Super Bowl LI could be one of the more exciting games in Super Bowl history. Unlike some of the more recent Super Bowl winners, neither the New England Patriots nor the Atlanta Falcons could be said to boast the league’s number one defense. Yes, the Patriots are No. 1 in points allowed but necessarily in the other defensive categories like yards allowed, sacks, interceptions, and defensive fumble recoveries. However, both teams boast top offenses, top five in many offensive categories including in yardage and touchdowns scored. The Falcons were No. 1 in defensive touchdowns scored. The conclusion rings loud this is not an ordinary Super Bowl as we know it. Yet, one of the league’s top two teams will reign as champion of the 2016 season this weekend.
Some of TheFantasyGreek.com writers and a couple of guests give their predictions on the ultimate game. For the full game preview analysis with TFG game prediction, click here.
Chad Bellin, Cardinals Contributor
The Falcons have been playing the best football in the league lately, and have emerged as a legitimate threat to hoist the Lombardi Trophy this season. The Patriots and Tom Brady will definitely pose their biggest challenge yet, but Matt Ryan and the offense will get their points, and the opportunistic defense will do just enough to win. Julio Jones will not be stopped. Patriots 28, Falcons 31
Jim Weidner, Packers Contributor
The experience of the New England Patriots will help them win this year’s Super Bowl. The Falcons offense is playing well but they are vulnerable on the defensive side of the football, which isn’t a good thing when facing a Tom Brady led offense. There is a reason Brady is arguably the best quarterback in NFL history and the Patriots offense will carve the Falcons defense up. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan might be the NFL MVP this season, but the Patriots defense, led by their head coach, will do enough to slow Ryan and company down. Patriots 31, Falcons 21
Sammy Bissett, Texans Contributor
Despite putting together an incredible season, earning the number two seed in the NFC and having the MVP of the league in Matt Ryan, the Falcons deficiencies on defense will surface again for the Falcons this weekend. Even without Robert Gronkowski, the Patriots still produce offensively. Giving Tom Brady and Bill Belichick an extra week to prepare makes the challenge even more difficult. Expect the Patriots to neutralize Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones (as much as one team can) and win a nail biter. Patriots 32, Falcons 27
George Bremer, Sports Editor of The Herald Bulletin
Defense almost always wins these matchups, and I’ll take Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s experience in a close game. This could be Stephen Gostkowski’s Adam Vinatieri moment, with the game-winning field goal as time expires. Patriots 24, Falcons 21
John “The Professor” Bush, Analytics Contributor
Super Bowl LI has the highest predicted game total of 59 points and will entertain to watch. My pick is based on analysis of defense against the position data for each team from the last two weeks. Using this approach, the Falcons defense has allowed 5 touchdowns while the Patriots defense has allowed 3 touchdowns. Tom Brady and the Patriots will own the sky while the Falcons will own the ground. The Patriots will clip the wings of the “pass happy” Falcons to win. Patriots 36, Falcons 31
Neil Dutton, Falcons Contributor
After following the exploits of the Atlanta Falcons all season long, the Falcons have enough tricks up their collective sleeves to confuse the Patriots on defense, and have just too much gas in the tank for the Patriots to keep up. Ultimately, Devonta Freeman is the key to a Falcons victory. Expect him to make off with the MVP award, the first tailback to claim the prize since Terrell Davis scooped up the award in Super Bowl XXXIII when his Broncos played the Falcons. Patriots 24, Falcons 31
Jeremy Dershow, Daily Games Contributor covering Fanduel
I am not betting against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the more experienced Patriots. The Patriots have the better defense and this will be the determining factor. Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. Patriots 31, Falcons 24
James King, Host of The Sports Krib Podcast
Giving Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare for this game, with Tom Brady’s determination to cement his legacy, cements the Patriots as victors of this game. The irony will be the patriots and their fans will enjoy the irony of having Roger Goodell present them the Lombardi Trophy! Patriots 34, Falcons 23 #RevengeServedCold
Nick Ringwald, Daily Games Contributor covering Draft Kings
The Falcons were the top offense this season, and the Patriots were the top defense. History is on the side of the Patriots here. In the five previous meetings of the top offense versus the top defense since the league merger, the top defense has won four of the five previous meetings. This means the Patriots should be victorious in the game. Giving Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare for the Falcons offense should allow the Patriots to slow down the Falcons offense. Brady wins another Super Bowl MVP and the final score is Patriots 31, Falcons 21.
Howie Sylvester, Executive Producer 98.5 The Sports Hub (Boston)
This game features two good offenses and one good defense. If the Falcons don’t jump out to a quick lead, the Patriots will win by two touchdowns. The Falcons can hang in in a shootout, but eventually the Patriots will get the needed stops to win the game.
Hansini Krishna, Weekly Injury Report Contributor
The Patriots have appeared in a record nine Super Bowls, seven with current head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots have more experience which can only help in playing in such a stressful game. Let’s go Patriots! Patriots 24, Falcons 17
Fred Goodman, Ravens Contributor
Defense wins championships. The Patriots have the number one scoring defense, allowing just 15.6 points per game. Give Bill Belichick and Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia two weeks to prepare for the high flying Falcons and their number one scoring offense, and you can bet the Patriots defense takes away a playmaker or two, and slows down Matt Ryan and company. On offense, Tom Brady will find a weakness or two in the Falcons defense, and exploit it ad nauseam. Patriots 31, Falcons 24
Alex George, Draft Guide Contributor
Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Matt Ryan will go head to head in a shootout in the first half. Look for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to pick apart the Atlanta Falcons secondary in the second half with precision passing to receivers Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan. Because of Tom Brady’s anticipated high quarterback rating in this game, Brady will be coronated as one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history as the only quarterback in the modern Super Bowl era to win five Super Bowls and four Super Bowl MVPs. Patriots 35, Falcons 24
Jim Saranteas, TheFantasyGreek.com Editor
The Falcons defense is the real wild card in this game. During the regular season, the Falcons defense allowed 25.4 points per game, sixth worst in the league. In the playoffs, the number has decreased dramatically to 21 points per game. However, that likely won’t be enough. Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots offense has shown they can beat opponents on the ground or through the air or both. Three touchdowns seems like a certainty. While the Patriots experience may help, it’s not everything as they lost to the Giants just five seasons ago in Super Bowl XLVI. Still, the Patriots have the better defense and the offense can hurt a team in so many ways. TFG is nine of ten in playoff game picks so far. Falcons keep it close for a while. Patriots 34, Falcons 27