The New England Patriots, a team that will be making its seventh Super Bowl appearance in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era, will be going up against the Atlanta Falcons, a team that hasn’t been seen in the Super Bowl since 1999, in Super Bowl 51.
While fans are likely hoping for a showdown for the ages, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Patriots ended up blowing out the Falcons on Super Bowl Sunday. With that said, Atlanta is riding a six-game winning streak, it earned the No. 2 seed in the NFC for a reason; Matt Ryan could end up winning the NFL MVP; and the Falcons have the best offense in football (averaged 33.8 points per game during the regular season, which was the best mark in the NFL).
While Brady has earned four Super Bowl rings over the years, he is not unstoppable. The New York Giants would likely agree, as they have knocked off a Brady-led team twice in the big game.
All of that aside, a Patriots blowout in Super Bowl 51 would not be surprising. Let’s break that down in further detail, shall we?
Brady: most Super Bowl appearances all-time (player)
Belichick: most Super Bowl appearances all-time (head coach) pic.twitter.com/Ad1SvYB50T
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 23, 2017
First and foremost, while everyone is talking about how lethal the Falcons have been on the offensive side of the ball this season — and they have been — it’s important to note that New England also has a top offense in this sport. The Patriots were third in the NFL in the scoring department with 27.6 points per game.
While New England’s defense doesn’t exactly get as much credit as the Seattle Seahawks’ defense has gotten in recent memory, and while this same New England D doesn’t have a big name like Von Miller or J.J. Watt, it has still managed to be the stingiest defense in the NFL this season. After all, the Patriots’ defense only gave up 15.6 points per game in 2016, which was, of course, the best mark in football.
Reminder: Defense tends to win championships. Case in point: The Denver Broncos last season.
If one of the most overplayed sayings in sports (defense wins championships) proves to be true yet again, then the Atlanta Falcons are in serious trouble.
Atlanta gave up a whopping 25.4 points per game during the regular season (ranked 27th in the NFL in that category). Sure, the Falcons have cleaned things up in the playoffs, as they are only giving up 20.5 points per contest, but they are about to go up against the best quarterback in football (possibly of all time).
For all it’s worth, Atlanta has never taken down Brady.
Tom Brady has ALWAYS had the Falcons number. pic.twitter.com/VDKzh5KD7e
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) January 24, 2017
Records, stats, and things of that nature tend to go out the window come playoff time. However, folks can’t forget that the Patriots have only lost two times this season. As for their last lost, you would have to go all the way back to November 13 to find it. That loss did come against Seattle, though, a team that Atlanta knocked off in the postseason by the score of 36-20.
On top of a solid offense and defense, the Patriots being the best team in football (according to records, that is), the Patriots having Tom Brady and Bill Belichick (four Super Bowl victories don’t lie), and the fact that Atlanta does not have the most stingy defense in the game (the Pats do, though), Atlanta also doesn’t match up well with New England, according to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell.
“The Patriots are just a nightmare matchup for what the Falcons do well. Unless they manage to hold onto the suffocating pass rush they’ve shown over the past two games, the Falcons seem likely to come up short.”
Will Super Bowl 51 actually be a blowout? Who knows.
Yes, an overtime (for once, because the Super Bowl has never gone into extra time, if you will) would be nice. Everything remains a mystery at this point, though, and that is the beauty of sports.
[Featured Image by Jim Rogash/Getty Images]