Super Bowl 51

 

This NFL season has been full of surprises and unseen events.  Who would have thought that the Dallas Cowboys, who haven’t been dominate since Emmitt Smith would finish with the best record in the league,  led by rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezikel Elliot, who had dominate starts to their seemingly promising careers.  We also saw the Patriots, without Tom Brady, go 3-1 with two quarterbacks without taking meaningful snaps in the NFL. Many argue that it could just be the system, but the numbers and the wins and the Super Bowls don’t lie, they’ve have arguably the greatest head coach (yes even better than Lombardi) in NFL history. We saw The Bengals, rather than taking the next step forward and winning a playoff game, take two steps back and not even make a wild card game. Then we saw a mediocre Green bay team at best through the first 10 weeks of the season catch fire behind the red hot arm of Aaron Rodgers. Quite possibly the largest surprise that no one saw  coming, including me, was the emergence of Atlanta. Led by MVP Matt Ryan, who has finally answered the question of whether or not he was ‘Elite’ with a bold 2016-2017 campaign. Thats not to take away from the play of Julio Jones, who took off after an average start, and exploded for 300 yards in their week 4 game against a decent Panthers secondary.  Personally, this has been one of my favorite NFL seasons to watch and the field is set for one hell of a Super Bowl.

The matchup pits none other than Tom Brady, who is playing for his 5th ring and his 7th Super Bowl overall, and the Patriots against Matt Ryan and an Atlanta team that has continued to prove everyone, myself included, wrong by making it past the stout NFC. Now you simply cannot deny that Atlanta boasts the best offense in the NFL which includes league MVP and the best receiving core in the NFL, not to mention arguably the best tandem of running backs in the NFL, Coleman and Freeman.   For the Patriots and Brady, winning would ultimately submit Brady’s legacy as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and quite possibly the greatest player as well. As for the Falcons, winning would bring the franchise to a new high they’ve never experienced as it would be the teams first Super Bowl victory and would solidify Matt Ryan’s case as a top 5 quarter back in this league.

Neither defense is necessarily dominate, yet Atlanta’s has been better statistically. Both have played to their strengths well and both have shown weaknesses.  The Patriots had just the 25th best defense statistically in the regular season and 8th best in the playoffs out of 12 teams.  With that being said they have constantly made the plays necessary to keep the Patriots in every game, which shows in their two losses by only 7 and 16 points. They have a very talented defensive back in Malcom Butler who I believe is within the top 10 at his position. He showed just that while holding Antonio Brown to just 77 yards and no touchdowns last week as the Patriots rolled over Pittsburgh.  Atlanta has a very sound defense.  They were ranked 7th in the playoffs and 8th best in the regular season.  Atlanta had the harder path to the Super bowl, they played Seattle and Green Bay.  That being said the defense has been tested.  They held Russell Wilson and red hot Aaron Rodgers in check and dominated both games.  That helps when you have Matt Ryan and Julio.

Now When you look at both these offenses on paper, Atlanta looks a lot better than New England.  Matt, Julio, Sanu, Coleman, Freeman, vs. Brady, Blount, Bennett, Floyd, Edelman, Hogan, Amendola.  The Falcons have a lot of star power vs a lot of good system players.  But the system has won Brady four Super Bowls and taking him to his 7th.  Now Atlanta and New England both have elite offenses. In the regular season Atlanta was 2nd and New England was 4th.  In my opinion New England will win this years Super Bowl, not because of players but because of coaching experience.   Belichick has been there and Quinn hasn’t.

 

Sources.

“Statistics.” NFL Stats: by Team Category. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2017.

“Antonio Brown Stats.” Pro-Football-Reference.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2017.

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