By Dan Leach
Well this is what its all about!
All the hard work, all the preparation, all the sweat, tears, love, passion. It is all done to lead to a chance to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy late Sunday night in Houston. It will either be the upstart Atlanta Falcons first-ever title? Or the New England Patriots’ absurd fifth title in the Tom Brady Era?
One thing I can tell you is that this is going to be one of the best Super Bowls we have ever seen.
The Pats come into the weekend with the NFL’s top-ranked defense against an Atlanta team with the top-ranked offense. It truly is a “something-must-give” type of game as these two teams — clearly the best two teams in the league this year — meet with everything on the line. Atlanta has just gotten better and better as the season as gone on while sporting the NFL’s most dynamic offense.
The Pats…well they simply are the Pats and always find ways to win. At the center of their efforts are the magic arm and legs of Tom Brady, who is gunning to end the discussion of who the greatest quarterback of all time with a win. This game is simply going to come down to who can make the bigger plays at the most important times, which both these teams have done all year long.
I see the start of this one as ultra important for Atlanta, as the Pats have been there and done that in so many Super Bowls over the past 15 years. This is Atlanta’s first since 1998 and first under Matt Ryan who has long been considered a QB who could take this team to the ultimate heights. If Atlanta can dictate the tempo early and not allow the Pats to move up and down the field at will, this is going to be a game that will be tight throughout.
I see Ryan and that Falcons offense being able to establish themselves early and then let their defense — led by NFL sack leader Vic Beasley — to give New England some issues. It is going to be a relentless pass rush by Atlanta and that is the one thing that could get Brady off kilter enough to slow New England down.
This is going to be a classic and a fitting end to a great NFL season and there are going to be a lot of classic plays on both sides. In the end, though, I have been on this Atlanta team since before the postseason began and they just have a special vibe right now that is going to lead them to their franchise’s first ever Super Bowl title.
Brady will have to wait for his “One For The Thumb.” Look for Taylor Gabriel and Julio Jones to both have huge nights and for Matt Ryan to walk away with the MVP award.
ATLANTA 41, NEW ENGLAND 38