A lot has happened since the Patriots and Rams played each other in the Super Bowl seventeen seasons ago. Tom Brady’s iconic journey was just beginning. Jared Goff was seven years old. The Rams were in St. Louis. The Patriots entered that game as 14-point underdogs, a stark contrast to the early Super Bowl 53 betting line where they’re now 2.0 point favorites. This is a classic battle of the old school defending against the rise of the new school, and that starts right at the top.

You can say a lot of things about Bill Belichik, but knocking his success is a fool’s errand. He has been the gold standard in the league for this entire century despite all of the negative press that the team has received overall. Nothing has derailed this team and a lot of this starts with the culture that Belichik has installed. Thirteen AFC Championship appearances and nine Super Bowl berths? Call them cheaters all you want, but don’t you dare call them boring. This is unprecedented dominance in the NFL.

And if you consider the last three runs that the Patriots have had, it’s even more mind blowing and a big reason why action careened in on an early Super Bowl 53 betting line that only slightly preferred the Los Angeles Rams initially. They were one-point favorites when the line opened. That basically indicates that the game’s supposed to be a pick ’em, but a three-point swing is a three-point swing.

Early Super Bowl Betting Line: Los Angeles Rams vs. New England Patriots -2.0 (57.5)

It’s not difficult to understand the knee-jerk reaction despite the fact that the Patriots were Super Bowl losers just twelve months ago. Spotlighting that specific effort ignores a really important element of this team, which centers on their overall resilience.

The New England Patriots produced the most epic comeback in Super Bowl history three years ago when they ripped the heart out of the Atlanta Falcons in a shocking 34-28 victory. Last year, they did the same thing against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC title game to win 24-20 against the best defense in the league. This year, they went toe-to-toe with one of the most impressive offenses of all time that’s covered in more detail here. The resilience is unbelievable and undeniable.

To call the Patriots the old guard is fair for a lot of reasons. Brady is 41, Edleman is 32 and Gronkowski has the body of an 87 year old war horse. There are some young studs on this roster, like 26-year old James White and rookie Sony Michel, who drag the average age down but the cornerstones of this specific team are ones that have been around for what feels like forever. There’s something comforting (and nauseating) about a franchise being this good for so long. Proven success at the highest levels of the sport is what’s likely driving New England’s charge on the early Super Bowl 53 betting line, even if that money is most likely being laid by their own fans.

There’s no denying what the oddsmakers saw when they set the early Super Bowl 53 betting line late Sunday night. The Los Angeles Rams are everything that’s new about the NFL. They are a star-studded roster with the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. By the way, the average age of those four guys, along with quarterback Jared Goff, is just 26.8 years old. The elder statesman of that core is Sean McVay, who is without question the next great coaching brain of this generation.

Los Angeles looked to be out of the NFC Championship before staging a comeback of their own, thanks in large part due to a blatant no-call by the refs (there may have been more to it than that one play). The Rams have long been one of the favorites to win the championship since they opened the season with five straight games of 30+ offensive points. There have been issues on defense, but the real key to what they do overall is Aqib Talib, who missed a large portion of the season. When Talib plays, the Rams have allowed just 15.1 points against in the regular season, and 22.5 points against the Saints and Cowboys.

There’s a lot to break down over the next two weeks, but right now we have to follow the money. Across the entire industry, nearly two-thirds of all current action is leaning towards the Patriots. How the oddsmakers react is going to be key. To be fair to them, this is an impossible game to really set a line for. Both teams have a lot of promise. But if the early Super Bowl 53 betting line indicates anything, it’s that we can expect a high scoring affair. The total is at 57.5 (opened at 58.0) which is the highest in the history of the game.

What more could you ask for? The Patriots have already denied the future for one, young, up and coming contender. Can they do it again?

As a very loud man once said, that’s why we play the game.

Super Bowl LIII will be hosted in Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, February 3rd.