Here is my pick for Super Bowl 51 and why.
Quarterback: Tom Brady had an incredible season throwing for 28 touchdowns and 2 interceptions after missing the first 4 games due to the Deflategate suspension. Matt Ryan had an MVP season and throwing for 38 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Advantage Even
Running Back: LeGarrette Blount Rushed for 1161 yards and 18 touchdowns. Deion Lewis adds that breakaway speed can catch the ball out of the backfield, and a great kickoff returner. James White can catch the ball and a good 3rd down back. Devonta Freeman rushed for 1079 yards and 11 touchdowns. Tevin Coleman rushed for 52 yards and 8 touchdowns. Advantage New England
Wide Receiver/Tight Ends: Julian Edelman had a great season with 98 catches for 1106 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kevin Hogan became a solid receiver after coming from Buffalo. Danny Amendola can make the 3rd down catch and the big play. Martellus Bennett stepped in for an injured Rob Gronkowski and make the catch underneath the defense. Julio Jones made 83 catches for 1409 yards and 6 touchdowns. Mohamed Sanu has to make plays if the Patriots double-team Jones. Taylor Gabriel can stretch the field on the deep routes. Jacob Tamme can make some plays on the goal line. Advantage Atlanta
Offensive Line: New England has protected Tom Brady so well this season and opened holes for the running game. Atlanta has given up 37 sacks this season. Advantage New England
Defensive Line: Despite Chandler Jones being traded to Arizona they were led by Trey Flowers who had 7 sacks, but New England get its pressure from the linebackers. The line job is to stuff the run. Atlanta defensive line does the same thing stuff the run. Advantage New England.
Linebackers: Jamie Collins was traded to Cleveland mid-season and Dont’a Hightower took over as the main playmaker. Vic Beasley had 15.5 sacks and has to put pressure on Brady. Deion Jones led the Falcons with 108 tackles and 3 interceptions. Advantage Atlanta
Secondary: Super Bowl 48 hero Malcolm Butler had 4 interceptions. Logan Ryan can make the big play as well and lead the team with 92 tackles. Patrick Chung was second with 91 tackles. Devin McCourty is an outstanding tackler as well. Falcons had given up the most touchdowns this season of any playoff team and struggled since they lost Desmond Trufant to an injury in Week 13. Advantage New England
Special Teams: Stephen Gostkowski has been a money kicker in the playoffs. Ryan Allen can punt the ball inside the 20-yard line. Solid coverage units led by Matthew Slater. Edelman, Lewis, and Amendola can make big plays in the return game. Matt Bryant had great season missing 3 field goals for the Falcons. Matt Bosher can punt the ball inside the 20 as well. Eric Weems can make big plays on kickoffs and punts. Advantage New England
Intangibles: Patriots overcame Deflategate and losing Tom Brady for the first four games of the season.They have more experience and know how to handle the Super Bowl distractions. Falcons want to win the first Super Bowl in 51 years and the second sports title in Atlanta’s history since the 1995 Braves. Advantage New England
Final Score: New England 34 Atlanta 27