Super Bowl LI is upon is. Well in 2 weeks. The Atlanta Falcons are making only their second appearance in the big game. Their last appearance was 1999 against the Denver Broncos. This version of the Dirty Birds has a greater chance of making history than having it repeat itself with a loss. Let’s take a closer look at the 2016 Atlanta Falcons.
The offense is led by MVP candidate Matt Ryan. Matty Ice, as he is often referred to, has finally shaken the moniker of not being able to win a big game. He has come out and had one the most consistent years for a QB in the modern era. He was 373/534, he had 4944 yards, threw for 38 TDs and 7 INTs on the season. He had a completion percentage of 70%. This was by far and away his best season as a pro and it showed in why Atlanta is making in appearance in the big game.
Matt Ryan is not just the offense of the Atlanta Falcons, however. They have a two-headed running attack led by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Freeman is the lead back with over 1000 yards rushing on the season. Coleman is the change of pace guy for the Falcons. If Freeman needs a break or the Falcons want to go with a little more pass they will bring in Tevin Coleman. Either way, you stack these two in the lineup makes the Falcons very hard to defend.
The wide receiving group has also had a great season. Of course, when you speak of Atlanta WRs you would be lost if you did not mention Julio Jones. The 6’6” 220lb WR had 83 catches on the season for just over 1400 yards. Keep in my mind that he only played in 14 games this season. The x-factor of the Atlanta receiving squad is Taylor Gabriel. The first years Falcon came over from the Cleveland Browns to be with coordinator Kyle Shanahan, with whom he played for in 2014. He takes some of the pressure off of Julio Jones. Teams underestimate Gabriel’s ability and once he gets hot he needs to be accounted for. This then opens up for Jones and the other first year Falcone, veteran Mohamed Sanu. With these 3 on the field at any given time, Matt Ryan usually has his choice of open receiver.
The Atlanta Falcons finished the regular season as the number one scoring offense, the number two overall offense, the number five rushing offense, and the number two passing offense. I believe that this gives them an edge in this game. If they can continue playing at the level they have been all year I believe the City of Atlanta, GA will be preparing to open Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2017 with the raising of a Super Bowl LI Champions Banner on Thursday Night Football!