SUPER BOWL PREDICTIONS : FEBRUARY 3
By Leo Haggerty
It’s Super Bowl prediction time. The guys at It’s Sports Magazine and Knights Sports Productions have combined to give you their unusual brand of insight into why they think the Falcons or the Patriots will emerge victorious in Houston Sunday evening.
The BIG key to this game will not be the quarterbacks but the receivers. Both Brady and Ryan are too savvy to be fooled but that is not the case for the receiving corps for each team. If the QB reads zone and the receiver reads man, then Brady and Ryan have to come off their primary target and work through their progressions. That will give the pass rushers for each team extra time to get to the passer. That could result in hurries for incomplete passes or knockdowns or sacks or interceptions or fumbles. None of them good for the offense.
Whichever group of receivers is able to decipher the coverage correctly on a consistent basis will be the winner. That will lead to fewer mistakes and less chance for crutial turnovers.
According to Ron Jaworski, “more Super Bowls are lost than won” and I couldn’t agree more with that assessment. With that said, here’s my call. Atlanta has too many weapons on offense for the Pats to hold them under 28. Conversely, Tom Brady will find a way to get New England to the promise land as well.
Look for the Dirty Birds to make the fewer mistakes and win with a late Matt Bryant field goal in an offensive slugfest.
ATL 31. NE 28.
Check out the rest of our predictions and make sure you check out the facts and figures from our own KSP correspondent Jerome Vickers at the end of the article. It’s definitely worth the read and you won’t find a better analytical breakdown then the one provided by JV.
Enjoy the opinions and the game!
SUPER BOWL LI
by Carlos Rosaly – It’s Sports Magazine Correspondent
Super Bowl LI looks to be an exciting match-up. The Atlanta Falcons are a formidable offensive threat with QB Matt Ryan, a pair of outstanding WRs in Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, and a solid RB in Devonta Freeman. But the Falcons also have a great team defense, led by LB Deion Jones and CB Robert Alford. Atlanta is in fantastic position to be NFL Champions.
Except for one big reason.
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is making his seventh Super Bowl appearance, having won four along with three game MVPs. Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick have a knack for finding a way to win, and it’s difficult to go against the New England team in the big game.
My heart says Atlanta. It would be great to see the Falcons gain their first Super Bowl victory.
My head says New England. Don’t bet against Belichick and Brady, especially with two weeks to prepare.
Head: Patriots by 7
Heart: Falcons by…whatever number, one or one hundred. Just win it, Birds! Go NFC South!
Now, pass the wings. It’s showtime.
SUPER BOWL LI
Stephen Varcardipone – Knights Sports Productions AFC South Correspondent
David Alexander – Knights Sports Productions AFC West Correspondent
Jason Rubin – Knights Sports Productions AFC East Correspondent
How do they do it? It just seems like the Patriots can put anybody (Eric Rowe, Patrick Chung, Chris Hogan… from Monmouth for crying out loud…give me a break or even Moe, Larry or Curley) on the field and “B & B” (Brady and Belichick) will find a way to win. In fact Belichick is so good that spell check knows him and highlights his name when you misspell it and, after all, he was runner up for world’s most interesting man commercial.
I was hoping that the Chiefs would have won to set up my call for a Chiefs vs Falcons game but the Chiefs turned out to be the Chokes and Andy wasn’t able to get them over the hump. Falcons made me half a genius as I picked them to be in Houston, but I still can’t see them beating New England because, while the Falcons defense is good, I don’t see it being good enough to beat B & B.
Falcons Fly…but come up short. Atlanta will fall because they just won’t be able to keep up….34-27 Pats…and we won’t have to talk about Tom’s deflated balls anymore…
As I look forward to the Super Bowl and the end of the football season, this game brings to light two items and that is a very good system against a new transplant system.
Clearly, we know all about how the Pats operate. The Falcons have a new head coach from an organization, the Seahawks, that clearly are operating at a New Englandish level.
The Falcons, having multiple options in a high powered offense with a quarterback playing with a chip on his shoulder to win the big game to validate career, are on a mission. A superstar receiver and more than one threat to compliment the two of them makes them an offense to be reckoned with this Sunday.
Simply put, the Pats are the Pats. Everybody thinks the head coach is a genius but, at end of day, it’s all about Tom Brady. Yes, a roster full of young talent complimented by veterans who want a ring and are playing with a chip on there shoulder are nice pieces but it all starts and stops with #12, period. He’s starting to bring back memories of an Oakland Raider named George Blanda. Now, that’s old school.
At the end of the day it’s Falcons 28 and Patriots 24 because, this time, Dan Quinn will line up and insist Atlanta run the ball on the 1 yard line.
There will be no long winded filibuster from this Senator re: The Annual Super Bowl Prognostication. No sir! No reading of “Alice In Wonderland”, or “Sleeping Beauty” – like my senatorial colleague, Ted Cruz, from the great state of mourning (R.I.P. Cowboys & Texans).
SPEED KILLS!!! U can’t hit what U can’t see!!
2. The #1 scoring defense is 4 and 1 with the lone victory of a team with the #1 scoring offense being in Super Bowl XLVIII when the Seahawks beat the Broncos.
3. 11 out of the past 12 Super Bowls the team wearing white jerseys have won the last time a team wearing a dark jersey won was in Super Bowl XLV when the Packers beat the Steelers.
4. In the past 12 years the Patriots have played in 4 Super Bowls going 2-2 winning Super Bowl’s XXXIX and XLIX wearing their white jersey while losing Super Bowls XLII and XLVI wearing their dark jerseys.
4. Recent history – Despite all the credit that many people give to Belichick and Brady in at least 2 out of 3 of their most recent Super Bowls, Belichick has been out-coached and Brady was not the best QB on the field and looked uncomfortable. New England last 3 Super Bowl appearances have been a lost in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI against the Giants and, if it wasn’t for the worst call in Super Bowl (or NFL) history with the Seahawks throwing the ball on the half-yard line, the Patriots would have lost that game also. While the Falcons haven’t been to a Super Bowl recently and their critics believe they haven’t been battle tested. (See #5)
5. The Eyeball Test – Although many “experts” and “casual fans” look at Atlanta and say they haven’t really played anyone I believe the opposite. If you look at New England’s schedule this year they have played against some mediocre quarterbacks like Cody Kessler, Charlie Whitehurst, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jared Goff and then in the playoffs the Patriots faced two offenses in Houston and Pittsburgh that can’t score. But this season Atlanta faced 3 of the best young QB’s in the league Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Carson Wentz and some of the top QB’s also like Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Philip River. They also faced Alex Smith who many people don’t like but each year he wins double-digit game while, in the playoffs, they faced Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. Defenses the Patriots faced this year were nothing special like Buffalo (Rex Ryan got fired), the New York Jets (they were a bad team) and you can make the argument that their head coach Todd Bowles should have gotten fired, the Cleveland Browns and the 49ers which are two of the worst teams in the NFL. But the Patriots faced and beat playoff defenses like Miami (twice), Houston (twice) and Pittsburgh while losing in the regular season to the Seattle Seahawks who the Falcons beat in the first round of the playoffs. In contrast the Falcons faced some of the top defenses in the NFL like Tampa (won one, loss one), Denver (won), Kansas City (loss), Carolina (won twice), Oakland (won), LA Rams (won) and Seattle (loss regular season, won playoffs). Atlanta faced 4 playoff teams losing to Seattle and Kansas City in the regular season while beating Green Bay in the regular season and playoffs. They beat Oakland in the regular season and revenged the regular season lost to Seattle in the playoffs. The Falcons will start 3 rookies on defense S Keanu Neal and LB’s DeVondre Campbell and Deion Jones. Of course, like he always does, Brady will look for a guy to pick on but these rookies should be well prepared having faced so many quality QB’s and playing 16 regular season games and 2 playoff games. As good as the New England defense has been statistically their LB struggle covering speedy RB’s and receivers plus secondary players like safety Patrick Chung and DB Eric Rowe bite on play fakes. Also, Rowe isn’t really a good cover corner. Plus Malcom Butler will start off guarding Julio Jones but, because Jones is 6’3″ and 220lbs, don’t be surprised if New England has to put a taller player like McCourty on Jones because Butler is only 5’11”. If the Patriots leave Butler on Julio Jones look for the Falcons to throw Jones a lot of back shoulder fades, fades and balls up high and if they switch McCourty or Chung on Jones look for a lot of slants or deep balls to Jones. Basically, either way, it’s a matchup nightmare. (See #1 above) Many people talk as if Matt Ryan is a young QB but this is his 9th year in the league so he’s seen every blitz and defense that there is. When asked this week Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and starting RB Devonta Freeman both said, “The game plan doesn’t change”. Meaning there is no need for Quinn to try to get into a chess match with Belichick which is the mistake that many teams make when the play New England. Sometimes you have to just line up and do what you do and let your players make plays. To me the Super Bowl is similar to the college football national championship game where a lot of people picked Alabama to win based on their track record of previous championships but did not really look at the “eyeball test” aka the match ups. The big difference between the college championship game is the Patriots have a proven QB that has already won 4 Super Bowl. Therefore, I feel the key to this game is ego. Do the Patriots come out with the mindset of “we’ve been here before or we have Tom Brady at QB and Belichick as our head coach so we will win”? In my opinion, that is what happened in their last 3 Super Bowls and the Giants beat them twice and every NFL fan, including New England fans, knows that they should have lost to Seattle. Whereas, Quinn won’t do like the Steelers did and sit back in a cover 2 defense and say, “let’s see you beat us Tom Brady”. He got that head coaching job at Atlanta by having an attacking mentality on defense. With that said, the one person on Atlanta that concerns me on Super Bowl Sunday is their offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Why? Could Shanahan try to do too much and prove to the 49ers or other teams that he desires a head coaching position? You saw it early on in the NFC Championship game where Julio Jones was on the sidelines basically telling the WR coach to get him the ball because the Packers either had backup DB’s or guys that could not cover him. Once again, in order to win it has to be a non-ego game. If Jones has a favorable match up keep getting him they ball but, if not and they are begging you to run the ball or throw short passes, do it and let your athletes make plays in space.