Feb 1, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; A general view of the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots next to the Vince Lombardi Trophy prior to a press conference in preparation for Super Bowl LI at George R. Brown Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Heading into Super Bowl 51, here are the final staff writer predictions for the big game by the team of The Jet Press.
As Super Bowl 51 is finally upon us, the Contributor team of The Jet Press all sat down for our yearly final predictions on the big game. Yes, lots of coffee, croissants, and choice select adult beverages were enjoyed by all.
We all put in a ton of hard work throughout the regular season and NFL Playoffs. Most of us were wrong (well, except Jaiden Campana who was flawless in every prediction he wrote about) but at the end of the day, we sure do love to write and get our thoughts out there.
It only made sense to discuss who we think will win the game that should end up being a classic. We all hope it’s a great one that comes down to the very end. Even though we all have different opinions on who will leave this game victorious, we all have a valid opinion to back it up.
Without further ado, here are all our final predictions for the big game.
Next: Luis Tirado Jr., Expert
Jan 22, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) runs onto the field prior to the Patriots’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Luis Tirado Jr., Expert
Every year, I always look forward to the Super Bowl. It’s all about enjoying a great game, excellent food, lots of beer, and solid company. This year, it promises to be a great one between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.
I’ve spent all week watching highlights, reading articles from all different places on the internet and even enjoying great podcasts before coming up with a final decision. Even in my latest podcast, I simply had to go with my gut. The Patriots are going to win in all and continue notching their place in NFL history.
When it comes to professional football, experience tends to always give a team that extra advantage over an opponent. The Patriots have been there, done that, and will shut down even the most powerful offense in the NFL. They’re built to win and Super Bowl 51 will be no exception.
Patriots will win 28-21 but it will come down to the wire in a familiar setting with quarterback Tom Brady doing what he does best to seal another championship win in the final minutes of a close battle.
Next: Samuel Sutton, Contributor
Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) congratulates running back Tevin Coleman (26) after a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Samuel Sutton, Contributor
On Sunday, Feb 5, the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots will play in Super Bowl 51 in Houston, Texas. This will be New England’s ninth Super Bowl appearance and Atlanta’s second appearance.
The Patriots had to play a tough Pittsburgh Steelers team and won the game with ease. While it was a good win, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. This team has been dominating all season long, especially when Brady arrived in week five.
Atlanta also dominated in their conference Championship against the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay came in with a stellar seven-game winning streak, with the some of the best quarterback play of all time within seven games. However, Atlanta’s offense was much stronger.
They pulverized Green Bay’s defense, and their defense was able to shut down the hot Aaron Rodgers. Both teams have played great, but there should be no question that the Falcons will win Super Bowl 51. Their offense is far too tough to stop for 60 minutes, and after seeing what they are capable of on defense, New England doesn’t stand a chance.
Looking back at New England’s AFC Divisional round performance, it’s clear that they have some trouble performing well against a strong defense. Atlanta doesn’t necessarily have one of the top defenses in the league, but if they’re coached up right, and they are able to play like they did in the NFC Championship, they should be able to hold their own enough for the Falcons’ high-powered offense to put enough points on the board. The final score in this game is predicted to be 38-34, in favor of the Atlanta Falcons.
Next: Michael Pallas, Contributor
Feb 2, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan answers questions during a press conference at Westin Houston Memorial City Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Pallas, Contributor
Super Bowl 51 is upon us, and we are in for a good game. It pits the league’s No. 1 scoring offense against the league’s No. 1 scoring defense.
This will be the sixth time in NFL history that has occurred. The league’s No. 1 defense has come out on top four times, but the one time the offense came out on top it was a 55-10 drubbing by the San Francisco 49ers.
In the previous games, there is an average margin of victory of five points, with an average final score of 29-24. So, the game should be close.
Frankly, the Falcons offense is similar to “The Greatest Show on Turf” Rams, with too many weapons to stop, and the Patriots are just a well-oiled machine. We should expect the Falcons role players on offense to step up early, and force the Patriots hands, which will lead to a late breakout by wide receiver Julio Jones.
Final: Patriots 27, Falcons 33
MVP: Matt Ryan
Next: Jason Rodriguez, Contributor
Feb 4, 2017; Houston, TX USA; General overall view of Atlanta Falcons helmet at NRG Stadium prior to Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Rodriguez, Contributor
This Sunday, Super Bowl 51 has plenty of storylines that we as fans would like to see and can’t wait for it. The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots have been playing excellent football and will battle it out come Sunday.
The Falcons have been on a mission in proving doubters wrong and will look to dethrone the Patriots. It will be important for the Falcons to get off to a strong start and make the Patriots aware this is not going to be an easy game.
The Falcons offense will look to be very aggressive with their run and passing game like they have had these past two games in the playoffs. Matt Ryan will also look to win his first MVP trophy and again, prove the doubters wrong.
The Patriots defense is not as powerful and they will look to stop the two-headed monster of the Falcons rushing attack. The Patriots will have a tough mission ahead of them when they have to face the Falcons passing game.
Tom Brady will need to continue his success and will need to control the clock to keep the Falcons offense on the sidelines. If Brady is kept in the pocket and is being hit he will be thrown off his game. That’s what I expect to see come Sunday and the Patriots will have a tough day.
The game will come down to a final drive and Matt Ryan will lead his team to the win and solidify his case to win the MVP of the big game.
Score Prediction: Falcons 27, Patriots 21
Next: Jaiden Campana, Contributor
Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) reacts after a touchdown by running back Tevin Coleman (26) during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Jaiden Campana, Contributor
The Atlanta Falcons are on the quest for their first Lombardi Trophy, as the New England Patriots search for five. Tom Brady looks to fill a whole hand of Super Bowl rings, and Matt Ryan can capitalize his MVP-caliber season with his first championship.
We all know the story for both teams. Atlanta has the best offense in the league, becoming the eighth-highest total scoring team in the league since 1990.
The high-flying (pun totally intended) Falcons have turned up the heat throughout the playoffs, outscoring the Seahawks and Packers 80-41. Matt Ryan has seven touchdowns with zero interceptions, the duo of Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu have combined for 24 catches, 343 yards, and five touchdowns.
Their defense has played tremendously, creating the perfect storm for the Falcons. The inexperience in the secondary, along with the loss of star Desmond Trufant, hasn’t fazed Atlanta one bit.
Players such as Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and Jalen Collins have anchored the middle of the field and secondary for Atlanta, not allowing Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson to create their typical postseason magic. Having the league’s sack leader in Vic Beasley always helps, too.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
As for the Patriots, it’s business as usual. Tom Brady has made players around him, turn into superstars. Just look at what receiver Chris Hogan has done so far this postseason (you didn’t know who he was six weeks ago).
They picked apart the league’s top defense in the first round and invited the Steelers to their clinic in the Championship round. The running game has been nonexistent, as with Atlanta, but both teams have proven that running the ball isn’t necessary to get to the event of a lifetime.
Brady and Belichick are now the most-frequent visitors to the Super Bowl, with both making their seventh appearance. Belichick can become the winningest head coach in Super Bowl history with five wins, beating the legendary Chuck Noll.
Their experienced defense has proved to show its worth, only allowing three touchdowns throughout the playoffs. They did this with ease in the regular season, as they were first in the league in points scored against per game (15.6).
THE VERDICT: Atlanta wins, 33-31
I believe that this is the year of the Falcon. It’s really the year of the chicken, but you get what I’m saying… I hope.
The Falcons just have too much offensive firepower and will beat down an impressive New England defense quite easily. Even though Brady has made unfamiliar faces legends for a couple of weeks, it won’t be enough against the offensive juggernaut that Atlanta is.
The key for both teams will be the running game; something that, stated before, both teams haven’t been able to establish in the playoffs. To me, Atlanta holds the superior threat with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.
Brady will be able to expose Atlanta’s young defense being the elite quarterback he is, but the young guns for Atlanta have been fired up. They might get beat here and there, but they are experiencing their first Super Bowl and will have the energy and hungriness to bring Atlanta its first title.
There’s no doubt in my mind that New England will go on a couple more historic runs as long as Brady and Belichick are in town. But, they are playing a team that has been set perfectly on both sides of the ball to win a championship.
Nonetheless, this can go down as the best Super Bowl to ever be played in history. Enjoy, football fans, we deserve this.
Next: Bobby Kirschenbaum, Contributor
Jan 22, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during the 2017 AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Bobby Kirschenbaum, Contributor
Super Bowl 51 has the potential to be one of the highest-scoring games in the history of the league. The game features two MVP-caliber quarterbacks and great offenses. Matt Ryan has been incredible all season, and he has one of the best receivers in the game in Julio Jones. In the playoffs, he helped the Falcons lock up the 2 seed in the NFC, where they dominated the Seahawks and then destroyed the Packers to get into the big game.
Tom Brady, following his four-week suspension to start the season, came back with a vengeance and helped the Patriots lock up the top seed in the AFC and then cruised to two straight double-digit victories over the Texans and Steelers. Both teams clearly have what it takes to be the best and hoist Lombardi’s trophy on Sunday. However, this game simply comes down to one key component: experience.
Ryan will be playing in his first Super Bowl, along with just about every player on the team and the coaches. On the other hand, Brady will be playing in his 7th, looking for his 5th, victory, solely losing to the Giants and Eli Manning those two times. He’s been here before and after running out on that field Sunday night in front of the sold-out Houston crowd, Brady will be calm as can be and will march the Patriots onto victory.
As incredible of players as the Patriots are on the field, it takes great coaching, as well, to truly be the best. And the Patriots have a powerhouse trio of Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia leading both sides of the ball. With two weeks to prepare, I anticipate Belichick having every answer possible ready in the books to slow down the Falcons offense, an offense that averaged a league-best 33.8 points per game this season.
Every time I think that the Patriots are due to get blown out, the coaching staff always just seems to maneuver every trick in the books to slow down opponents. Just two weeks ago, in their AFC Championship game, the Patriots demolished the Steelers, who were one of the hottest teams in the league heading into the matchup. They forced Ben Roethlisberger to throw an interception that gave the Patriots momentum. They held Antonio Brown to just 77 yards with Malcolm Butler locking him down for most of the game.
And just to absolutely play with the heads of the Steelers and Mike Tomlin, the Patriots add a flea flicker into their scheme, which resulted in a wide open Brady-to-Hogan touchdown. Although Atlanta has all the talent needed to pose a threat to the Patriots, there is just enough time for Bill Belichick to create a plan to slow down Atlanta’s attack and let Tom take care of the rest on offense.
All season, fans talk about the “x-factors” that the Falcons have on offense. They added Mohammed Sanu in the offseason, Taylor Gabriel became a threat as the season progressed and they have a killer 1-2 punch in the backfield in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Yet, in my opinion, the Patriots have an equal amount of these players and more, just enough to keep the Falcons thinking all night long.
The backfield contains a powerful trio of three guys who can run well and catch like receivers. Dion Lewis missed most of the season but upon his return, he dominated, and that resilience showed in the AFC Division game against Houston, where he ran for 41 yards and a touchdown, caught two catches for 23 yards and a touchdown, and returned a kick 98 yards for a touchdown. Additionally, they have LeGarrette Blount, a veteran running back who rushed for a league-best 18 touchdowns this season.
And finally, there is James White, one of the best receiving backs in the league, who also caught a touchdown in the game against the Texans. Chris Hogan had a breakout season for the Patriots and Martellus Bennett has been great for the Patriots, especially following the season-ending injury to Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski. Brady has all the weapons he needs and will be sure to use each of them effectively on the big stage this Sunday.
Finally, this game will be the time that Brady and the Patriots get their vengeance on the rest of the league and prove all the doubters and haters wrong. Goodell kicked the offseason off with a four-game suspension for Brady for the DeflateGate scandal last playoffs. The league always just seems to be searching for any sort of controversy to pinpoint back to New England.
In the AFC Championship game, the Steelers hotel fire alarm went off at 3 am, and of course, fans immediately point their fingers at New England. Then, most recently, this week, Kyle Shannahan, the offensive coordinator for the Falcons, misplaced his playbook, and some people actually began accusing the Patriots. Come on, now. Sure, as a Jets fan, nothing brings greater joy to me than watching the Patriots lose or get tangled up in a new scandal. But Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. The New England Patriots are a dynasty. And come this Sunday, Brady and the Patriots will cruise on to win their 5th Super Bowl.
I believe the Falcons will put up points, as they have way too good of an offense to be shut down completely. And I think their defense, led by Vic Beasley Jr. will get their fair share of stops and three-and-outs. However, in the end, the veteran leadership and pure talent will be too much to overcome for Atlanta and the Patriots will claim victory once again.
Final score prediction: 31-20 Patriots
Next: Chris Stephano, Contributor
Chris Stephano, Contributor
The Patriots are currently listed as 3 point favorites in Super Bowl 51. Obviously, anything can happen in sports, but the prudent gambler is still running to Vegas to put it all on New England.
The Patriots as a team simply defy logic. They lose their Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback for 4 games- a blow that would devastate most teams- and go 3-1 anyway. After his suspension, a 39-year-old Tom Brady comes back and posts an absurd 28 TD/2 INT ratio. LeGarrette Blount, once a Steelers castoff, inexplicably leads the league in rushing touchdowns. Despite lacking the star power of teams like the Seahawks or Broncos, the Patriots also fielded the best defense in the league (15.6 pts/game).
The Falcons are not a fluke either. Bolstered by stars like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman, they were the only team in the league to average over 30 points a game. Unfortunately, their defense was not nearly as effective (ranked 27th in points allowed). Although their defense made positive strides in the playoffs, it will be brutally tested facing Brady and the Patriots.
Both teams in the Super Bowl can score, but only one of them can consistently shut down the opposing offense. Combine their defense with extensive playoff experience and elite coaching, and the Patriots are the easy favorite in Super Bowl 51.
Final: Patriots 35, Falcons 24
Next: Ryan Patti, Contributor
Dec 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) runs onto the field before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Patti, Contributor
It’s every sports fan’s favorite day of the year, the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots are making their ninth appearance and the Atlanta Falcons are making their second. Both teams are coming in red hot and it’s not surprising at all to see this matchup.
You can’t ignore the quarterback showdown. The greatest of all-time against the MVP favorite. Matt Ryan is looking to get the ‘Dirty Birds’ their first ring while Tom Brady is looking to get one for his thumb.
The two offenses are loaded with playmakers and the defenses have been opportunistic throughout the season. You even have two of the league’s best kickers facing off. The only thing this contest is missing is All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Super Bowl 51 will go down the wire, although it’s too difficult to pick against the Patriots. Had the play calling been better in Week 10, they’d be undefeated with Brady under center. New England seems to be a freight train that can’t be stopped, but as the saying goes, “any given Sunday.”
Prediction: Patriots 30-24
Next: Hillary Garza, Contributor
Jan 22, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (L) talks with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (R) on the victory podium after the Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Hillary Garza, Contributor
Atlanta hasn’t made an appearance since the end of the last millennium in the Super Bowl. They have all the tools necessary to rise up against the New England Patriots, who frequently made appearances in the biggest game of the year.
However, I’m feeling a final score of 31-28 Patriots, proving sometimes even though you have all the tools, experience gives the ultimate advantage. In just a short time, head coach Dan Quinn has been able to build a strong and talented team which should result in a high scoring game.
However, let’s face it, his opponent is Bill Belichick. For Quinn, the odds are not in his favor (3-22) in the first time playing against Belichick- and first time being a Super Bowl game, doesn’t help the Falcons.
Although one may argue the experience Quinn gained during the Seahawks-Patriots Super Bowl that ended in an interception that cost Seattle the game, it could not only count as one on one experience but also give him the goal of getting a bit closure on a wound still open. I would like the Falcons to win, however, I’m predicting the Patriots win in an exciting close game.
Next: Genna Preston, Contributor
Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (12) warms up prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Genna Preston, Contributor
Predicting a Super Bowl winner is like predicting the weather, it can change at any moment! NFL analysts act as weather professionals as they analyze past and present trends. One thing is certain, eventually, someone is right.
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NFL analysts are going through extreme measures to predict Sunday’s winner. SB Nation polled several analysts and the Falcons came out on top.
CBS Sports based their findings off a Madden Super Bowl simulation; the Patriots won 30-20. If I based the Super Bowl off Madden, the New York Jets would beat the Miami Dolphins. Yes, I know that matchup isn’t even possible but, that’s exactly why I wouldn’t rely on a Madden simulator.
But, the truth is, we can only rely on facts and statistics. For example, the Patriots struggle against good quarterbacks. Matt Ryan is a shot caller, and the Patriots have only squared up with two quarterbacks this season that fall into that category; one being Russell Wilson who took the victory at Foxborough.
Another interesting fact is that the Falcons don’t offer an extreme number of turnovers; they had no turnovers in any of their playoff matchups. The Patriots only two losses all season were to teams that didn’t surrender any turnovers; interesting, I know! If the Patriots want to come out on top, they must force takeaways.
Lastly, I must mention the Falcons defense. They surrendered the fifth-most points in the league this season. However, over their last eight games, they have only offered opponents about 20 points per game. Let’s also keep in mind the Falcons played one of the highest scoring divisions in the NFL this season.
We can’t forget when the Falcons destroyed the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs. Not only did this so called lousy defense stop the Hail Mary king himself but, they even managed to haul in an interception.
Tom Brady is as elite as they come but, Matt Ryan has proven himself to be a force to reckon with. With both teams having solid offenses, it will come down to whose defense can stop the madness first.
Final Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 21-30
Next: Richard Rodgers, Contributor
Jan 22, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) reacts after a touchdown during the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Rodgers, Contributor
It’s a great matchup featuring two of the league’s elite quarterbacks when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots go up against Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. With that being said, though, only one team can come out on top, and the Falcons’ high-flying offense will have what it takes to earn the organization their first ever Super Bowl victory.
You could start in a number of places when describing the Falcons’ league-leading offense, but in this game, I expect their dominant running back tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman to be a major x-factor. The loss of inside linebacker Jamie Collins will definitely sting for New England in this game as they attempt to slow down Freeman and Coleman coming out of the backfield. The Patriots’ linebackers clearly don’t have the speed and ability to contend with those two.
When it comes to the Falcons’ passing game, Matt Ryan has a plethora of weapons to choose from and the Patriots simply don’t have the pieces in the secondary to really matchup. New England does have a few great players in their secondary with cornerback Malcolm Butler, and safety Devin McCourty, but this is clearly not enough as the Falcons have the likes of Julio Jones, Muhamed Sanu, and Taylor Gabriel in their wide receiver corps along with a solid tight end tandem with Austin Hooper and Levine Toilolo.
Defensively for Atlanta, they will have an extremely tough task attempting to stop future Pro Football Hall of Famer Tom Brady from winning yet another Super Bowl title. On the bright side, though, they will not have to deal with nearly the plethora of weapons that New England’s defense will. If Atlanta can do a decent job of keeping tight end Marcellus Bennett and wide receiver Julian Edelman in check, they should be able to give their offense enough of a chance to win the game. It’s hard to believe that wide receiver Chris Hogan will be able to take down the Falcons on his own.
Another key factor in this game will be the Falcons’ best defensive player and the league leader in sacks, outside linebacker Vic Beasley. Everybody knows that the key to slowing down Brady is by taking him off his spot. If there’s anybody who can successfully do so, Beasley is unquestionably in that select group.
Expect an extremely close shootout between the Falcons and Patriots in Houston on Sunday night. Both teams have earned their spots in the big game. It will be a tightly contested game, but Atlanta’s offense is simply too hot to handle.