2019 Super Bowl: Why Aaron Donald will not have any impact based on Patriots game plan

There is one key matchup lingering in the 2019 Super Bowl: the Rams vaunted defensive line against the Patriots outstanding offensive line. The winner of the battle in the trenches might very well come away as the winner of the Super Bowl, with the Rams desperately needing to generate interior pressure against Tom Brady and the Patriots desperately wanting to keep Brady clean enough to fire out passes.

Super Bowl LIII is Sunday, Feb. 3, in Atlanta and it will air on CBS and streamed here on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App for free on most connected devices.

There are few things more unstoppable -- or unblockable, as Bill Belichick phrased it -- than Aaron Donald on the interior. He's a devastating force. But according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, who joined us on CBS Sports HQ's Pick Six Rundown (LIVE all week from Radio Row, noon-1 p.m. ET, watch it here), the Patriots will do whatever is necessary to keep Donald, and to the same extent Ndamukong Suh, from beating them.

"If I could place one bet this week, I will bet Aaron Donald will not have any impact on this game. The Patriots will take him out. They will double team him, they will triple team him," Volin explained. "They will let Michael Brockers wreck the game. They will let Mark Barron wreck the game. They will not let Aaron Donald wreck the game. And that goes for Suh as well.

"The offensive line has been outstanding. Dante Scarnecchia, another unbelievable performance by their offensive line coach. When they played in 2016, they were literally triple teaming Donald on some passing plays. They will not let those guys beat them."

Bill Belichick's calling card for years has been to take out the top option on opposing teams. Whether it's smothering a No. 1 option in the passing game with a corner and a safety or doubling up a defensive tackle, he wants to snuff out a team's strength. 

The Rams probably know this. Donald probably knows this. They'll scheme up as much as they can to stop Belichick and the Pats offense from keeping Donald in check. It's a three-dimensional chess game. 

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What gets interesting is the fourth dimension here. Will the Patriots, with both teams knowing how they plan to take out Donald, just try and run right at the teeth of the Rams defense?

The Rams haven't been good against the run all year -- they ranked 28th in DVOA against the run during the regular season -- but have snuffed out the Cowboys and Saints in their first two playoff games. Dallas (third) and New Orleans (sixth) were both elite rushing teams this season. 

Volin thinks the Patriots will still try and be what they've been the last six months of the season: a power-run team.

"I think the Patriots will pound the ball like they have postseason," Volin continued. "They're a running team now. Two tight ends. Full back James Develin."

If the Patriots are able to run the ball into the middle of the Rams defense and control the clock and control the time of possession and pick up a high percentage of their third downs, this thing could get out of hand.

The Rams badly need to keep the Patriots off the field and to let their offense be the one that moves the ball on the ground in an efficient manner. That starts with Donald and Suh, unless Belichick can pull off what many think his game plan will be. 

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CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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