Opening the season, the Falcons had 40-1 odds to win the Super Bowl. As you might have guessed, that number has dropped tremendously, Vegas now shows the numbers are 13-10. No one expected Atlanta to be one win shy of the Lombardi Trophy. There were hundreds of doubts coming into the season, such as: Ryan can’t work with Shanahan’s offense. The Falcon’s defense can’t take them to the next level. The only playmaker Atlanta has is Julio Jones. The people who were adamant at the beginning of the season the Falcons were going to have yet another disappointing season have been awfully quiet as of late. The Falcons can prove everyone wrong by defeating the Pats. Although New England’s favored to win, there’s little doubt in most Atlanta fans’ mind that the Falcons won’t come out on top. However, if you’re the person who’s still concerned about the Falcons chances, read these 5 reasons on why it’s almost a guarantee they’ll put a stomp on New England.
1.Matt Ryan, Julio Jones Combination: If you had to rank the best duo combinations in the NFL the Ryan Jones combination would be high on your list. All year long these two have led the Falcons to having a record breaking season offensively. By now, every defense in the league knows they must slow down Julio and prevent Ryan from having a big day to stand a chance. Yet most defenses still fail because of how talented these two are. Malcolm Butler is New England’s #1 corner and will have the task, likely along with others of covering Jones. No matter if it’s Butler or even Richard Sherman shadowing Julio, Julio always has the advantage especially in Ryan’s eyes. The Ryan, Jones combination is very likely to give the Pats fits, which is just one reason the Falcons will become champs Sunday.
2.Dominant Rookies: The first-round pick of the 2016 draft for the Falcons was safety Keanu Neal. Even in his first year Neal is one of many rookies making a crucial impact. Neal is one of the most powerful safety’s in the league, evidence by the fact he’s forced 5 fumbles on the season. Another rookie on the defensive side is Deion Jones. Deion is a speedy linebacker and quick to make tackles. He’s been a good replacement from previous MLB Paul Worrilow. Brian Poole is yet another rookie, who’s made his way to a reliable corner for Atlanta. If you’re not convinced on how these “dominant rookies” can change the aspect of the game, think about this stat: Last week the Falcons became the first team in NFL history to start 4 rookies on the defensive side in a conference championship. They proceeded to shut out the Packers in the first half. Neal, Poole, Jones, and De’Vondre Campbell will be a big part of the Falcons winning Sunday.
3.Sneaky-good defense: Atlanta ranked 24th in total defense during the regular season. (out of 32 teams) Statistics aren’t always everything, confidence level plays a big part too. After a terrific performance against the Packers, the Falcons D must be feeling very confident. The Packers went into the Conference Championship riding an 8-game winning streak. To be able to shut down Rodgers and the flaming hot packers, shows the Falcons D isn’t a joke. But it wasn’t just that one good game, there’s other stats that show that the Falcon’s defense may not be as poor as some say it is. Over the last 6 games Atlanta’s played, they’ve only given up an average of 19 points. When your offense is scoring 30+ a game, the 19 points given up is fine. They’ll have a tough task up against Tom Brady, but the way the defense has played against elite quarterbacks, don’t expect a lackluster performance by Atlanta.
4.Who do you plan for? The number of threats the Falcons have has been the talk of the season. Ryan has completed touchdown passes to 13 different receivers on the year, an NFL record. Those players are Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Jacob Tamme, Austin Hooper, Justin Hardy, Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Aldrick Robinson, Levine Toilolo, Patrick DeMarco, Perkins, and Tialavea. 10/13 of those players have more than just one TD. As a defense, who do you plan for? It’s an assumption you must use your best defenders to guard Julio, but that leaves Sanu, Hooper, Gabriel and many other star athletes with an advantage. Also, the running game for Atlanta has been a huge success with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. And let’s not forget, the captain of the offense Matt Ryan has been consistent and reliable as can be throughout the season. This is perhaps the biggest reason the Falcons will win it all. No defense knows the recipe to stopping Atlanta’s offense.
5.No mistakes: Every head coach in the league likely preaches the phrase “no mistakes.” The teams that minimize their mistakes best win the most games. Atlanta has committed the fewest turnovers in the league (11). Atlanta’s prolific offense also hasn’t turned the ball over in 4 straight games. This does not mean that it’s a guarantee Atlanta won’t commit a turnover Sunday, but it’s reassuring as a fan to know it’s unlikely your team will lose off of mistakes. With Atlanta being the number one offense in the league and having committed the fewest turnovers in the league, even a top tier defense like New England’s will be faced with the biggest challenge of their season. Expect for Atlanta to win Sunday because of their top athletes, the outstanding rookies they have, an improving defense, the depth they have in all positions, and because of an exceptional offense that rarely makes mistakes.
Image 1 retired from: http://images.sportsworldreport.com/data/images/full/51898/julio-jones-matt-ryan.jpg
Image 2 retrieved from: http://sidelionreport.com/files/2012/08/6474982.jpg