No matter what time of day, we all have those certain movies we have to watch when they come on. I have two, The Matrix and The Notebook, both are considered classics. Now, it doesn’t matter that I know almost every line, it doesn’t matter that I know what is going to happen from start to finish. There is just a comfort zone when I see these movies. The same can be said about the New England Patriots. No matter what happens during the regular season, no matter who gets injured you know they will always be there at the end. Since 2001, New England has played in 11 AFC Championship Games and this will be their 7th Super Bowl. The Atlanta Falcons are making their 2nd Super Bowl appearance. They last time they played for a championship was in 1999 when they lost to the Denver Broncos 34-19. As of Thursday morning, the Patriots are a 4-point favorite. I thought it would have been higher but, I have learned to never question Las Vegas
Early on in the season, I stated that the best “Big3” in football was in Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.) That title now goes to the Atlanta Falcons. QB, Matt Ryan passed for 4944 yards, 38 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions. WR, Julio Jones had 1409 yards, 6 touchdowns and averaged 17 yards per catch. RB, Devonta Freeman rushed for almost 1,100 yards, averaged 4.8 yards per rush, 11 touchdowns and caught 54 passes on the year. Atlanta is downright scary on offense they are ranked 2nd in total yards (415.8) per game, 3rd in passing yards (295.3) and 1st in points (33.8). Their defense was ranked below 25th in almost every category. Where they could struggle in this game is on 3rd down. They were ranked 26th in the league in stopping opponents on 3rd down, giving up a first down 41.8% of the time.
Everyone wants to talk about the Patriots offense but here is a stat the casual fan does not know. New England was number 1 in the NFL giving up only 15.6 points per game. That is an amazing stat considering they blew out a ton of teams. One would think that they would give up points, late in games protecting a big lead, but they haven’t. The NFL is all about offense now so for any team to hold an opponent under 20 points is a tremendous accomplishment. The offense is led by the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady. In only 12 games Brady had 3,554 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions. RB, LeGarrette Blount may be the most underrated player in the NFL. He rushed for 1,161 yards and led the league with 18 touchdowns. WR, Julian Edelman had 98 receptions and 1,106 yards. WR, Chris Hogan led the entire league with 21.2 yards per catch.
For years, I have watched the Jets and Bills try and beat the Patriots with Rex Ryan and Todd Bowles, defensive minded coaches. That doesn’t work consistently. You can stop the Patriots on occasion (Denver did it last year in the AFC Championship) but the only way to consistently beat them is by outscoring them. Atlanta has the formula to do that. They have two very good running backs and a passing game that is second to none. Atlanta has more explosive playmakers than the Patriots.
New England has two things you shouldn’t bet on…. Brady and Bill Belichick… and they are both still pissed off about Deflategate. They are one game away from winning 5 Super Bowls. That would be the most by any coach and the most by any quarterback. The difference in this game will be the Patriots ability to constantly convert on third downs. Patriots win in a high scoring shootout and the Coach and QB will make history…
Patriots 37… Falcons 31.
Follow the Sports Whisperer on Twitter: Montetjwitter11