Everybody (including myself) is assuming that this Super Bowl will be won by the Patriots. Part of that belief stems from my burning passion for the New England Patriots, but all of the sports media personnel agree with me. Even though I have a deep love and passion for the Patriots and expect them to win Lombardi trophy number 5, I’m frightful of the Atlanta Falcons for a few odd reasons. A few reasons you wouldn’t expect.
The first reason I’m scared of the Falcons is their head coach Dan Quinn. Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks when the Patriots beat them 28-24 in Super Bowl 49. Quinn has face Belichick before and has built his Falcons team (especially the defense) the same way that great Seahawks team was built. Quinn knows how to prepare and handle the Patriots offense. We saw his Seahawks defense hold them to 14 points through the first three quarters. Then Tom Brady took over in the fourth quarter and was nearly flawless leading the Pats to a fourth quarter comeback and made it look so easy.
Quinn has built this defense up very well. They drafted Vic Beasley Jr in the first round of the 2015 draft. Then they signed veteran Hall of Famer Dwight Freeney who has done an excellent job in coaching and mentoring Beasley. Beasley led the NFL in sacks this season with 15.5. It’ll be key to see if Beasley can keep up the hard play and get pressure on Brady. We all know if you want a chance at beating the Patriots, it starts with getting pressure on #12. The safeties of this Atlanta Falcons defense remind me of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Ricardo Allen is a fast and strong Free Safety who controls the field just like Thomas does with Seattle. Allen and Thomas are similar in stature and playing style. Then the Falcons used their 2016 first-round draft pick on Safety Keanu Neal out of the University of Florida. Keanu plays like a young Kam Chancellor. Neal and Chancellor are similar in their playing style, both are big physical safeties who love to hit. Quin saw what worked for him in Seattle and is trying to recreate it in Atlanta. The Falcons used their 2015 second round draft pick on corner back Jalen Collins out of LSU. It’s easy to see what Quinn is doing in Atlanta. Building up his defense to match this high-power and lethal offense.
Key off-season acquisitions like C Alex Mack, WR Taylor Gabriel, and WR Mohamed Sanu have all helped this Atlanta offense grow. The Falcons offense used to just be Matt Ryan and Julio Jones but now their offense is filled with explosive players and crafty veterans (as seen in the complete annihilation of the both the Seahawks and Packers). I like what they did with their offense, bringing in experienced veterans to help with some of the young guys. They’ve also used their draft picks well, picking up guys like RT Jake Matthews, RB Devonta Freeman, and RB Tevin Coleman in the recent drafts. Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff has scouted players well and built this Super Bowl team through smart drafting and key free agency signings.
As Always, Julio Jones is unstoppable. Matt Ryan and this Falcons offense led the league in scoring. A lethal offense with receiving threats like Julio Jones, veteran Mohamed Sanu, and speedster (LIKE VERY FAST) Taylor Gabriel. They have two running backs who can pound the run game but also be very effective in the passing game. Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will have to heavily prepare to stop Atlanta’s high powered offense.
Don’t Sleep on the Falcons. They have a very young and explosive offense that can compete against any defense (beating defenses like the Seahawks and Panthers). They have a very good head coach who is a defensive minded coach. Watch out Pats fans because this is going to be a very VERY good game. I wouldn’t chalk this one up as a win just yet. Sunday February 5th, Houston Texas. Do Your Job. Go Pats!