Super Bowl 51 Preview

Super Bowl 51 Preview


Super Bowl 51 Preview

The wrong team is favored to win the Super Bowl. The Falcons are the better team and will win Super Bowl 51.

The Atlanta Offense is unlike any other in the NFL. Ryan has so many weapons. The strength of Belichick (as we all know) is to stop what the opponent does best. He will have little choice but to do what everyone else does, namely doubling Julio Jones. Problem is that everyone else is lethal too. There is no place for any Defense to hide.

The knock on Atlanta is that their Defense is porous. But as the season has worn on, their young 1st and 2nd year players have gotten the requisite experience to be better and play better. They are not a great defense but they are good enough to get some stops. Also, the 2 week rest will help these young kids who will recharge after a long season.

We believe that the Atlanta Offense is arguably the best Offense in the NFL since the ’99 Rams. It is that good. Everyone knows headliners like MVP QB Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Maybe the only weakness on this Offense is lack of a receiving TE. And Hooper is going to be very good next year. “The combination of Freeman and Coleman is absolutely ridiculous,” says UltimateNYG analyst Wonder. “These two RBs out of the backfield make up for that deficiency at TE. ATL has a very good OL plus tremendous WRs. Gabriel can catch a 70 yard bomb in a split second. You double Jones and then Sanu and Gabriel are lethal. Hardy and Robinson can start at WR for many NFL teams too.”

Atlanta spreads you out. Tampa 2? They run the ball. Attack the gap, they run wide. Leave open the gap? Run up the middle. Single Safety high,  Ryan finds one of his WRs when Julio or Gabriel take the top off. The Offense is complete. It is that good.

If ATL executes, they win. This game is up to the Falcons to win or lose. ATL’s Offense will execute and they will win the game.

“New England’s Defense is overrated,” explains Wonder. “If you look at the teams they have played, it is nothing great. They don’t have great pass rushing DLmen. They don’t have quality depth at DL. The threat of the ATL WRs will allow the running backs to run the ball. Guys like Ninkovich and Hightower execute within a scheme, but they are not disruptors. If ATL executes, they should run for a minimum of 125 yds and probably 150 yds. New England was ranked 3rd vs the run this year but ATL will run over them. All ATL will need to do is to execute the 3rd & 4 slant to move the chains. It is up to Atlanta’s offense to win the game.”  They will.

I have explained this before… the Super Bowl line is one of the more inefficient lines in sports. Vegas is just balancing the money, and this is amateur hour, where the public bets heavily. They want a piece of the Patriots. 2/3rds of the (public) money is coming in on them. And the public bets a ton on this game. So the point spread is just money balancing. It is not the correct line. Most people do not know enough about Atlanta because they have not have had the national exposure. The number of times they were featured on Sunday Night Football? Zero. This is a popularity contest and the public barely knows how good Julio Jones is, let alone who he plays for. There is generally more opportunity in an inefficient line in the Super Bowl than any other game all year. It goes double for this year, when a team that is under the radar pops up for the Super Bowl.

They have the wrong favorite. I would make the line ATL -3, or at worst pick’em. I know full well that that cannot be the line. So I understand why NE is favored. With that said, I handicap the game and see Atlanta winning. Note how the moneyline is not skewed very much toward NE. The public is not pushing that, they are just laying the points. So all that is left is for the arbs to reconcile it, and that is why the moneyline is not pumped up at all. The moneyline (a paltry +130) is another tell.  In the Denver- Green Bay Super Bowl and the Giants Patriots XLII Super Bowl, the public was heavy on the Packers and Patriots as favorites but the moneyline was paltry because no one was laying those odds. Both dogs won outright.

As the Giants have taught us over and over, the key to beating Brady is to get a pass rush. ATL has a pass rush. Beasley and the guys under Center get pressure. Even old man Freeney will get some pressure in limited snaps. They did a solid job on GB’s OL/Rodgers, and it is a step down in class to the NE OL/Brady. The NE OL is well coached, but the players are only “serviceable.” These guys like Mason Andrews Fleming and Thuney are ordinary. They can be beat. I’d love to see Beasley line up outside and then stunt inside. ATL will occasionally disrupt NE’s line and that will be enough. The Patriots will score, but they will get disrupted too. They won’t get all of those touches they saw vs PIT and HOU because ATL will hold onto possession a lot more. If you added up the PIT (minus Bell, Bryant) Offense + Houston Offense it would not equal HALF of what they will see vs ATL. Essentially, NE’s easy trip to the Super Bowl is masking an ordinary team.

The only reason why ATL loses is if they somehow party in preparation and are not businesslike like the Pats. I do not think that will happen, as Quinn has been there with SEA twice in the last 4 years. If he has half a clue, he will explain to them the difference between winning and losing the Super Bowl is not an option, to be ready. Four Atlanta players have been to the Super Bowls, in contrast to 22 players for the Patriots. The Pats are already businesslike 24/7/365, so that is their baseline. They do not play “better,” just to that consistent baseline. This can be a huge positive for ATL if they are ready. The advantage for New England is what already is perception- that New England’s model of consistency and execution will not fail them here in this final game. I think that is factored in too heavily.

Superman for New England is gone. Rob Gronkowski was knocked out by Earl Thomas on November 13th. That was a very important moment. The Patriots have done well not to be overcome by this loss… up to this point. But this is the game where the bill comes due. The Patriots are not a dominant Offense without Gronkowski. Good yes, but not fantastic. I believe the Patriots Offense needs to be fantastic to keep up with Atlanta’s Offensive attack.

If the turnovers are even or better, ATL wins the game outright. They can even survive one net turnover and probably win. If they are minus two in turnovers and play stupid ball, that will be the way they lose. That is the only pathway to a loss for the Falcons- that this team is not ready for primetime and fades under the lights. They are the better team and simply need to execute. This is Atlanta’s game to win. It is in their hands. Atlanta was the #1 team this season with a season low 11 turnovers. If we see Atlanta’s “A” game, they will be the Super Bowl 51 Champions. The Atlanta Falcons will come out on top and defeat the New England Patriots.

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