So, it all comes down to this. 17 weeks of games, a month of preseason, another month of training camp, all for this moment. If you aren’t a patriot’s fan, I’m pretty sure you wanted to see someone other than them represent the AFC. After all, who likes to see them win? The AFC wasn’t competitive this year, and the challengers in the AFC proved to be an easy task for an angry Tom Brady and Bill BelliGOAT (too soon?). We could all feel it; no one was going to stop Tom on his revenge tour. In the NFC, the number one seed seemed to be all for naught as the Cowboys couldn’t handle the streaking Packers. The Packers took their hot offense and magician for a QB, into ATL and got molly-whopped by a Falcons team that everyone (okay, maybe just me) was waiting to see choke. It seems in Atlanta, coach Dan Quinn has been the difference. His winning pedigree and much improved defense has shaped this Atlanta team who already had one of the best, (if not the best) wide receiver in the league. Ryan had a fantastic year under center and led the Falcons right into Houston.
Now, only one thing remains. On Sunday two teams who are unfamiliar with each other, will go toe to toe for the Lombardi trophy. Instead of taking about the game in general, I want to go over a few matchups that will decide the game.
Julio vs Everyone
We can’t even list this as Julio vs Malcolm Butler, nor can we list this as Julio vs Patrick Chung, why? Simply put, guarding Julio will be a team effort. (Props to me for not saying something super cliché- first time you have heard that “team effort” phrase, right? Good job Marc). Cliché or not, it’s a fact. How many times do you think Belichick will matchup Butler on Julio one on one? No, Julio will be covered not only by a corner, but also given over the top. Can they neutralize the massive threat that Julio is?
Tom vs Deion Jones
With as much as Brady loves his tight ends, Jones will be tasked with slowing them down for some points through the day. The Falcons defense has been running increasingly more man to man than in the past, and as a result, the rookie from LSU will probably be tested often by Brady in his matchup against Bennett in man situations. If the Falcons leave him in man to man too much, Bennett could cause serious damage.
Don’ta Hightower vs Coleman and Freeman
The two headed monster of Coleman and Freeman have combined for 1599 yards on the ground and 883 yards receiving. That’s over 2000 yards from scrimmage for an offense that was one of the best in the NFL this season. Hightower will probably have some assignments to cover Coleman and Freeman in pass coverage as well as being the guy called on to plug up running lanes. Hightower is a veteran with plenty of experience, but this will be quite an assignment.
Vic Beasley and Co. vs Patriots O-line
This could prove to be the matchup that shapes the game. With Vic Beasley having his best season of his young career, the offensive line will be tasked with protecting Brady. It’s well known that Brady doesn’t like to be hit, so if the Falcons can get pressure on him early and often, they may be able to throw him off his game just enough to make a difference. Make no mistake, Brady knows how to handle pressure, but hit him a few times and like any quarterback, his throws start to be the tiniest bit shaky.
The Patriots will win the Superbowl. That being said, a win and Tom Brady is solidified in my mind as the best quarterback ever.
Final: Patriots 31, Falcons 27