Saturday, February 4, 2017


Here it is, Super Bowl 51 between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, the two top teams in the NFL,
going at it in Houston on Sunday.
The Patriots have been rolling, winners of nine straight games heading into this one. The Falcons have won six consecutive games and boast the league's highest scoring offense, averaging 33.8 points per game, including 40 points per game in two playoff games.
The Patriots defense led the NFL in scoring points allowed, giving up just 15.6 points per game in the regular season. In the playoffs, they have allowed 16.5 points per game so it will be interesting to see how they will stop or at least slow down the high flying Atlanta offense.
The Patriots figure to put some points on the board as quarterback Tom Brady and company have averaged 35 points per game in the post-season as they torched both Pittsburgh and Houston, which had the NFL's top overall defense this past season.
The Falcons are led by QB Matt Ryan, who had his best ever season in his nine-year NFL career in
Falcons QB Matt Ryan has been huge in the playoffs
2016, throwing for 4,944 yards with 38 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions. He can get the ball to many different targets, including perhaps the NFL's best wide receiver Julio Jones, who had 83 receptions for 1,409 yards and six scores. Jones scorched the Green Bay Packers for nine catches and 180 yards with two touchdowns in the NFC Championship Game.
Also in the mix is Mohamed Sanu (59 catches for 653 yards and four TD) and Taylor Gabriel, who averaged 16.5 yards per grab with six touchdowns.
The running game is among the best in pro football with the tandem of Devonta Freeman (1,079 yards rushing and eleven touchdowns) and Tevin Coleman, who scored eight rushing touchdowns while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. The pair also combined for 75 receptions, which was good for five touchdowns.
The Falcons defense was suspect at best this past season, giving up 25.4 points per game, but has been much better in the playoffs, giving up 41 points in their two games while walloping both Seattle (36-20) and Green Bay (44-21) in the process.
The Patriots have Brady (four Super Bowl titles in six appearances) leading their offense as he had 28 TD passes and only two picks thrown in the regular season.
Tom Brady is looking for another Super Bowl title
Among Brady's favorite targets are Julian Edelman (98 receptions for 1,106 yards and three TD in regular season), Martellus Bennett (55, 701, seven TD), James White (60, 551, five TD) and Chris Hogan, who had nine receptions for 180 yards and two scores in the AFC Championship Game win against Pittsburgh.
New England will be without All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has been on the injured reserve list since late November.
The Pats can also run the football as LeGarrette Blount went for 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns in the regular season. Dion Lewis recently returned to the lineup following numerous injuries and had a huge game in the Divisional Round playoff game, scoring three times against the Houston Texans.
Look for both teams to attempt to mix it up on offense in what could very well be a high scoring affair. The Patriots are a three-point favorite to win the game, with the total points scored sitting at 58 1/2 points.
That doesn't mean it will come to be as many factors could occur in the Super Bowl. After all, no one can predict injuries or turnovers and those two always contribute to change the outcome of a game.
The call here is for a close game, with the Patriots pulling it out as Tom Brady gets yet another Super Bowl MVP award.

PREDICTION -  New England Patriots 31,  Atlanta Falcons 24

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