NFL Pick ‘Em: Super Bowl LI

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It’s that time again. If you’re within the States, you probably already know this.

Seeing as my rampant, unquenchable thirst for all things football cannot be deterred by mere low-quality officiating or a distaste for those running the stage, I ended up closely following the season via statistics, but didn’t partake in watching many games. (I watched maybe five games during the entire Regular Season.) Even so, I watched every playoff game and am totally, 100% confident in my predictions as I’ve experienced about 15% of the entire season. That’ll make me credible.

That being said, the match-up is one I’m personally satisfied with. Many would disagree, as the New England Patriots are almost universally hated, but I’ve found myself a semi-fan of the team due to my contrarian nature. And they’re constantly a thorn in the side of the higher-ups of the NFL. That makes me giddy. On the other side, the team I personally want to win, are the Atlanta Falcons, making only their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Nothing against New England, but I want to see Atlanta win one.

Breaking down the benefits in each favor, both teams have a lot of firepower on both sides of the ball. The Falcons have a lot more inexperience, especially on defense with a number of rookies in starting roles, but they’ve consistently held off high-powered offenses, most recently of the once-red-hot Green Bay Packers. That goes a long way for creating a stream of confidence heading into a game against an offense that has consistently demolished every opponent throughout the season. Both teams are hot. Both teams are playing spectacularly. This one may very well come down to the wire.

I can’t really say who has the edge in any particular area, as both teams have a number of different methods of attack. Kyle Shanahan’s offensive gameplan reminds me some of Andy Reid’s, relying a lot on precision and deceit and paying attention to every aspect of the play. With the number of weapons at Matt Ryan’s disposal, it’ll prove to be a hefty task, especially when even if Julio Jones is double-teamed, Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel are more than capable of picking up the slack. New England’s offense is a model of consistency. They, too, have a number of different weapons that feature different methods of attack. Yards after the catch is a focal point that tends to give opposing defenses fits. The key concern for Atlanta’s defense is to keep what they have in front of them and tackle, tackle, tackle. Rely on the front four to get pressure and throw Tom Brady off rhythm, as I’ve seen Buffalo do a great job of making Brady look ordinary doing just that.

In the end, the debate for me is modeled consistency versus up-and-coming stars. The Falcons have lost some rather easy games early on in the season, including games against the Eagles and Chargers, so the doubt begins to creep in when going up against a 14-2 team that only lost to a hardened veteran team in Seattle, and Buffalo without Brady as a starter. It’s really hard to bet against New England, seeing as their success has been ongoing since before my youngest brother was born. Still, the Falcons have a path carved before them to show that there’s a new dynasty in the NFL. They just need to prove it by dethroning the current diamond franchise.

By the way, I’m 1-5 in Super Bowl picks since 2011. Please feel free to bet against me.

Winner: New England

Quick Pick: Pittsburgh at New England (Week One; 2015)

Twenty minutes before the kickoff to the 2015 NFL season, a thought comes to my mind:

“Dude, I should blog my picks.”

So, I’m going to do just that. I kinda wish I had thought to do this earlier, so that I could have time to think about every match-up this week carefully before deciding. So, since the beginning of the season draws near, I decided I’m going to just dedicate this quick note to the game going on tonight, and then make another note elaborating my picks for the rest of the games going on on Sunday.

The Steelers are without Maurkice Pouncey, Martavis Bryant, and Le’veon Bell tonight—three offensive starters that will be missed. However, what they still have in Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, and the rest of the offensive line shouldn’t make those losses all too significant. Tom Brady didn’t look good at all in the preseason (note he didn’t have most of his offensive starters with him) and I think the entire ordeal with DeflateGate has messed with his mojo tremendously. I don’t think the Patriots are the underdogs in this match-up, but I think with all that’s happened throughout the offseason, their chances seem more slim than usual. On the contrary, the Patriots could also use everything against them as motivation to quiet their doubters, similar to how they trampled the competition during the 2007 season.

I also have a funny feeling that this won’t be a close game. Either team could get blown out, and I think the chances are good that it will happen. Either Tom Brady will let out his pent-up frustration and anger on the Steelers’ secondary or Ben Roethlisberger will have one of his miraculous six-touchdown games.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Patriots’ secondary holds up without Darelle Revis this season, and how they fare against Antonio Brown. The same can be said about the Steelers’ secondary, with Cortez Allen’s inconsistent play and the retiring of Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor in the offseason. Both of these teams look very similar in structure. That’s also what makes it so hard to doubt either team. I have a good feeling about the Steelers, though. Let’s see if my “good feelings” can translate to more correct picks than not.

Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers.