Pats open as 3-point Super Bowl favorites but I like Falcons’ chances

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan celebrates after scoring on a 14-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Falcons beat Green Bay in the NFC title game to advance to the Super Bowl for only the second time. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com_

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan celebrates after scoring on a 14-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Falcons beat Green Bay in the NFC title game to advance to the Super Bowl for only the second time. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com_

The Falcons have left their first two playoff opponents punch-drunk, outscoring Seattle and Green Bay by a combined score of 80-41, rolling up 10 touchdowns and 915 yards in offense against two franchises that aren’t accustomed to being humiliated

This last one: not so easy.

New England had almost as easy of a time with Pittsburgh in the AFC championship Sunday as the Falcons did in their game against the Packers. They dumped the Steelers 36-17.

That means for the Falcons to win their first Super Bowl, they merely have to beat the most successful NFL franchise over the past 15 seasons. The Patriots have won four Super Bowls and played in six championship games since 2002, led by one of the greatest quarterbacks (Tom Brady) and coaches (Bill Belichick) in history.

The Patriots will open as a three-point favorite.

If you believe that’s a pretty tight point spread, well, maybe that says something about the Falcons. And I like their chances to win this game.

To read my column on the Falcons’ domination Sunday and why this is a crowning moment for owner Arthur Blank, click here. (Side note: Blank plans to take every employ in the organization to the game, not just players and coaches.)

The Patriots’ defense will be far better than the one the Falcons shredded Sunday in the Georgia Dome. New England ranked first in the NFL in points allowed (15.6 per game) and eighth in yardage (326.4 per game). Granted, they had the advantage of playing six games against the New York Jets (twice), Buffalo (twice), Cleveland and Houston. But those are still impressive numbers. Watching a New England defense that has allowed less than half the Falcons’ regular season scoring average (33.8) makes for an interesting match-up.

My early view: While the Falcons’ likely won’t roll up huge numbers in the Super Bowl, the Patriots will still be hard-pressed to keep pace offensively. The Falcons’ defense has significantly improved in recent weeks and threw a variety of blitzes and coverages at Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers Sunday. Rodgers has been torching opponents, but that wasn’t the case Sunday.

My opinion may change as we get closer to the game. But my early pick: Falcons win.

For the game column click here.

Subscribe to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz and WSB’s Zach Klein on iTunes. All episodes also can be downloaded and heard on iTunes or via WSBRadio.com. Two new episodes every week.

Recent blogs, columns, soup recipes

Reader Comments 0

9 comments
Harvey
Harvey

Gee, leave it to schultz to really go out on a limp with his prediction....

TideDawg
TideDawg

Wow! Brady taking the Patriots to the Super Bowl makes "deflate gate" a joke and his suspension probably worked in his favor as a 4 week vacation from practice....he is 40 isn't he? What reason, or violation will they come up with next why the Patriots win? They win because they are the most complete organization in pro football. That's from top to bottom, they are the best. The Falcons aren't at that level...yet, but they seem to be headed that way. What a relief after all the years of frustration. From the guy that hands out the towels in the locker room to Arthur Blank, you want the best at each level. That's the way you build a dynasty.

TideDawg
TideDawg

New England probably would have beaten the Steelers regardless. but the Steelers team was suffering from an intestinal virus a few days before the game, as was reported by the sports media. They looked very slow. If you've ever had the problem you can get over the symptoms quickly but the body doesn't recover for days. Not making an excuse for them just saying that the Falcons shouldn't eat any food not prepared by their own people. Some unscrupulous people will do anything to collect on a big bet including contaminating food to slow down a team. Far fetched....maybe...but it's been done before, I'm sure.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@TideDawg


shoulda woulda coulda even when talking NFL. It's inbred in dogs, tide or not. 

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Somebody needs to note: The Falcons defense has had to face Drew Brees twice, Cam Newton twice, Jameis Winston twice, Russell Wilson twice, Aaron Rodgers twice. The majority of the offense allowed by this defense has been garbage yards and scores in games that were over. Tom Brady and the Pats beat Houston (and whatever waterboy was the QB) and then a less than impressive Steeler team. Who will have the unmitigated Gaul to claim that the Pats have no damn clue what's coming at them?

FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

Hey, Jeff, great read! Arthur taking every Falcons employee to the big game? Absolutely keeping in line with the classy way he has run this organization since purchase (hope its true, wish I worked for him). Do you know if this is something that most owners do?