Superbowl LI Preview

It’s that time of year again when The Man Times fails to predict the outcome of the Super Bowl, fills a thousand words of text with failed hot takes and generally demonstrates our complete lack of ability to predict the future. This year’s Super Bowl matchup is a particular pain in the posterior to call because the teams involved are so difficult to separate.

On the one hand, we have the New England Patriots, with the GOAT at quarterback who finished the regular season with the highest passer rating. Not only that he is backed up by the team who conceded the fewest points per game in the Regular season and made more tackles than any other team. Not only that but they’re coached by one of the greatest too and their ability to out think and out coach other teams is legendary.

On the other hand, there’s the Atlanta Falcons, they scored more points in the regular season than any other team, 71 more points than any other team and are one of only 7 teams this century to score more than 500 points in a season. So, good is this Atlanta offence in fact that it’s the 7th equal all time highest scoring team in a single season, level with the greatest show on turf! Dan Quinn has already coached a team at the super bowl as defensive co-ordinator for the Seattle Seahawks and if we’re honest that defence hasn’t been quite right since he left. So, we have an all-time offence and a head coach who has co-ordinated an all-time defence at the highest level.

This might come down to who squeaks the game defensively. Atlanta have 7 INTs in the 2016 regular season to New England’s 2, they also have 34 sacks to New England’s 24. New England have the slightly better number of takeaways on the season thanks to their many fumble recoveries. Counter to that, the Patriots have allowed far fewer sacks, 24, compared to the Falcons, 37 so whoever can get to the quarterback might edge this game.

Of the 6 teams, all-time to have scored more than the Falcons offense two have been quarterbacked by Tom Brady so the Patriots are far from toothless and to consider them as such would be foolhardy.

The two offences are very similar in how they run the ball, using a variety of defensive backs to move the ball in different ways and both teams have been equally effective in doing so averaging very similar rushing yards per game. On the passing side, the Falcons have the edge and one major contributing factor has been Julio Jones moving the ball. His mere presence in the Red Zone is enough to divert a lot of attention, and it has been doing so. He’s averaging a career high 17 Yards per catch, one thing that doesn’t appear to have made it into Jones’s game this season is touchdowns scoring just 6 this season, which is good enough for a tie of 25th in the League. This isn’t a slight on Jones however moreover a credit to just how much attention of a defence he demands, though despite all his receiving yards incredibly Jones has only had a double-digit Touchdown season once!

This comes down to NFL sack leader Vic Beasley, if he can get to Tom Brady then expect this to be a very long evening’s work for the Patriots. A lot of pressure rests on rookie Deion Jones who lead the Falcons in tackles during the regular season, the rookie will have a lot of work to do getting after James White and Dion Lewis when Brady can get the ball out of his hands quickly. The Patriots line backing corps will similarly have plenty to do dealing with the dual threat of Freeman and Coleman from the backfield. If either of these two are able to break into open space, they have the power to quickly ruin anybody’s day.

This is difficult to call, far more difficult to call than one would like. The question I suppose is which team I’d like to damn with my entirely inaccurate predictions. So, I’m going to call it for the Falcon’s, they’re hot at the right time and I mean on fire and they’re going to be riding the crest of a wave after completely destroying Green Bay.

So, there we have it. The Man Times says if you’re going to bet, bet on the Falcons.

Congratulations New England!