The wait is almost over. This Sunday, football fans finally get to the pinnacle of the season. It’s been five months of blood, sweat, and tears. But wait no more, for we have finally reached Superbowl Sunday for Superbowl LI. This Sunday, one fan base will be filled with joy, while the other will be heartbroken. Just in case you’ve been under a rock, we’ve got the 2 highest scoring teams in the league, as the Atlanta Falcons will be facing the New England Patriots live from the NRG stadium in Houston, Texas.
The Atlanta Falcons have arguably been the most impressive team in this year’s playoffs. They defeated two previous Superbowl winning quarterbacks in Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. Starting QB Matt Ryan has thrown for seven TDs with zero interceptions. And if they keep up at this pace, they could find themselves raising the Lombardi trophy for the 1st time in the franchise’s history. The question is, can they get enough out of their defense or do they have to make this a video game and outscore arguably the best QB of all time?
The Patriots have blitzed their way through the playoffs with an 18 point win vs the Houston Texans and a 19 point win last week against the Steelers. Last week they were clicking on all cylinders and destroyed the team that probably had the best chance against them. Mr. All Everything Tom Brady now returns to the Superbowl for the 7th time. He is 4-2 in the previous six. And him, along with coach Bill Belichick have now been to the Big Game more than any other QB and coach in the history of the sport. What a sight it would be to see Commissioner Roger Goodell have to give the trophy to a guy he suspended for four games to start the season.
For the Falcons to win Superbowl LI, they have to use what the Patriots don’t have. In other words, they have a better run game than the Patriots and a better pass rush. The two-headed monster of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman has been dynamic all year. Even though the Pats have their own run game with LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis, and James White, the Falcons have a much better chance to win with Ryan having an average game rather than Patriots winning when Brady has an average game. Sack artist Vic Beasley is the best pass rusher on the field. Tom Brady lost his two Superbowls because of opponent’s pass rush. Falcons have to do the same if they want to win.
For the Patriots to win Superbowl LI, they have to make the Falcons one-dimensional. Even though Matt Ryan is the MVP, their offense is predicated off the dynamic run game and their All Pro WR Julio Jones. Bill Belichick has a reputation of taking away the opposing team’s top target. If that ends up being true, and the Patriots can slow the Falcon’s run game, it will be all on Matt Ryan. Even though Ryan has been great all year, this is the best chance for the Patriots to create turnovers. Ryan, in the past, has shown signs of not coming though in the clutch.
This game has a good chance to be the highest scoring Superbowl in history. With the new rules of the league, the lack of defense from these two teams, and the high level that being played by both QBs, this will be fun to watch. With both teams playing so well, it’s very hard to choose a winner. New England comes into the game as a 3 point favorite. Pretty much all of that is because of the huge experience advantage that they have over the Falcons.
It’s very hard to go with a QB that has little or no experience vs. a Bill Belichick led defense, not to mention someone who have never been to a Superbowl before. The Superbowl experience of the entire Falcons roster is about the same as Tom Brady alone. You may not think that means much, but it does. Handling the pressure, the stress from family and the extra spotlight of the media takes a toll. You don’t realize all of the different factors unless you’ve been in this situation. Because of this, I’m going with the Patriots to win the Superbowl, 38-32.
As another season ends, everyone will likely enjoy the game for the game itself. Another long offseason begins. Every team starts over at 0-0. And the hopes and aspirations of making it to the next Superbowl once again start to bloom in everyone’s heads. The New England Patriots vs the Atlanta Falcons will play in Superbowl LI and end the 2016-2017 NFL season, but the end of the game will now start the start of the 2017-2018 season, which will make 30 other teams very happy. Enjoy the game.