The day we’ve been waiting for all season has finally arrived. It’s Super Bowl Sunday, basically a National holiday across the United States of America. At approximately 6:30 p.m. (eastern time), Super Bowl LI will kick-off in Houston.
Will the trend of MVP winners losing in the Super Bowl continue? Tom Brady is looking to further cement his legacy with a record-breaking fifth Super Bowl championship (his seventh appearance), while Falcons’ MVP quarterback Matt “Matty Ice” Ryan is looking to prove he belongs in the elite class with his first championship.
High-powered offense vs. high-powered offense.
Here’s what we believe each team needs to do in order to take home the hardware tonight (Note: we’ve gone 8-2 in the postseason so far):
How the Falcons Can Win…
For the Falcons on offense, a run-heavy attack early in the game would be the offense balanced enough to set up the passing game later in the game and keep the Patriots’ defense uneasy. This defensive unit hasn’t faced a passing offense as lethal as Atlanta’s yet this season, aside from Pittsburgh’s two weeks ago. But even then, without Le’Veon Bell Pittsburgh’s offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders. This is a much different offense in Atlanta. If they just do what they’ve done the last six or seven games, Matt Ryan could potentially drop 30-40 points on New England and put themselves in good position. Atlanta’s defense slowing down Belichick/Brady is a different story. It’s hard to know exactly who to prepare for, as New England’s offense has a different hero every week. I can almost guarantee you they won’t be targeting Chris Hogan exactly like they were against Pittsburgh in the championship. But slowing down the run game and putting pressure on Brady (which is something Vic Beasley has loved doing this year) could go a long way in keeping the offense in check.
How the Patriots Can Win…
For New England, a classic Tom Brady game for Tom Brady and a decent outing from the defense could be enough for the Patriots to pull off a win. Although I think they’ll need to keep the Falcons to under 30 points in order to have a chance. And, if they let up 40 points to Atlanta it’s game over. Thirty points is do-able, but they can’t afford a 40 spot from Matt Ryan. Wideout Julio Jones is just too lethal to let run around in the secondary. Head coach Bill Belichick has had two weeks to prepare for this game, which is dangerous considering what he can do in just one week’s worth of work. So you know he’ll be utilizing every tool and every play in his playbook, but personally I believe a heavy dosage of running back LeGarrette Blount early on in the game would play a huge impact in this game and keep Atlanta’s pass-rush on the edge. A 100-yard, 1 TD game from Blount, a couple of passing touchdowns from Brady and keeping Atlanta to under 30-35 points should be the perfect storm for New England this evening.
Game Prediction: Patriots 34, Falcons 28.
It’s either New England’s fifth Super Bowl championship in nine appearances, or it’s Atlanta’s first Super Bowl championship in two appearances.
Although I’d absolutely love to see Matt Ryan win his first SB ring and see Salisbury University alum Dan Quinn defeat goliath (and will be cheering on Atlanta), I’m not sure I foresee that happening tonight. I wouldn’t mind if this prediction proved to be wrong, of course.
– – – – –
Aside from the game itself, there are so many other questions we’re all eager to find the answers to.
How long will it take country star Luke Bryan to
Will Lady Gaga politicize her halftime performance? (That one probably shouldn’t even be asked, because of course she will).
How many times will Donald Trump, or deflategate, be mentioned on air?
Will we see overtime?
So many questions, and even if this game turns into a blowout it will be record-breaking one way or the other.
Enjoy the game!
Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images