clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Super Bowl 2017: Picks and predictions round-up

New, comments

Can the Falcons finally hoist the Lombardi?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks in between the conference championships and the Super Bowl is too long. Like, way too long. Even the normal week between most football games might be too long. We talk about stuff for too long, we over-analyze it. I find it’s best to get your opinions out in the open early, so you don’t have time to think. Thinking just makes you indecisive. Don’t over-think that sentence.

Anyway, when you have so much time to ponder the outcome of one football game, folks will get into the weeds about a lot of stuff, and then make picks. I took a look at a bunch of people who made picks.

SB Nation’s NFL staff starts things off with an eight-person panel. Five of the eight people picking the game took the Falcons to top the Patriots:

Brady has been similarly impressive against the Falcons. He’s 4-0 all-time against Atlanta with a 9:1 touchdown:interception ratio and an average 10-point margin of victory.

But none of those four wins came against a Dan Quinn defense, or with potential NFL Defensive Player of the Year Vic Beasley bearing down on him. Brady has struggled against ferocious pass rushes, and if there’s any coach who can find a way to make him uncomfortable, it’s Quinn, who previously bullied Brady as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator.

Over at FOX Sports, two dozen Pro Bowl players were asked to pick the game. The Patriots garnered 12 votes, the Falcons picked up six, and six players declined to answer or said it was too close to call. Two Eagles, and a former Eagle, were asked!

Fletcher Cox, DT, Eagles: NO PICK

“I don’t even watch football. I really don’t even care.”

...

DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans: NO PICK

"Yeah, I’m not picking that.”

...

Jason Kelce, C, Eagles: ATLANTA

”It’s hard to go against Brady, but right now Atlanta’s playing as good as I’ve ever seen. The way they beat Green Bay was just so dominant. It’s going to be kind of hard to go against them.”

David Steele of the Sporting News thinks the Patriots pull this one out, in large part because TOM BRADY:

The Falcons' offense can hold its own; it won’t shrink from the moment. The Falcons’ defense, though, won’t be so fortunate.

The unit has gotten better over the last two months, in that it won’t cost its offense chances to win or make games closer than they should be. That won’t be nearly enough against Brady, though. Unless it can be that kind of punishing, non-blitzing pass rush that has bothered Brady over the years — including earlier in the playoffs by the Texans, and last year’s playoffs by the Broncos — Brady will do what Brady does.

Former BGN-er and current NJ.com internet whiz Eliot Shorr-Parks also believes in the power of BRADY, and the fact that he’s picked against the Falcons all year:

All year I've picked against Atlanta, and all year, they have proven me wrong. Can they do it again, and shock the Patriots? The Patriots are a bone-headed throw from Russell Wilson away from losing their last three Super Bowls, and don't have the fire power the Falcons have on offense. They do, however, have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and as great as Matt Ryan has been this year, it's just hard to pick against perhaps the greatest quarterback and head coach duo of all time.

NOLA.com’s Jim Derry thinks this year’s Falcons team resembles the 2009 New Orleans Saints squad that won a Super Bowl, so he’s taking the Dirty Birds:

It could be one of the most exciting Super Bowls of all time. It's hard to dismiss the fooey-you factor Brady and the Patriots are playing with, but one would be fooey-lish to pick the game based upon that shoulder-sized chip alone.

While typing similar words as my friend and colleague, Larry Holder, did last week might spell doom for the Falcons, I can't help but see them as a team of destiny. I'll take destiny over fooey any day.

***

As for me, my heart says the Falcons win their first Super Bowl, but my head says the Patriots win their nine zillionth. It’s Tom Brady on the biggest stage. He’s the best quarterback to ever play the game, and while it’s hard to imagine a time when this is true, his window of opportunity is technically getting thinner by the season. He turns 40 in August. Don’t you think he realizes the weight of this Super Bowl, and looks at the likes of the Raiders and remembers that no dynasty lives forever, and tells himself he NEEDS to win this one?

The Falcons are a superb team offensively, and I think they’ll score points, but the Patriots’ No. 1-ranked defense is the best in the league for a reason. Matt Ryan is a very good quarterback. I don’t think he’s an ~ elite ~ crunch-time quarterback, and I think on Sunday the Patriots’ defense will be just a bit too much for him to handle. Then Brady takes the reins and does the rest.

My pick: Patriots 28, Falcons 23

Give me your best shot in the comments. Who wins on Sunday?