Fikkle Fame’s Prediction for Super Bowl LI

We’ve arrived at the big game, or if you prefer The Big Game of the NFL season, Super Bowl LI. Way back on September 8th, the Carolina Panthers played the Denver Broncos in the 2016 season opener, a rematch of Super Bowl 50. Neither one of those teams made the post season this time around. The Atlanta Falcons will represent the NFC for only the second time in the team’s existence, while the AFC’s New England Patriots are making their ninth appearance. The Falcons lost Super Bowl XXIII to the Denver Broncos, while the Patriots are 4-4. New England most recent appearance was two years ago in Super Bowl XLIX, a victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Super Bowl LI Sunday February 5th, 2017

New England (16-2) vs. Atlanta (13-5) at Houston. Patriots favored by 3. The two teams did not play each other during the regular season. This is New England’s ninth Super Bowl and Tom Brady’s seventh start. Brady is 4-2 in his previous Super Bowls. Bill Belichick has been the Patriot’s head coach for all of Brady’s appearances. The 39 year old Brady sat out the first four games of the season due to Deflate Gate but still passed for over 3500 yards and 28 touchdowns. The Patriots have a balanced attack and can run the ball well; LeGarrette Blount rushed for 1161 yards and 18 touchdowns. Falcon’s quarterback Matt Ryan had an MVP caliber season leading Atlanta’s prolific offense that has only gotten more explosive in recent weeks. Ryan’s favorite target is WR Julio Jones, who had over 1400 receiving yards in the regular season and is coming off a 180 yard two touchdown performance in the NFC Championship game.

There’s no doubt the two teams have offenses capable of big yardage and big scoring, but on the other side of the ball, the Patriots feature the better defense. New England allowed the fewest points (250) of any team in the NFL during the regular season. The Falcons allowed 406 points, 27th in the league.

The Patriots, and especially Brady, are perhaps more motivated than usual (if that’s possible in a game of this magnitude) due to that Deflate Gate issue. You can bet the quarterback would love to have NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hand him the Vince Lombardi Trophy after having been suspended to start the season. The Patriots motivation, experience, and defense will carry them to their fifth Super Bowl title. Patriots 31 Falcons 24.

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3 Responses

  1. EricS says:

    I think the fun question is: would the rules be more likely to change if the Patriots had never gotten the ball? After all, that team has been responsible for more rule adaptations than Wilt Chamberlain.

  2. EricS says:

    The Super Bowl is often about adjustments made during the game. I think that was evident last night.
    Great prediction, but I think it might have been due to more of a coin flip. I can’t help but wonder if we will see a change in the rules for OT (or if we would have if Atlanta had won)?

    • Mark says:

      I think both teams should have the ball at least once in overtime. As it stands now, the Patriots took the OT kickoff and scored a touchdown, ending the game without the Falcons having possession of the ball. Green Bay lost a playoff game in similar manner to the Cardinals a year ago. Current rules are that if one team kicks a field goal, the other does get the ball, but a touchdown ends it. I think the Falcons should have then received a kickoff and have a chance to win or tie. I’d also be fine with a scenario where, for example, the Patriots scored a touchdown on the opening drive of the OT, the Falcons receive the kickoff and score on a touchdown drive, then kickoff to the Patriots, who score by any means and win. Or some type of adaptation/modification of the college overtime rules. I think the Patriots would have won under any overtime scenario the way they dominated the last quarter and a half, but Atlanta should have had a possession in my opinion. But all that aside,what a great comeback and victory for New England.