Super Bowl 51
I have been advocating for years to make the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday. Everyone is stuffed to the gills with food and booze, with a resonating sadness that football is gone til September. Tom Brady, the GOAT (Greatest Of All-Time), who sometimes models with goats leads his New England Patriots into Houston’s NRG Stadium at 6:30PM EST to take on Matt Ryan and the high-flyin’ Falcons. The only way I will call Ryan “Matty Ice” is if he wins Super Bowl 51, otherwise he remains “Matty Default” because he looks like about 1 billion other people, with a face so non-descript you immediately forget it. Kind of like the entire Atlanta sports scene – a place where the Atlanta Braves recorded a record 14 straight division titles in an empty stadium.
I am not alone in dissing the Atlanta sports scene, as famed Boston sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy just eviscerated them with this tasty hot take: “We do not hate Atlanta nor its sports fans. We can’t even summon the old “Casablanca” line when Rick Blaine tells a petty thief, “If I gave you any thought I probably would despise you.” No. It’s not that. When it comes to Atlanta and its sports fans, we feel nothing. Maybe a little pity.”
Despite all of this, we’re pulling for Atlanta to take home the Lombardi trophy at Super Bowl 51. They have a distinct “no one wants us here or thinks we can win” vibe about them. That yields champions. Just ask the 2007 New York Giants who were playing an arrogant, and weirdly old (Junior Seau was 39 years old, Tedy Bruschi 34) undefeated New England Patriots team.
How do these teams stack up for Super Bowl 51? Let’s break it down:
QB – Pats, no need to explain.
RB: While Dion Lewis is somewhat dynamic and LeGarrette Blount had a fantastic season, the Falcons 1-2 punch with Devante Freeman and Tevin Coleman gets the edge because of their pass-catching ability and elusive speed.
WR/TE: This is tough, Julian Edelman is sneakily one of the toughest covers in the league with his great hands and crisp route running, Marty Bennett is an adept blocker and athletic TE, with Amendola, Hogan, and Malcolm Mitchell all reliable options. But thing is, they don’t scare you – like Julio Jones does. The man is a menace, and by being one, opens lanes up for forever second-fiddle Mohamed Sanu and the speedy Taylor Gabriel. Advantage Atlanta.
O-Line: All I know is Brady loves yelling at his line, like a lot. And after he yells at them like a parent whose child willingly let thieves into their home, they will be disheartened and fall apart. Matt Ryan’s line with a rejuvenated Alex Mack and NFL royalty Jake Matthews is fantastic. The line protects Ryan and opens holes for the RB’s. Advantage Atlanta!
Special teams: Toss-up. Stephen Gostkowski is great but he could have some bad BBQ in Houston and blow the game. Who knows?
Defense: These squads are pretty even with similar amount of take-aways, sacks, and yards given up per game. Let’s call this one even. If the Falcons hit Brady early and often, it will force mistakes. They should be dialing up some exotic blitzes, which may get them burned – only problem is who on the Pats will burn them?
Prediction: Atlanta 24 New England 21, MVP: Julio Jones
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For additional information on the NFL or the Super Bowl, you can find everything you need to know over at this website: NFL.com