We are officially seven, yes, SEVEN days to the biggest game of the year!
Super Bowl LI
At the start of the season, the Patriots had the best odds of winning the Super Bowl at 6/1. Atlanta had the fifth worst chance at 80/1 (Jets and Jaguars ranked above the Falcons). Yes, you read it correctly.
Both Brady and Ryan aspire to NFL Most Valuable Player honors; An NFL MVP hasn’t won the Super Bowl since Kurt Warner did in 1999.
The last time the Atlanta Falcons reached the Super Bowl was Super Bowl 33 during the ’98 -’99 season. Unfortunately, they suffered a 34-19 loss to the Denver Broncos. Inefficiency in the red zone ultimately cost the Falcons the game.
During the regular season, the Falcons had the second-ranked offense in the league, averaging 415.8 yards / game. New England ranked fourth in the league with 386.3 yards / game (4 games without Brady). Both teams were ranked # 1 and # 2 in point difference. The Patriots ranked first with 441 points scored and 250 against, reaching a differential of 191; The Falcons were in second place with 540 points scored and 406 against, coming to a differential of 134. Don’t let those stats determine your game winner, as the Patriots averaged 27.6 points / game and the Falcons averaged 33.8 points / game .
Super Bowl LI will mark the Patriots’ ninth appearance, which is the number of victories the Falcons have in the postseason (9).
Atlanta is making its second Super Bowl appearance. This year marked the first time the Falcons won multiple playoff games in the same year. Since 2000, the team is 5-6 in the postseason. In 2013, they lost the NFC Championship to the 49ers after entering the Niners’ red zone with less than two minutes remaining and failed to score.
Atlanta appears to have a different ending this year, coming in with the top-ranked offense. The Falcons must be aggressive on defense. Going after Brady is the most important key to them. MVP hopeful Matt Ryan should be in his A-game, just like he’s been all year.
Atlanta’s 540 points scored this season is the seventh most in NFL history and 71 points ahead of the next best team. His defense allowed the sixth-most points in the NFL this year and he ranked 25th overall. Atlanta has outscored its opponents 80-41 in the playoffs.
One matchup worth watching is Julio Jones vs. Malcolm Butler. Jones finished the NFC championship game with 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Like he has done all year, he has been unstoppable. Julio has a total of 15 receptions this postseason with 247 yards gained and three touchdowns. This confrontation will surely be a determining factor, as whoever wins this match can give a huge boost to the confidence on their side of the ball.
New England Patriots
Super Bowl LI will be Brady / Belichick’s seventh appearance ranking first in history in most appearances by a head coach / player combination. Patriots are 4-2 in Brady / Belichick era; both losses went to the Giants and Kryptonite Eli Manning.
Two interesting statistics for Tom Brady:
- He has never lost to the Falcons in four career games, throwing nine touchdowns and one interception and has his highest quarterback rating against Atlanta.
- Tom Terrific also has never lost to a team he’s in the playoffs and he’s seeing for the first time this season.
The most important and crucial key to this game for the Patriots? Offensive line. If the offensive line can protect Brady from the Falcons’ vicious defense, the Patriots will surely win. New England high school is also key. They must try to contain Jones and Sanu if they want to be successful.
Brady will attempt to become the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have 5 rings. A victory would tie Bart Starr for the most NFL titles ever achieved by a quarterback. Starr won three NFL championships before the Super Bowl era and two Super Bowls.
Super Bowl LI will be an epic event with the potential to be one of the best matchups ever.
I’m predicting a great day for both quarterbacks. Brady and Ryan will combine for more than 700 passing yards and more than 5 touchdowns thrown. I think the Patriots will win 35-31 in the end. I firmly believe that the last one to have the ball will win this game. It is sure to be exciting and I can’t wait to enjoy the best show on the grass.