Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have one hurdle left in their pursuit of the franchise’s first championship in the teams 51 year existence. Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots, are said hurdle. New England will compete in their NFL record ninth Super Bowl, Brady is looking for his record fifth championship. This will be the sixth matchup between the number one scoring offense versus the number two scoring defense in Superbowl history. We’ll discuss the keys for a Falcons victory. As for how the Falcons got here, the video below brings you up to speed.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 2, 2017
Spread the Wealth. Its easy too say that both teams will be looking for more from their running games than they have seen so far this postseason, but one advantage the Falcons will have is Matt Ryan and his array of weapons on offense. Ryan has thrown a touchdown to 13 different receivers this season(an NFL record), and has 7 touchdown passes with no interceptions this postseason. He has three plus passing touchdowns in four straight playoff games which is the longest streak in NFL history. Ryan will be the first first QB in the top 8 of total QBR rankings the Patriots have faced this season. With Julio Jones naturally drawing double teams, the Falcons have the opportunity to spread the ball around to the likes of Muhammad Sanu, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and Taylor Gabriel.
Quick Start. Atlanta has scored a touchdown on their opening drive in eight straight games, while Brady has o touchdowns and one interception in the first quarter throughout his seven Super Bowl starts Tom seems to heat up by the second quarter, having thrown 7 TDs and no interceptions. Atlanta hopes to get out to a quick start, similar to how they did against Green Bay. The Falcons led 10-0 after the first quarter and 24-0 at the half, they definitely don’t want to head in to Brady’s “hot” quarter with three or less points on the board.
Blitz Tom Brady, Play Man-to-Man. The one way to beat Tom Brady in the Superbowl is a consistent pass rush, the the New York Giants have proven that twice. They pressured him throughout the game making him uncomfortable in the pocket which forced him to make poor throws that resulted in turnovers. Atlanta’s defense is not as loaded as the Giants were, but they may have more play-makers littered across the board.Defensive end Vic Beasley racked up a league high 15.5 sacks in the regular season. The Falcons play alot of zone coverage and the Patriots are one of the best teams vs zone coverage. Something they proved vs the Pittsburgh Steelers who run a similar zone defense as the Falcons. So Atlanta needs to avoid playing large doses of zone and play more man-to-man defense, pressing the New England receivers. Jamming them at the line should give their defensive front time to pressure Brady, but it has to work well on both the front and backend, any drop off and Brady will tear them apart. The Patriots have a top five offense as well, so its gonna be a challenge for the Falcons defense. While Atlanta may not be able to stop them completely, they do have enough talent on defense to slow them down.
Prediction: Falcons – 42 Patriots – 31