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2017 Super Bowl Picks and Predictions: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

You may or may not have heard, but there’s a pretttty important game coming up this Sunday. Y’know, that football stuff those Americans are so obsessed with. Anyway, I’ve pretty much been the best in the game as far as my picks this year (6-4 playoffs and 25-14-1 overall [62.5%], not actually that great but shhhhh), so you should have no problem putting your complete and absolute faith in me to steer you in the right direction.

Experts have estimated up to $4.7 BILLION in wagers will be placed this Super Sunday, and up to 97% illegally. Why not add a few more bucks in there?

Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots (-3) @ Atlanta Falcons

If you’ve followed my picks at all this season, you know I haven’t gone against the Patriots yet. And aside from one push at -7, they covered for me every. single. time. This included a historically big spread against Houston in the Divisional Round and a trouncing of Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship. So if you think now, in the biggest game of the year, in Tom Brady’s quest for ‘one for the thumb’, I’m changing course? For sure not. The Patriots are definitely the most talented team in this game, and the reason doesn’t have as much to do with #12 as you may think. Yes, Brady and New England’s offense are a well-oiled machine that could easily drop 45 on Atlanta’s incompetent D, but the Falcons bring in a group on offense that’s just as impressive. The Patriots may have been able to win in past years with a powerful offense and a defense that was just good enough, but that’s certainly not the case against the likely MVP and his platoon of weapons.

If the Patriots are to walk away with this game, they’ll do it because they got consistent pressure on Matt Ryan, clogged up the holes in the middle to slow down Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and the secondary contained Julio Jones and the rest of Atlanta’s downfield weapons; certainly not an easy slate of tasks, especially on the biggest stage on the planet. Personally, I think Matt Patricia will line up Malcolm Butler on Jones with safety help over the top, and leave Eric Rowe to more or less take Mohamed Sanu 1-on-1, but the gameplan will obviously be a fluid one that’s subject to change as the game progresses and trends are established. Nevertheless, New England has the personnel to shut Atlanta down; the only thing left is to execute.

Now having said that, although Atlanta’s defense on paper is about as impressive as Blake Bortles‘ touchdown-interception ratio, this is the Super Bowl we’re talking about here; those guys are gonna come ready to play. Falcons DC Richard Smith is a linebacker specialist, having coached linebackers in Denver, Carolina, and more before taking the Atlanta job 2 years ago, and his expertise has helped Vic Beasley make the leap to a top-tier LB in his 2nd pro season. Beasley and his league-leading 15.5 regular season sacks will certainly object to Brady and his boys carving up his defense, and the Patriots should expect a whole lot of blitz packages to get pressure on Brady – and if that pressure never comes, this one could get out of hand quickly.

Look, if you’ve read to this point you know where I’m headed: Pats win and cover. Could Atlanta very well win this game? Of course. If they play as well as their ceiling is, and New England comes out flat for even a possession or two, this one could go the other direction faster than Johnny Manziel running from a piss test. But that’s the beauty of a Brady-led, Belichick-coached team: coming out flat is an offense punishable by death. They’ll be ready, and in the end I think Roger Goodell will be center stage, brown paper bag over his face, handing another Lombardi trophy to the best franchise in the history of American professional sports. Yup, I said it. Don’t @ me.

Score prediction: Patriots 34, Falcons 23

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  1. Pingback: Super Bowl 51: Prop Bets Recap

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