Oh yeah! Are you ready? The greatest game in American all of sports is set to be played Sunday night in Houston. Seriously, after the Super Bowl, we fall off the sports cliff (but pitchers and catchers report on zzzzzzzzzzzz).
Anyway, the high-flying Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots. Yes, the same Patriots that are always in the Super Bowl. With the same cheating quarterback, same cheating coach, and same cast of bit-players and discarded running backs and receivers who somehow become great once they put on that stupid uniform. I’m looking at you Chris Hogan! Hilariously, Roid Rage has to tell you why the Patriots will win the Super Bowl. For a devout Buffalo Bills fan (is there any other kind?) that must be the most painful experience since the Music City Miracle (sorry, bro). Well, if you’re like 99% of Americans (and 100% of Americans who can pronounce the letter r) there’s only one to root for come Sunday. So let me tell you why the Atlanta Falcons will win the Super Bowl.
Let’s start with a video, shall we: I call this one, Julio-ma-god!
Everyone loves to talk about quarterbacks, but I like to talk about the most dominant player on the field. That is Julio Jones, who has absolutely lit up the field in the postseason. Here’s Julio’s stat line this postseason: 15/247/3. In two games! He is unstoppable. Even when he’s doubled, or guarded with safety help underneath, he’s a threat (watch that video again).
Julio’s an atypical wide receiver, in that he’s not a complete self-absorbed diva. You’ll never see him taking videos in the locker room, or partying with Bieber. His laid back, unassuming attitude might not get him headlines, but he’s not looking for that. He’s looking to win. That doesn’t mean he lacks confidence, he just doesn’t need to be a dick about it. During the (annoyingly long) media day, Julio was asked if anyone can guard him. In a very polite, yet matter-of-fact tone, Julio responded. “One-on-one, no I do not.” Period. And we believe him.
Julio is only the beginning of the problem for the Patriots. Simply put: the Falcons have a more complete offense than the Patriots. Both running and receiving are (by far) superior to New England. Stick that in your Wahlbahgah! Mohammed Sanu has scored a touchdown in each playoff game this year, and Taylor Gabriel continues to display is “X-factor” [draft day drinking game term…chug!]. He hasn’t scored in the postseason (yet), but we love his work on the inside. That’s where the Patriots D is most vulnerable. They’ll work to contain Julio and Sanu outside, which should leave lanes for Gabriel and his ridiculous speed.
Who’s the receiving game’s best friend, you ask? A running game. And the Falcons succeed there too. Devonta Freeman’s so, good, he’s talking contract extension BEFORE the Super Bowl. That’s either insanely naïve or confident, and based on his play, we’ll go with the latter. Devonta hasn’t rushed for many yards in the playoffs, but he’s scored a touchdown in each playoff game, and he’s a [cue draft day drinking game term] dual threat, as he can catch the ball out of the backfield. In their Divisional Playoff game against Seattle, Freeman was the Falcon’s leading receiver. That just adds another defensive scheme wrinkle…if the Pats double Julio and drop two safeties in coverage to stop the pass and shadow the slot, that will leave Devonta one-on-one in the flat against a linebacker. We like those odds.
But let’s not just talk about the offense. The defense gets their props too. While obviously overshadowed by the offense, the defense is no slouch. And, more importantly, they match up really well against the Patriots. If history is any indicator, the recipe against the Pats is front 4 pressure, close the pocket, and get in Brady’s face. Like this:
Speed on the edge and pressure up front. Atlanta’s all over that. The Falcons are the second coming of the Legion of Boom, which is no surprise, seeing as how Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator in Seattle prior to taking the job with Atlanta. Long, aggressive, and quick, and it starts up front, with NFL leading-sack man Vic Beasley. He’s listed as a linebacker, but don’t be surprised to see him with his hands on the ground up front. For true defensive ends, the Falcons have a good blend of youth and experience, with Adrian Clayborn, Tyson Jackson, and Dwight Freeney (what is he, like 50?). The Patriots O-line will have their hands full.
In the secondary, things don’t get much better. Yes, they’re inexperienced, but 2nd year stud Jalen Collins is quickly establishing himself as a lockdown corner, and rookie Keanu Neal adds even more speed in the safety spot. Speed and length in the secondary allows for an aggressive game plan for the front seven.
Oh, yeah, and we didn’t even talk about (soon to be) MVP Matt Ryan. Ryan followed up his brilliant regular season with an even more brilliant performance in the playoffs. He’s thrown for 730 yard and 7 touchdowns…in 2 games! Those are Madden-esque numbers. Plus, Matt’s got one more trick up his sleeve to help him in the Super Bowl. Advice from the only man that’s beaten Tom in the Super Bowl (twice). You know I can’t write a Super Bowl winning article without mentioning Eli.
You can talk mystique and hoodies all you want, but these Patriots are riding on the coattails of the past. The loss of Gronk will be felt even more now that Martellus Bennett is limping. He’ll play, but he won’t be near 100%. Look, they’re still the Patriots. This game will not be a blowout. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, with his perfect little arm, perfect wife, perfect family…dammit we him. But Atlanta’s got too much firepower for the Patriots to handle.
One more thing: Bet. The. Under. We know the Falcons have scored 30+ points in six consecutive games. We know the Patriots score in bunches too. We know we told you to bet the over in the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay when it was a jaw-dropping 61 (you’re welcome). We know everyone is expecting a shootout. But hear us out. First, the over/under is at a historic high for the Super Bowl at 59. Second, only 4 times has the over/under for a Super Bowl been over 50 points. The under has hit all 4 times. Defenses gel as the playoffs move on, and playcalling gets more conservative as the stakes get higher. Look for the under to be successful for the 5th time.
Final thoughts: Not for nothing, but you should root for the Falcons. With all the gut shots America’s taken over the past month, another Patriots Super Bowl will just put us over the edge.
This ginger’s flying high with the Falcons. Let’s make Football great again.
Final Score: Atlanta 31, New England 27