wanting him to beat a Patriots team that continues to outperform them all. Either way, neither is playing for their jobs.

NY: Let's make it a clean sweep for young Mr Goff. He runs out opposite a very efficient, slightly underrated defensive unit which is, in part, manipulated by the best coach the National Football League has ever seen. Everything Goff does, even when he has to throw the ball away, has to be on point or the Sith Lords will punish the young padawan.

Which player (quarterbacks excluded) will have the most influence?
CR: I'm cheating a bit here and picking two players – Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. The Rams' defensive line is blessed with two of the best defensive tackles in the game; with Donald just named the Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. The Rams are going to have to get to Tom Brady or at least limit his time with the football in his grasp. Donald and Suh are elite pass rushers and tough assignments for the offensive blockers. If they have their way, Brady is in for a long night.

AC: It has to be Todd Gurley right? 1251 yards this season at an average of almost five yards per carry and 17 touchdowns, up against a team which has really struggled to contain running backs this season. I'm assuming some of my colleagues will pick him though, so I'll say for the Rams, Brandin Cooks against his former team, and for the Patriots, my guy Julian Edelman. No. 11 and Brady were incredible on third and 10 in the AFC Championship match, and I expect that to continue.

MP: Lock in Rex Burkhead, Patriots third-string running back. Why? Because it's the Patriots, and just when you think you've worked them out they unleash a heavy dose of 'how on Earth?' on you. Burkhead is an undersized sixth-round draft pick from the Bengals; he's the perfect example of how the Patriots seem to turn your rags into riches. There are far more sexy picks and big names playing, but it won't surprise me one but if the Super Bowl MVP is a no-name that takes his moment when the Patriots call.

NY: The Rams secondary have to be at the top of their game and it's up to Aquib Talib to first set the tone, then lead this group in derailing the superbly efficient Patriots offence. Talib has all the requisite skills, experience and confidence to impose himself on the biggest stage this sport has.

Which kicker would you have more faith in to kick a Super Bowl winning field goal – Stephen Gostkowski (NE) or Greg Zuerlein (LA)?
CR: I'm putting my faith in Gostkowski. The more experienced of the two kickers, Gostkowski has been more accurate with his field goal attempts (87.4 per cent to 83.5) throughout his career and has played in 25 playoff games since 2006. They have very similar range – both counting career longest made field goals over 60 yards – so I'm taking Gostkowski here.


AC: I trust my guy Stephen Gostkowski. A sixth Super Bowl for the veteran, and a man who copes well with pressure (touch wood). As per the Boston Globe, Gostkowski is 11-for-13 on extra points and 5-for-6 on field goals in his previous Super Bowls and heads into this year's decider with a perfect record of 9-for-9 on extra points and 3-for-3 on field goals this postseason.

MP: Give me Zuerlein. The dude was clutch against the Saints in the NFC championship game. Kicking is a confidence thing and Zuerlein's confidence is sky high right now.

NY: How can you not take a kicker with the nickname 'Greg the Leg'? So it's Zuerlein for me, especially as he's already kicked a game-winning field goal in these playoffs, a big one I might add and in overtime too.

Who wins and why?
CR: I've been counting out the Patriots all postseason, and tipped the Rams to take it out before the playoffs started. I'm staying true to that and picking the Rams in a close one. The interesting battle will be the Patriots offence against the Rams defence. The Patriot offence will have to fire if they're going to win this, and that won't be easy against this Rams side. On the other side, Goff showed last week that he can play a massive game when the bright lights are on. With the likes of Brandin Cooks out wide and running backs Todd Gurley and CJ Anderson doing the damage up the middle, the Patriots defence is not good enough to halt this offence.

AC: Reverse jinx, reverse jinx, reverse jinx. It's got me this far, but it's time to actually make a pick. Patriots by six in a come from behind win. As my man Marc Peard said on the podcast, Super Bowls aren't normally won by a difference of more than two touchdowns, so if you fancy a flutter, Patriots at 1-13 is looking good.

MP: Lock me in for the Patriots. I hate to say it, but they are just too good. The Rams will test them, but looking at the players' and coaches' body language from all the media sessions they've been doing over the past seven days, the Patriots look calmer more relaxed - like they've been here before. The big dance will be full of high pressure moments, and I prefer the old guard with calm heads to capture those moments and win in a close one.

NY: I believe that good will always triumph over evil; that light will always pierce the dark. I believe in the Force, the Kwan and the power of Grayskull and as such, I have no doubt in my mind, body and soul that the Rams shall rise up on this most glorious of days, this day of days, and dispatch the Patriots forth with from whence they came.

The picks

Christopher Reive (6/10)

– Los Angeles Rams

Alex Chapman (6/10) – New England Patriots

Marc Peard (5/10)– New England Patriots

Nigel Yalden (3/10) – Los Angeles Rams

How to watch

Live coverage begins on ESPN (SKY channel 060) at 11.30am, and the NZ Herald will be running a live blog from midday.