Only two teams are left from the ashes of 32.
We have officially arrived at Super Bowl LI. Houston, Texas will host the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. Will the Patriots hold the Lombardi Trophy for the fifth time? Will the Falcons bring glory to Atlanta for the first time in their franchise history?
Before we discuss the Super Bowl, let’s see how the conference championship games came together. I went undefeated in my playoff campaign this week, bringing my postseason record to 8-2. Here’s a recap of what I got right and wrong:
AFC Championship Game:
(3) Pittsburgh Steelers at (1) New England Patriots X
NFC Championship Game
(4) Green Bay Packers at (2) Atlanta Falcons
The New England Patriots successfully defended their home turf against Houston and Pittsburgh. Before that, they survived the absence of Tom Brady for the first four games and went 3-1. Since then, they dominated the AFC East and the conference itself.
They filled in the void a tight end left by Rob Gronkowski with Martellus Bennett. The running game is still serviceable with LeGarrett Blount and Dion Lewis in the backfield. While their defense can appear suspect, they still can hold their own. In fact, they’re underrated when it comes to their victories.
He’s surrounded with an impressive running game with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. His receiving core in Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu Sr. and Taylor Gabriel are not names to snuff at. What makes them complete is a speedy and ferocious defense led by outside linebacker Vic Beasley.
What will separate this game is which defense can shut down the offense. Can New England hold Ryan and the Falcons at bay? Can Atlanta contain Brady and the Patriots for the game’s duration?
When it comes down to it, the Falcons are better suited to win than the Patriots. It’s nearly impossible to stop Ryan on the tear he’s going, especially since both teams will be indoors. Granted, Atlanta’s defense will have a tough time stopping the Patriots. But New England will have it tougher taking on the Falcons’ high-powered offense.
Prediction: Falcons 28-24
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