With Super Bowl LI just hours away, one can’t help but ask the tough questions. Questions like “why are the Patriots so damn good?” “Why does Josh McDaniels roll up the sleeves on his sweater, but keeps the sleeves on the shirt under it at regular length?” “Is Julio Jones a human, or was he sent here from the Bizarro World?”
Honestly, I’m more concerned with those specific questions than the game itself. Hell, I’m looking more forward to the nachos I’m making during the pregame. But when you get past the fact that you will inevitably burn the wings, or accept the fact that Josh McDaniels is just trolling everyone, Super Bowl 51 should be a good game.
With two high powered offenses going against each other, the dark horse will be the Patriots defense. Can they hold the Falcons offense, a team that has scored no less than 30 points since December 4th against Kansas City (L 29-28), under 30 points? When a coaching staff has extra time to study a team, no one does it better than Bill Belichick. The modern-day Chuck Noll game manages and tweaks like no one we have ever seen.
In a game that will more than likely need to see Atlanta put up 30 points, can New England’s defense hold them under it? The 8th ranked defense this past season, the Patriots were 2nd in rushing yards allowed, giving up 88.6 yards/game (tied with the Giants). It’s obvious that Atlanta will need to continue their 3rd down success rate this postseason (64.0%), and keep drives moving. If you want to beat the best, you need to keep the best off the field.
Tom Brady has been torching defenses since his rookie season in 2001, and I don’t see any difference tomorrow night. He’s as methodical and precise as they come, and it won’t change during his record setting 7th Super Bowl appearance. Atlanta will need to hit him often, and hit him hard. Like most quarterbacks, the one thing Brady hates is being rushed and taking a licking.
The three games Atlanta should’ve been forced to watch about a billion times the last two weeks would be both Super Bowl losses to the Giants, and the 2010 AFC Divisional game against the Jets. Brady was dancing more than a Rockette in each of those games. Atlanta might have a chance at holding New England under 30 points if they can succeed at rushing him (Giants and Jets held Patriots to 14, 21, and 17 points, respectively).
While the Patriots approval ratings nationwide are lower than President Trumps, it’s evident that everyone except for New England wants them to lose. It’s like the final fight between Rocky and Drago in Rocky IV. The entire crowd was jacked. Screaming in Russian, getting hammered, and wanting Drago to make Rocky the second person on his hit list (RIP Apollo). But what happened? Rocky didn’t just knock out Drago, he knocked out communism, too. That’s why I’m going with the greatest coach/quarterback duo ever to win their 5th Super Bowl Championship together.
The only difference is that this Patriots win will surely continue their totalitarian reign over every other NFL franchise spanning the last 16 years (except for the Giants, of course). Now excuse me while this Jets fan takes a long walk.