Patriots vs. Falcons, SuperBowl 51
This Sunday’s game has me in a no-lose scenario. Born and raised outside of Boston. Moved to Atlanta when 24 in 1990. While either team winning would give me reasons to be happy, I am rooting for the Patriots for payback and legacy reasons.
NFL playoff games have been somewhat easy to predict this year, or maybe when picking your very good favorite teams your biased picks work out?
Regardless, this game offers some great match ups. The Falcons offense is exceptionally explosive and the Patriot defense will need to produce a turnover at some point. It is hard to imagine the Falcons not scoring 30+. While the Patriot D is light years ahead of the Packer injury ravaged defense from two weeks ago, they need to play close to a perfect game. They will have to figure out how to contain the duo of Freeman and Coleman, both as runners and as receivers. Why focus on these two, because Julio, Sanu, Gabriel and the tight ends always seem to be open. Ryan will get his yards.
The Patriots offense has seemingly been overlooked by some. Ha! If the Falcons were not playing at a very high level the Patriots offense would be considered the best in the league, even without Gronk.
Edelman is overlooked despite being a tremendous performer for a bunch of years. Hogan provided good route running and picked up slack recently from Gronk. While the Falcons have a tremendous duo in the backfield in Freeman and Coleman, the Patriots (again under the radar) have a three headed running back problem for teams. Blount can pound it, Lewis can do it all and White is elusive and a great 3rd option. The key in my opinion is Bennett. Without Gronk he has made some plays but hasn’t gone huge recently. He has been dealing with injuries but look for him to get one or two touchdown catches.
The Falcon defense has been greatly improved in the second half of the season, they have bought into the whole team brotherhood/ship togetherness. They play hard, hit hard and have youth as their advantage.
Special teams will play a huge part in the game. Both kickers are very good and reliable. Coverage teams sometimes in super bowls are too hyped and take penalties and make mistakes. This is where I think the Patriots get one turnover.
I think the Patriots score in the first quarter, they haven’t in Brady’s six other trips (somehow). I think they trade points more or less in a first half that sees a score somewhere around 17-14 with the Patriots leading at the break.
In the second half, one or more turnovers by the Falcons gives the Patriots a little bigger edge until late in the 4th, then the Falcons come screaming back and make it a one score game late.
Final score, Patriots 37 Falcons 33.