The Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI on Sunday from Houston, Texas. RSR staff give our predictions for the game here.
New England will…
* Keep Julio Jones to less than 60 yards receiving for 3 1/2 quarters until he gets a 50+ yard gain in the 4th. But the focus upon Jones opens things up for Sanu, Gabriel, Freeman and Coleman who will combine for 225+ receiving yards.
* Keep the Falcons ground attack to less than 100 yards.
* Try and take the air out of the football and pound LeGarrette Blount into a light Falcons’ front seven 25+ times. It results in 125+ yards
* Dink and dunk and fail to have a single completion > 25 yards.
* Press the Patriots receivers and rush only 3 players frequently in order to upset Brady’s rhythm and force him to hold the ball longer than he wants. This will also reduce the Patriots’ opportunities for YAC.
* Employ stunts on their defensive front to confuse the Patriots O-Line. They will drop Brady twice.
* Not reach their playoff average of 457.5 yards of offense but Matt Ryan will eclipse his gross passing yardage over/under prop bet total of 325.5.
* Score a TD on their last possession when Matt Ryan completes a pass to little used TE Austin Hooper for the game winner.
Falcons 24, Patriots 20
* The coin toss is heads.
* DeVonta Freeman will score the first TD.
* First quarter ends Falcons 7, Patriots 6
* First half ends Patriots 13, Falcons 10
* Third quarter ends Patriots 20, Falcons 17
* Over/Under on # of penalties is 12 ½. Go under!
* Luke Bryan’s National Anthem will go under the 2:15 mark. No one will take a knee.
* Joe Buck’s tie will be red and Troy Aikman’s blue.
How can you go against Brady and Belicheck, especially after all they have been through? They have been the best team in the league all season and offensively they have been very hard to beat.
But then they are playing the Falcons. A team that everyone has overlooked all year. They have put up a remarkable offensive season, and they are fun to watch. Defensively they are also very good. There is no reason they shouldn’t be favored to win this game.
Two great offensive teams will likely make this game come down to who can make the most stops on defense. I say the Falcons do, and Matt Ryan finally makes his mark in this league.
Falcons win Super Bowl LI 34-27.
Tom Brady is the best football player I’ve ever seen. He reportedly has some family issues going on, which I believe will only drive him to succeed even more. The Patriots got to where they did (the AFC’s top seed) without Brady at the beginning of the year and without Rob Gronkowski for half the season.
Atlanta is an excellent team. Its running game is special. Julio Jones may be the best receiver in football. That said, they did just scoot by a beat up Packers defense. New England will pose much more of a threat on Sunday.
I’m going with the best player (and coach) I’ve ever seen to win it all on Sunday.
Patriots 35, Falcons 28.
There seems to be a sense of invincibility around the Patriots these days. That probably has something to do with the fact that I live in Boston, but either way they feel like a pretty heavy favorite.
I doubted the Falcons pretty much all the way through the playoffs: I thought they would lose to Seattle and they embarrassed Pete Carroll’s squad. I figured Aaron Rodgers‘ hot streak would send Matty Ice home and I was wrong there as well. The Falcons didn’t barely make it to Super Bowl LI – they dominated the competition along the way.
This game has the makings of a shootout and it will be just that after the initial early nerves wear off. The Patriots are good at taking away a team’s best offensive weapon but Julio Jones is a monster and will make an impact no matter what. I think the difference in this game will be the Falcons running backs both on the ground and through the air.
My most important prediction is that I will watch Super Bowl LI with a detached interest, as a football fan, rather than ignoring it and glancing at my phone for the score every now and again as I’d be doing if the Pittsburgh Steelers had lucked their way into another title game.
Ravens fans who wanted Pittsburgh to beat the Pats: you’re all insane. Would you have wanted to hear about how the DURRRR IMMACULATE EXTENSION DURRRRR paved the way to the HURRRR STAIRWAY TO SEVEN HURRRRR for the rest of our lives? I’d rather not. Thanks, Patriots.
Aside from that, I think the game goes UNDER the 59-point mark Vegas has currently set. Bill Belichick will do what he does and come up with something brand new to stymie the high-flying Atlanta offense – for a half. The teams go into the locker room locked at 13.
Kyle Shanahan figures something out in the game’s final 30 minutes though, and Atlanta outscores New England 17-14 in the second half. Matt Ryan’s QB rating is 20 points higher than Tom Brady’s. Julio Jones scores a touchdown in the game’s final minute. Congrats to former Salisbury Seagull Dan Quinn, who gets revenge for the Super Bowl his defense should have won against the Pats two years ago, had the offense just given the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the goalline.
Falcons 30 Patriots 27
Every time the Patriots seem to be overmatched and everybody picks against them? They quickly shut us up by out-coaching their opponent for 60 minutes en route to a victory.
I expect the same this week.
The Falcons offense gives us absolutely no reason to doubt they’ll score… but New England will game plan accordingly and stifle them. Meanwhile New England’s offense gives us no reason to expect them to put up a ton of points… but they’ll game plan their way to 30 this Sunday.
While we can all continue to be bitter with the Pats as they collect yet another ring, at least Flacco still has more Rings/SB MVP than Matt Ryan!