Welcome to the NFL Picks, Super Bowl edition.
For this show, I asked the panel to not only pick the winner, but the MVP. Just for the record, I’ll take Red as the Gatorade color, and the over/under on Lady Gaga/Trump references is 3 1/2 and I’ll take the over.
Chad: Patriots 30 Falcons 27
QB Matt Ryan… 373/534; 4944 yards; 7 INTS.
RB Devonta Freeman… 1079 yards rushing; Tevin Coleman… 520 yards
Atlanta is 2nd total offense; 3rd in passing; 5th in rushing… it ain’t just the passing game. They only had 8 fumbles as a team and lost only 4.
New England offense
QB Tom Brady… 291/4323; 3554 yards; 2 INTs
RB LeGarrette Blount… 1161 yards rushing
New England is 4th in total offense; 4th in passing; 7th in rushing… it ain’t just all Brady in NE either. NE fumbled 27 times but lost only 9.
In the post season Atlanta has edges in both the passing game (357 yards a game to NE’s 336 yards a game) and the running game (with 100 yards a game to NE’s 77 yards a game.)
Penalties generally are not an issue for either team Atlanta had 104; NE had 93 and in the postseason has been more of the same with Atlanta having 6; NE with 7.
Both Brady and Ryan don’t throw INTs in 2016 and both use more than one or two receivers. Both teams have decent running games and can feature more than just one back.
Atlanta defense was 27th overall but their rookie led defense was vastly improving as the season closed… 17th against the run; 28th against the pass.
New England was 4th overall… 3rd against the run; 12th against the pass.
New England and Atlanta tied in their sack attack… both at 16th best in the league with 34 each. New England had 13 INTs; Atlanta had 12. New England forced 19 fumbles and recovered 10; Atlanta forced 17 and recovered 10.
In the postseason Atlanta has 5 sacks, New England 3; New England has 4 INTs, Atlanta has 3 INTs; New England and Atlanta both forced 1 fumble and recovered that fumble.
A couple of clichés but I think they will ring true in this Super Bowl… expect the unexpected. We know New England will do it because they have already with flea flickers and the like. Expect Atlanta to throw in at least one trick play and the game could swing on that play if it actually works or not.
Defense wins… expect defense to swing the game…
Now the game… The numbers are a lot close than many people think. But New England has been here before… they got Brady, they got Belichek and they got a damn good defense. Yeah, that defense can be scary at times.
Atlanta is the new kid on the block.
Atlanta is still gonna win this game because their defense is not as bad as people think. Throw out those regular season numbers and look at the post season. The surprise in this Super Bowl may be that Atlanta’s defense forces at least two lost forced fumbles… NE sometimes has a tendency to drop the ball and that is gonna haunt them in this Super Bowl.
Atlanta won’t stop Brady but they will force other Patriot players to make mistakes… running backs fumbling or receivers dropping the ball after a catch is made… and that is gonna turn the game.
Final score 30-20. Yeah, take the Falcons and the Under…
MVP… Matt Ryan just because the winning team’s QB almost always gets the MVP and he will throw for at least 300 yards and two TDS. The only way Ryan is not the MVP is if Julio Jones goes off and gets 150-plus yards receiving and scores at least two TDS. Or… a defense guy forces more than one fumble and scores a TD.
But I expect Ryan to walk away with the MVP.
David: I think the game is really pretty simple.
It comes down to Sanu. The Pats are masters at making option 1 go away. That means Sanu is going to be left alone while Julio Jones is double and triple-teamed and the running game is limited because the Falcons offensive line isn’t that great. If Sanu can get going, then the Pats will have to deal with him, so maybe that linebacker takes a step to the left instead of toward Matt Ryan. That could give the running back duo an extra second or an extra foot in the hole, or maybe that FS doesn’t spend the entire drive providing deep cover on Julio. If Sanu gets shut down one on one, then the Pats don’t have to chance anything unless the Hoodie wants to, and the Falcons don’t want that.
The Patriots offense is going to be fine. They can get 21-28 points on the Falcons defense. What the game will come down to is weather or not the Falcons score 17 or 35.
I think they score 21, and the Pats get a late touchdown to get 31. Your MVP comes down to Blount or Brady, with Brady getting screwed by a media that hates the Pats and Trump.
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