What’s up, guys! Happy Super Bowl Sunday. Welcome to my preview of the big game. I’ve been out all weekend and we’re short on time so it’ll just be a quick one, but I think you guys will enjoy it. Let’s get into it!
When the Falcons run the ball
The Falcons have the NFL’s premier running back tandem in Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman. Both are dangerous weapons as pass-catchers and rushers. The Patriots are tough against the run, but the primary focus for New England’s defense will be Matt Ryan and his plethora of targets, allowing opportunities for Coleman and Freeman to make big plays. EDGE: Falcons
When the Falcons throw the ball
No disrespect to the newly crowned MVP Matt Ryan, but the key to this offense is wideout Julio Jones. Jones, at 6-3′, is the most dominant receiver in the NFL. The Patriots will be hyper-focused on keeping him in check, but he’s not the only scoring threat in the Falcons receiving corps. Mohammed Sanu and lightning-quick Taylor Gabriel combined for 10 touchdowns this regular season, and as I mentioned above, Coleman and Freeman are talented pass catchers. The Patriots boast one of the best secondaries in the NFL, but the Falcons air attack (and Jones in particular) will be too much for them to handle. EDGE: Falcons
When the Patriots run the ball
The Patriots also have multiple options in the backfield. LaGarrette Blount is a grind-and-pound type, whereas Dion Lewis and James White are dual-threat backs. Expect Lewis and White to have a big impact on this game, as the Falcons’ front 7 is more suited to defend a bruiser than dynamic, light-footed backs like the two. The Patriots should have the edge here. EDGE: Patriots
When the Patriots pass the ball
The loss of star tight end Rob Gronkowski for the season to injury didn’t faze future Hall of Famer Tom Brady much. The legend has been just fine with star Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, who has developed into an extremely dangerous deep-ball threat, and tight end Martellus Bennett, who has filled in for Gronk quite nicely. The Falcons’ secondary will need to be extremely disciplined to avoid getting picked apart by Brady. Even if they do, it’s unlikely they’ll have much luck in this scenario. EDGE: Patriots
The Patriots have been here before, winning four Super Bowls since 2002 and playing in six. Heck, Tom Brady has more Super Bowl appearances than the entire Falcons team. But Atlanta isn’t like any team they’ve faced in those six Super Bowl appearances. Offensively, the Falcons appear unstoppable. The young and talented defense isn’t too far behind either, but Matt Ryan and co. are the reason Atlanta is here. The Falcons are on such a roll I doubt that history will play much of a role this year. It’s never a good idea to bet against Brady and Belichick, but if there is a time for it, it’s right now. You heard it here first: The Falcons will win Super Bowl LI 28-23.