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Smooth’s Football Picks – Super Bowl 51

falcons patriots.jpg

After 6 months of training camp, hard knocks, torn limbs and broken hearts, we’re down to the final two teams. One looks to join an elite club of 5 Super Bowl championships, the other looks at a possible dynasty in the making.

Super Bowl 51
NRG Stadium
Houston, Texas

All odds are courtesy of Oddshark.com

Sunday February 5th
Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots
Line: Patriots by 3

Here’s our complete analysis of the game.

Offense: Both teams are high powered. Overall, Atlanta was 2nd, New England was 4th.

Quarterbacks: Tom Brady has done this before. It’s his 7th Super Bowl. He stands to gain a 5th ring if he wins. He’s been nothing short of perfect since coming back from suspension in week 5. 3,500 yards passing 28 TD’s and only 2 INT’s. Matt Ryan has finally come of age. He’s justifies being picked MVP with spectacular numbers. Nearly 5,000 yards passing 38 TD’s and only 7 INT’s during the regular season. However, based on experience, we have to give the edge to Brady.

Advantage – New England

Running Backs: Both teams are at the top 10 in rushing, Atlanta was 5th, New England was 7th. The Falcons’ Devanta Freeman runs the bulk of the snaps, nearly 1,100 yards rushed and 11 TD’s. Tevin Coleman was a nice option with 520 yards rushing and 8 TD’s. For the Patriots, it’s LeGarrette Blount. The big bruising back rushed for over 1,100 yards and a league leading 18 TD’s. We call this match-up at “all square”.

Edge – Even

Recievers: Both teams have spectacular air attacks. Atlanta was 2nd, New England was 5th. Julian Edelman leads the Patriots with over 1,100 yards passing and 3 TD’s. Free agent signing Martellus Bennet was a great pick up in place of the injured Rob Gronkowski, he had 701 receiving yards and led the receivers in TD’s with 7. Chris Hogan was a great replacement for Danny Amendola when he went down, 680 yards and 4 TD. For the Falcons, Julio Jones leads the way with over 1,400 yards receiving and 6 TD’s. Mohamed Sanu was a great second option for Ryan with 653 yards receiving and 4 TD’s. We give the slight edge to the Falcons because of the rank.

Edge – Atlanta

Offensive Line: The New England O-line has given up 4.2 sacks per game, good enough for 6th overall, meanwhile, Atlanta’s O-line gives up 6.4 sacks per game, putting them at 24th in the league. A pretty easy pick on this one. Give the edge to the Patriots.

Edge – New England

Defense: New England takes the advantage with the 8th best defense overall. Atlanta was 25th in the league.

Defensive Line: The Falcons go with Brooks Reed, Johnathan Babineau, Grady Jarrett and Tyson Jackson. Not many sacks among them during the regular season, but they were outstanding in the NFC Championship. The Patriots Go with Alan Branch, Trey Flowers, Malcom Brown and Jaabal Sheppard, with Chris Long. They have over 20 sacks among them, give them the edge.

Edge – New England

Linebackers: Ron Ninkovich, Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy have been the playmakers all season. The leader for the Falcons is Vic Beasley Jr. leading all players with 15 ½ sacks this season. Deion Jones leads all players with 106 sacks this season. The Falcons get the edge in this category.

Edge – Atlanta

Secondary: The Patriots secondary have been solid all season with all four starters at the top in tackles. Malcom Butler leads the team in Interceptions with 4, Logan Ryan and Patrick Chung are 1-2 in tackles. As for the Falcons, free safety’s Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen have over 90 tackles each this season. Giving the edge to the Patriots.

Edge – New England

Special Teams: The Patriots Stephen Gostkowski is 27 for 32 in field goals, going 9 for 19 from 40+ yards. Ryan Allen has a 44.7 average on punts. Cyrus Jones and Julian Edelman don’t have any punts or kickoffs returned for TD’s. The Falcons Matt Bryant has been spectacular on kicks going 34 for 37 and 6 for 8 in kicks from 50+ yards. Matt Bosher is 46.8 yards on punts. Eric Weems takes returns in punts and kicks. His best long was for 73 yards.

Edge – New England

Coaches: Dan Quinn was brought in two years ago by owner Arthur Blank to get the Falcons over the hump. He’s got experience winning a Super Bowl with Seattle, so he knows how to win the big game. As for Bill Belichick, he’s got 5 Super Bowl rings (). He’s been on top for the last 15 years with New England. A sixth one would put him above Lombardi, Walsh and Noll as the greatest coach of all time.

Edge – New England

Intangibles: As a native New Yorker, it’s killing me that Boston continues to win championships. Since 2001, the city has three world series, 4 super bowls, an NBA title and a Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, Atlanta has been known for choking in the big games. Their only championship was back in 1995, when the Braves won. Who knows? Maybe this is the year….maybe.

Edge – New England

Analysis – This has all the makings of a shootout. It could be one of the highest scored Super Bowls of all time. If the Falcons are gonna win, they’re gonna have to get out in front first, and stay in front. Matt Ryan has the offense to do just that. They just need to look at how the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl 42 to figure that out. Keep the possession away for the New England offense, put pressure on Brady and you win. But Belichick has been in these games plenty of times. Brady has, as well. They’ve been too good for too long, and they look like history will be on their side.

Smooth’s Pick – New England (37-35)

Now with all of our picks past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. If you have a gambling problem, then please seek help by going to gamblers anonymous dot org.

And that’s our Super Bowl Pick as well as our final report of the NFL season. Thanks for tuning in and we hope you’ll tune in next season.

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