Whew, who would have thought this at the beginning of the year? Atlanta V New England for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. The two highest graded QB’s according to PFF(Pro Football Focus) go head to head, will Tom get his 5th or will Matt get his first? let’s take a look at some important match ups.
The obvious…Julio Jones vs Malcolm Butler, both players have played at elite levels all year-long. Butler is due to be a free agent in the off-season so the weight of winning the SB and being able to shut down Julio Jones in a SB could prove to be a monumental task. This is the biggest game of Julio’s career and he isn’t considered the best WR in the league for nothing
When Atlanta goes to there 3 WR set Justin hardy pulls the easiest assignment with Eric Rowe covering him, Matt Ryan needs to take advantage of this match up and give Hardy somewhere in the range of 5-7 targets.
While on the topic of 3 WR sets lets point out a weakness for NE, while in their nickel package the right side of their defense is below average when it comes to production. Vincent Valentine & Rob Ninkovich have played borderline terrible all year and SS Patrick Chung is right there with them, expect Atlanta to target that area of their defense a lot today.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichik alone give the Patriots a real good shot at winning this, it will be an all hands on deck kinda day for the NE offense. Whatever mismatch NE can find they will and they will exploit it to the fullest. Besides Tom The strength of this offense is at the tackle positions (Nate Solder & Marcus Cannon) they will have the task of stopping the league leader in sacks Vic Beasley and Dwight Freeney. I expect them to answer the call for the most part but the Guard and Center are solid at best so expect a lot of stunts to the inside of that O line to force them in tighter to allow Freeney & Beasley to get outside.
Players I expect to have good days: Atlanta Keanu Neal, Vic Beasley, & DeVonta Freeman.
New England Trey Flowers, Julian Edelman & Tom Brady
New England 27 Atlanta 31
Super Bowl LI Champs ATLANTA FALCONS