Jan 31, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; General overall view of New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons helmets at NRG Stadium prior to Super Bowl LI on Feb 5, 2017. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Heading into Super Bowl 51, The Jet Press sits with popular sportswriter Christa Levitas of Locker Room Update.
As the football world prepares for Super Bowl 51 featuring the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, it promises to be a quality matchup. One of which I wanted to breakdown with another fellow sportswriter.
Christa Levitas of Locker Room Update, recently sat down with me to discuss this year’s Super Bowl in great detail. From the sheer dominance of the Patriots to what the New York Jets need to do in order to even have a shot at a postseason berth, I wanted to hit the hottest topics with her.
If you’re not following her, please check out her Twitter page as well as her Facebook author page. Not only is she a huge fan of the Jets but she conducts interviews with several players that are heading to the 2017 NFL Draft. I’m a huge fan of her work and well, wanted to get her thoughts on this year’s big game.
Without further ado, here’s an exclusive sit down with Christa as we break down the Super Bowl.
Next: 5. The dominance of New England
Dec 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
5. The dominance of New England
LTJ: Well Christa, it seems like we’ve been here before. The Patriots are back in yet another Super Bowl and well, it’s hard to go against them. They’re a team built to win big and they’re back on the stage ready to prove they will be champions yet again. Why have the Patriots always been so dominant?
CL: I think one key component to look at is looking at the level success Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have had together. They’re a great duo who have built and made the team better. As much as I hate to say it, Belichick is a great coach and he is amazing at what he does. He built a team that is complete in all three phases of football. They’re a smart team with a sneaky good defense. Belichick knows how to use his players and puts them in the best position to succeed. The Patriots draft smart players that fit their style of offense. Look at that success of play.
LTJ: I couldn’t agree with you more. I find it amusing when people hate Brady and the level of success the Patriots have had but at the end of the day, he’s going to go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. As fans of the Jets, it’s hard to consistently see them always be the creme of the crop within the AFC East. It all comes down to Brady, speaking of which, how many more years do you see him continue to play? It looks like he’s not slowing down anytime soon.
CL: As a Jets fan, I can definitely understand why you would hate Brady and would hate the level of the success that they had. It gets frustrating to see the Pats constantly dominate the AFC East and constantly being good. I do see Brady going down as one of the greatest QBs to play the game. I can also definitely see him playing for another few years. He doesn’t seem to show much or any decline for that matter at QB.
Next: 4. Breaking down which team has the edge
4. Breaking down which team has the edge
LTJ: This year’s Super Bowl looks great on paper as I truly hope it delivers for fans all across the globe. The last thing I want is another dud of a Super Bowl but with the high-octane offense of the Falcons and the stout defense of the Patriots, I can’t wait to see what kind of game plans each team hits against the other. Which team in your opinion has the edge heading into the Super Bowl?
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CL: I agree! I’m looking forward to this matchup. Go Falcons! It pains me to say this but I learned in football to never underestimate Brady and Belichick. So I’m going to have to go with the Patriots since they are a smart team who knows how to play well in all three phases of football well. I’m looking forward to the Falcons offense against the Pats defense. Julio Jones is a talented wide receiver I’m looking forward to seeing how he does against the Patriots defense. The Falcons also have a great running back in Devonta Freeman. Should be interesting to see how it plays out.
LTJ: I think the Patriots will do what they do best and shut down the main weapons on the Falcons offense. What is most impressive about the Patriots is it’s not so much the players but the system overall. They put their players in a position to succeed in a system that caters to their strength. I think the Patriots will more than likely contain Jones and turn their offense one-dimensional. I hate to say it but I’ve seen so many Patriots games that I can tell they’ll have a fantastic game plan ready to take the Falcons out. Do you think Falcons head coach Dan Quinn will be able to contain Brady and company? How could it be done?
CL: Quinn has to figure out a way to generate a pass rush against Brady. The Falcons have to get pressure on him in order to increase the level of success they will have against him. We saw how the Steelers struggled with that when they played the Patriots and that decreased the level of success they had against them. The Falcons also have to stop the run game with Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount, and James White because the Pats also know how to utilize the run game with their shifty back as well.
Next: 3. What the Jets can learn about both teams
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
3. What the Jets can learn about both teams
LTJ: Our beloved Jets have a long way to go before they’re even ready to be a playoff contending team. It won’t be easy and require a ton of patience, but if they make the right moves in the future, hopefully, they’ll get right back into the thick of things. What can the Jets learn from both the Patriots and Falcons to replicate such success?
CL: I think the first thing is first the Jets need to find an identity and what kind of team they are heading into the season. 1. I believe they should chasing high profile names and establish a system that fits their players skill sets similar to what the Patriots have done. They draft guys who fit the style of play/sign players that fit their type of playing style. 2. Play players to their strengths, don’t convert a player to a position he is not used to, basically stop using Sheldon Richardson at OLB. The Jets need to put players in a position to succeed. 3. Todd Bowles mentions how he wants to get faster, he should look at guys such as Beasley, Keanu Neal, and Deion Jones as an example. Use their defense as a blueprint to build your defense.
LTJ: I completely agree, Christa. For me, look at the Patriots and Falcons and it’s easy to see what they have in common. Two franchise quarterbacks built from the ground up that are delivering major success. Both franchises surrounded them with top talent with owners that believe in stability and being patient in the grand scheme of things. The Jets don’t have an established franchise quarterback in place, which doesn’t bring big results. Speaking of quarterback, what do you think the Jets will ultimately do at the position for next season? Who do you think will be under center come Week 1?
CL: I honestly believe that the Jets starting QB is currently not on our roster. With Mike Maccagnan and Bowles most likely on the hot seat, I can see them going the free agent route and picking up an FA QB. I’m sure the Jets new OC Morton will have some input on the QB situation as well. The draft is interesting as I could also see Maccagnan possibly drafting a QB at some point in the draft. He’s 2 for 2 drafting a QB and I believe he has taken Ron Wolfe’s theory of drafting a QB until you have your guy. I personally don’t see them drafting a QB high if they do go this route but at the same time, I don’t think Maccagnan will pass up a QB if he really likes one. I’d like to believe that all options are available for the Jets when it comes to who the starting QB is. A lot depends on free agency and their evaluation of Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. I’m sure they will do their homework on every available QB whether he is an FA, draft prospect, or a potential trade candidate like AJ McCarron.
Next: 2. Early predictions
Jan 30, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during Super Bowl LI Opening Night at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
2. Early predictions
LTJ: As much as I hate to say it, my early prediction for the big game has it ending in dramatic fashion. We’ve seen for quite some time now just how deadly Brady is with the game on the line with just a few minutes to go in the 4th quarter and he shows why he’s a legend. I have the Patriots winning this one thanks to Brady and everything he brings to the table while Belichick having one incredible master plan to keep the Falcons at bat. What is your early prediction?
CL: I’m going to go with the Falcons. I think Quinn finds a way to get pressure on Brady and finds a way to stop their run game.
LTJ: I sure hope so, I would love to see the Falcons win their first ever Super Bowl championship. Do you think it’ll be a close game or could this possibly be a blowout?
CL: Same here! I think this will be a close competitive Super Bowl. *fingers crossed*
Next: 1. Final score and MVP
Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) signals a first down against Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan (47) during the third quarter in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
1. Final score and MVP
LTJ: Time to look into our respective crystal balls and predict a final score and MVP. I’m predicting Patriots 28, Falcons 17 with the MVP once again going to Brady. He’s just been playing lights out football since he was reinstated and made it his mission to silence his critics once and for all. What about you, Christa?
CL: I’m going Falcons 30 Patriots 28! MVP will be Ryan.
LTJ: Oh man, very interesting choice there! Looking forward to a great game and another chapter added to NFL history depending on whichever team wins. Thanks again for sitting down with me Christa, keep up the fantastic work! Any player interviews you’d like to share with our readers?
CL: My pleasure Luis! Thank you so much for the opportunity! It’s much appreciated! Thank you, my good friend! Likewise! I’m thankful for every player I have the opportunity to interview. Here’s a link to my work which includes interviews and articles!