Monthly Archives: February 2017

The Greatest Game Ever

Super Bowl 51 will go down in NFL history as the greatest game of all time.     The Atlanta Falcons had a 21-3 lead over the New England Patriots at halftime.   By the end of the 3rd quarter, the Falcons was leading 28 to 9.   Tom Brady proved his mettle by leading the Patriots to 19 unanswered points to tie the game at 28 going into overtime.     In the first overtime in Super Bowl history, Brady led the Patriots on 8 play drive that culminated with a James White 2-yard run that won a fifth Super Bowl title for the New England Patriots 34 to 28. Brady threw for 466 yards and 2 touchdowns earning his record-setting 4th Super Bowl MVP.   Was this game a choke job by the Falcons or an amazing comeback by the Patriots.

The answer to that question is both.   The Falcons offense went conservative and played not to lose instead of playing to win.   Their defense went into a prevent instead of attacking Brady like they did in the first half.  The Patriots defense pressured Matt Ryan into 3 sacks and stopped the Falcons running game in the second half.  Dont’a  Hightower forced a Matt Ryan fumble that led to a touchdown that cut the Falcons lead to 28 to 20.  Tom Brady made some amazing throws to his receivers in the second half.    The catch made by Julian Edelman was beyond description.  Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn unsuccessful challenged that play and lost their last time out in the fourth quarter.   As far as this game being the greatest Super Bowl of all time that is something that will be discussed for a long time.

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Super Bowl 51

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