Black Quarterback: Super Bowl 51 Preview/Picks
By Brandon Simmons
We have finally made it to the end of the season. The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots will beat each other down for a Super Bowl title.
The Falcons are making their 2nd trip ever to the Super Bowl behind MVP candidate, quarterback Matt Ryan. While much talk has been about the Raiders’ Derek Carr or the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott, Ryan has been one of the more prolific quarterbacks this year, just bullying offenses. This postseason has been no different either as they have dismantled their opponents with no remorse. It started with the 36-20 smackdown of the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round followed the surprisingly convincing 44-21 win over the Green Bay Packers. The Falcons have done nothing different other than play their style of football which, at times, can resemble a fast break offense. However, it is the defense that has stepped up a little and helped seal these two playoff wins, making sure they could get pressure on quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers; two QB’s who are known to get elusive often.
The Patriots are entering their NFL-record 9th Super Bowl and quarterback Tom Brady has an attempt to get his 5th ring, surpassing his idol, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana. New England has also been beating playoff teams senselessly. Brady went up against the number one defense in the Houston Texans and threw them away; he also did the same with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their franchise’s reputation has always been defense. Ironically, the Patriots’ defense has been receiving a little more recognition for their efforts than in recent postseason trips.
The real matchup to watch will be the Falcons’ offense against the Patriots’ defense. Atlanta leads the league in scoring offense while New England is number one in points allowed. The Falcons have so many weapons on the offensive side of the ball that it is easy for them to get points. Whether it’s wide receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu or running back Devontae Freeman, the Falcons will score points like they are the Atlanta Hawks. With the Patriots, there are no big time stars on that defense other than head coach Bill Belichick. Throughout the years, Belichick has received praise for successfully taking away an opponent’s strength and taking advantage of such deficiency. However, it’s the play of quarterback Tom Brady that really completes that gameplan.
The Patriots offense might not the explosive weapons such as the Falcons, but they have the ability to let their attack detonate. Wide receiver Julian Edelman’s ability as a possession receiver is what can help keep New England’s offense going and able to wear down defenses. That can affect opposing offenses, who obviously are not on the field and might not be able to get into a rhythm right away while sitting on the sideline. This is something that worked against the Steelers as Ben Roethlisberger let off 300+ yards passing but still got blown out.
New England is coming into this game solid on both sides of the ball. Everyone already knows about their offense but the key to this game will be how will their defense hold up against Atlanta’s offensive attack. When it comes to offenses, the Falcons will take the edge but their defense might not be ready to face a Super Bowl regular that is Tom Brady. Matt Ryan is a quarterback that has time all day for a shootout with any QB in the league and it might be their only shot at getting the but the Patriots will find a way to prevent that from happening.
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