If you are a sports betting fanatic, you may have already heard that James White was originally listed as a 40-1 underdog to win Super Bowl MVP. To some this may make sense due to the quarterbacks garnering most of the attention with starting running backs and star wide receivers close behind
James White is technically considered a third down back who also didn’t get nearly as many touches as Sony Michel did in the previous week. However, people have short memories because we are only a few weeks removed from James White tying a playoff record for most receptions in a game with 15 against the L.A Chargers. He is vital to a strong passing attack with or without Sony Michel getting a large amount of touches out of the backfield.
Just a few years ago, James White had the game of his life I Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons. He hauled in 14 catches for 110 yards with a touchdown and a two-point conversion through the air and ran for 29 yards, two touchdowns including the game winner. In many people’s eyes, he should have been named the Super Bowl MVP but of course due to the extreme nature of the comeback, Tom Brady got that honor.
James White is a far bigger household name than he was back than considering he had never rushed for more then 26 yards and only have 100 yards receiving once before that game. Today, he’s known as one of the best pass-catching running back in the league and he just may be the key to the Patriots securing their sixth Super Bowl title this upcoming Sunday.
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The Chargers defense struggled so heavily with the Patriots for several reasons. Yet the main issue they had was in the short passing game. They had a formable pass rush and a good secondary which left their linebackers vulnerable and if Brady got rid of the ball fast, the Chargers struggled. This happened all game long and Brady used White and Edelman to pick apart their defense.
The Kansas City Chiefs posed a very different defense. They were weak all around but particularly in their secondary and their run defense. This enabled Sony Michel to rush for over 25 times and for Brady to target his wide receivers down the field on a consistent basis. This made James White far less valuable.
However, the L.A Rams boast a defense far more like that of the Chargers. They have a very good front led by Aaron Donald, Suh and Fowler. They also pose a dominant secondary led by Aquib Talib and Marcus Peters. This leaves their linebacking corps more open and vulnerable. The Patriots should look to exploit this and target both Rob Gronkowski when matched up against linebackers and James White in quick screen and check down scenarios.
Playing this way wont just be a massive leg up but it may be the key to exploiting this defense. Unlike the Chargers, the Rams are famous for adjusting and doing so fast and they’ll have to do so if James White begins to pick this defense apart. This will allow for more downfield passing to primary weapons like Julian Edelman as well as more downfield running with Sony Michel. James White is the key to unlocking the weaknesses of this defense and look for Brady and Co. to exploit it with everything they’ve got.
-Jared Talbot is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @jaredtalbot_