Super Bowl 51 is upon us, and it might be one of the more high-scoring championship games the NFL has seen in quite some time.
The Atlanta Falcons, representing the NFC, will look to torch the New England Patriots secondary with a dangerous passing attack led by MVP favorite Matt Ryan and arguably the best wideout in football, Julio Jones.
Along with Ryan and Jones, running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman will provide a change of pace out of the backfield for Atlanta. But the Falcons' backfield tandem is something that doesn't stand out against the Patriots, especially when you consider they have a dynamic one-two punch of their own in LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis.
Even without the services of star tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots offense hasn't skipped a beat in this year's playoffs.
Blowing out the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers with the likes of Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennett and Chris Hogan, it seems to be that all the Patriots need to win nowadays is a healthy Tom Brady under center and the wisdom of Bill Belichick patrolling the sidelines.
Let's take a quick look at all the information you need to know heading into Super Bowl Sunday before we get into any more game analysis and predictions, shall we?
Super Bowl 51 Quick Facts
When: Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017
Where: NRG Stadium; Houston
Time: Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. ET
National TV: Fox
Livestream: Fox Sports Go
Super Bowl Predictions
Winner: New England Patriots
There's no doubt the Falcons have the ability to beat the Patriots on any given Sunday, but this Sunday is like no other. This is the Super Bowl. And unless a team has Eli Manning as its quarterback, the Patriots do not lose these games.
Experience is a big aspect of this game. Dan Quinn has done a masterful job at turning the Falcons franchise around in such a short span of time. Since taking over as head coach in 2015 after serving as the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator, Quinn took a 6-10 team and made it an 8-8 team within a year. That .500 team then morphed into the offensive juggernaut that tormented defenses all year long en rout to an 11-5 record.
While Quinn has done a great job with his team, there isn't a bigger test than the one he will face this weekend against the man standing on the opposite side of the field from him.
Belichick is the heart and soul the Patriots. Not only has Belichick won four Super Bowls, but he's beaten just about every coach in the league at some point in time. It's unfortunate for Quinn that his first time facing off against Belichick will take place during the biggest game of the year.
The Falcons aren't ready for this stage of competition despite being an incredible offensive force. Ryan has only proved himself to be an elite playoff quarterback during this run, so who knows how he will respond when the entire country is watching his every dropback and throw?
Brady has been there, done that and shouldn't have much difficulty dissecting the Falcons defense in what should be (hopefully) a shootout for the ages.
MVP: Tom Brady
Close your eyes and imagine this: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handing Brady the Lombardi and Super Bowl MVP Trophy while forcing a smile to keep up appearances.
You don't even have to be a Patriots fan to want to see Goodell eat a slice of humble pie with millions of people around the world watching.
After being suspended four games earlier this season by the NFL as a result of the Deflategate scandal, Brady came into this season with a chip on his shoulder, which is nothing out of the ordinary for the former sixth-round pick out of Michigan.
Brady won't have as good of a statistical game as Ryan will for Atlanta, as the Falcons signal-caller should easily throw for over 300 yards with two or three touchdowns. But Brady will be given the MVP award because of the way that he leads the Patriots offense down the field, setting up his teammates for easy plays and scores.
Coin Toss: Tails
Tails never fails.
The odds of the coin toss landing in your team's favor are 50-50, which is why OddsShark has the coin toss for the opening kickoff at -105 (bet $105 to win $100) for either heads or tails.
Historically, the 50-50 odds for the big game have, for the most part, held true. The coin toss has seen heads land the right side up on 24 occasions compared to 26 times for tails.
In the last three Super Bowls, the coin has landed on tails. But before that, there was a run of five years that heads has landed the right side up. As for the coin toss winner going on to win the game? Let's just say that Lady Luck doesn't matter once the game is underway.
Two out of the three teams in the past three Super Bowls who picked tails have gone on to lose the big game. The only team that picked tails and didn't lose out of the bunch? The Patriots back in Super Bowl XLIX.
Gatorade Shower Color: Blue
In a game that could be a shootout and go down to the wire, it's very possible that a celebratory Gatorade shower may not happen since neither team wants to jinx the final outcome of the game. Predicting the color of the Gatorade also depends on which team you think will win.
In the NFC Championship Game, the Falcons dumped yellow Gatorade on Quinn to celebrate the victory. In Belichick's last two Super Bowl wins, he's had clear and blue Gatorade dumped over him during the celebrations. Since I'm picking the Patriots to outlast the Falcons, i'm going with blue.
But for a full look at OddsShark's odds regarding the Gatorade shower, take a look below:
|Gatorade Shower Odds|