#102 Atlanta Falconsvs.#101 New England Patriots
Sunday, February 2 2017, at 6:30pm EST
Written by David Hess
Atlanta Falcons (13-5 SU, 12-6-1 ATS, 15-2-1 O/U) vs New England Patriots (16-2 SU, 15-3-1 ATS, 8-10-0 O/U)
When: 6:30 PM ET, Sunday, February 5, 2017
Where: NRG Stadium In Houston, Texas
Lines: New England -3
Super Bowl 51 has arrived and we will see the Atlanta Falcons play in their second-ever big game, while for the New England patriots, this is their 9th trip to the Super Bowl, which is an NFL record. Both teams are hot as the Patriots have won their last nine games in a row, while the Falcons have won their last six games in a row. These teams last met in 2013 and New England won that game 30-23. The Patriots are 7-6 all-time vs the Falcons.
The Atlanta Falcons have been to the Super Bowl just once in their history and that came in 1999. They lost that game 34-19 to the Denver Broncos. Now they have a chance again to gain their first ever title. It will not be easy as they are facing a dynasty known as the Patriots, but still, they have a very good shot at winning this game. Their offense has been strong all year, while that defense has played well down the stretch. In their first game of the playoffs they outgained a very good Seattle team 422-309 in a 36-20 win and then vs the Packers they outgained them 493-367 in a 44-21 win. This offense has been very strong all year and it has been balanced as well. Matt Ryan had an MVP type season, while Julio Jones was 2nd in the league in receiving and Devonta Freeman was 9th in the league in rushing. This team has a lot of weapons and while they will be facing a good defense, they still have yet to be stopped and that gives them a solid chance of winning. The other thing that gives them a shot is a defense that really played well over the 2nd half of the season and that defense will really need to step up here vs a very good Patriots offense.
During the regular season, the Falcons ranked 1st in the league in scoring, putting up 33.8 ppg. The also ranked 2nd in the league in total yards (415.8 ppg), 3rd in passing (295.3 ypg) and 5th in rushing (120.5 ypg). On the defensive side of the ball they have been better down the stretch, but still not great overall as they ranked 27th in points allowed, giving up 25.4 ppg. They also ranked 25th in yards allowed (371.2 ypg), 28th against the pass (266.7 ypg) and 17th against the run (104.5 ypg).
Making it to the Superbowl is commonplace for the Patriots as this will now be their league-record 9th trip to the big game. The experience factor has to be figured in here as Tom Brady himself has more experience in this game than the entire Atlanta roster combined. Still, this is not a perfect team and the falcons are playing very well at the moment. The Patriots have won their last nine games in a row and they beat the Texans 34-16 and the Steelers 36-17 to get here. Their two losses this year have come at home and they have gone 8-0 on the road. Now they are looking for their five Super Bowl Title in their history. The offense has again been strong this year and has been led by Tom Brady, who has thrown 28 TDs and just two INTs during the regular season. In his two playoff wins he threw for 671 yards with five TDs and two INTs. Brady hasn’t had to do it all this year as their running game has been strong and has been led by LeGarrette Blount, who was 8th in the league in rushing, while Julian Edelman was 13th in the league in receiving yards. They have their own big three like the Falcons do. Edelman has been big in the postseason with 16 catches for 255 yards so far. This team is not all about offense as their defense very strong as you can see from below and they showed just how good they have been as they held a very hot Steelers offense to just 17 points. They did allow 314 yards passing, but just 54 on the ground and that could be big vs an Atlanta offense that has been strong on the ground this year.
The Patriots were strong on both sides of the ball during the regular season. On offense they ranked 3rd in the league in scoring, putting up 27.6 ppg. The also ranked 4th in the league in total yards (386.2 ppg), 4th in passing (269.2 ypg) and 7th in rushing (117.0 ypg). On the defensive side of the ball they ranked 1st in points allowed, giving up just 15.6 ppg. They also ranked 8th in yards allowed (326.4 ypg), 12th against the pass (237.9 ypg) and 3rd against the run (88.6 ypg).
New England is:
Can the Patriots win their 5th Super Bowl Title? Well, if they do then they will have earned it as this is a very good Atlanta team. The Falcons have a strong offense that can be unstoppable when it is on, while their defense has played really well down the stretch of the season. They have allowed just 20.8 ppg in their last 8 games, while their first 10m games they gave up 28.3 ppg. This defense will be tested in this one and the Patriots have a very strong defense as well, but can they slow down an offense that hasn’t been slowed down all year? I’m thinking no. The experience factor is hard to ignore in this game, but there is just something about the way the Falcons are playing right now and they should ride the right arm of Matt Ryan and an improved defense to their first Super Bowl Title ever.
Both of these teams have high-powered offenses. The Falcons lead the league in scoring, while the Pats are 3rd. Both teams can throw the ball all over the field and both can ground it out as well. The Super Bowl is a high pressure game and I look for a bit more running in this game, especially early on. Because of the two offenses that are on the field, the defenses have been overlooked and i feel that is a mistake. The Falcons have allowed just 20.5 ppg in their last eight games, while the Pats have allowed just 15.6 ppg all year and they have allowed just 33 points in the postseason. I feel that big games breed more conservativity and that will happen here. These defenses have what it takes to keep this one Under the total.
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