The New England Patriots are this year’s Super Bowl yet again, and many without any hesitation are taking them as the victors. The Atlanta Falcons are much more than just another opponent for the Patriots, as they have the weapons to capture their first title in the franchise’s history.
On Sunday, the Patriots and the Falcons will square off in Houston, Texas at NRG Stadium for Super Bowl LI. New England is the slight favorite heading into the contest, with the Patriots being the three-point favorites over the young Falcons.
After a mediocre 8-8 2015 season, the Falcons returned in 2016 with a 11-5 record, winning the NFC South. Their success stems from possessing the best offense in the NFL. Some fans like the idea of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handing the Lombardi Trophy to future Hall-of-Famers Tom Brady and Bill Belichick after Brady was suspended for four games in the regular season due to the ‘deflateagate’ scandal of 2015. The Falcons should not be overlooked, as they feel it is their year to ‘Rise Up.’
The Falcons know they will have their hands full on both sides of the ball, but their recent performances have showed they belong on a big stage like this one. This is a championship-caliber football team that is completely capable of beating the Patriots on Sunday.
To beat the Patriots, it is going to take everything the Falcons have in every element of the game. New England brings in a defense that ranks first in scoring defense. They have shown repeatedly they are extremely difficult to score on; against the run, the Patriots are fourth in rushing yards against with 88.6. Any time Brady takes the field, the defense must recognize that and cover the passing game. As long as the Falcons can consistently put pressure on Brady, New England will have to turn to their running game, which has not been relied on heavily for the most part in Brady’s career.
New England’s secondary is effective, yet still has their flaws. In fact, they’re fairly average. The Patriots are only the 12th best team against the pass, allowing 237.9 yards per game, according to nfl.com. 21 of the 27 total touchdowns allowed by the Patriots during the regular season have come through the air. They have also given up a touchdown in each of their playoff games, and have averaged more than one passing touchdown against per game all season.
If the Falcons are going to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, their passing game must keep them in it. Ryan has been spreading the ball around the field efficiently. The MVP-candidate in Ryan has thrown touchdowns to 13 different players on offense this season.
“Matty Ice” will frequently look to his star receiver Julio Jones to carry the workload, but don’t be surprised if the Patriots shadow Jones or throw a safety over the top every time he runs down field. The X-Factors in the Super Bowl will be running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Whether it’s on the ground or through the air, these two have provided more depth for the Falcons’ offense.
Both these running backs are extremely productive pass-catchers out of the backfield. Atlanta has experienced great success when at least one of these players can get it going. Ryan and the Falcons’ high-powered offense have more weapons than the Patriots defense can handle if Atlanta’s game plan goes to plan and adjusts to Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick’s schemes.
It’s going to take an almost perfect game on the Falcons’ part to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl ever. The offense will have to spread the ball around and dominate the time of possession, while the defense steps up against Brady and company. The Falcons should win a tightly contested contest.
Final Score: 31-27, Falcons.