Let us explain why our predicted team will win the game.
Austen on why the Falcons will win:
When the Broncos came into the Super Bowl with a record setting offense, I predicted they would lose by double-digit points. This Falcons' offense is worlds better than that one. This is the most balanced and versatile offense the league has seen in years, if not decades. The reason this offense has gone a bit under the radar is there is not one guy dominating the stat sheets. Matt Ryan just won the MVP, but Julio Jones (the Falcons' biggest star) had a down year, at least by his standard. Jones dropped drastically in targets and catches because the Falcons have an array of offensive weapons that would make any franchise jealous.
Ryan set an NFL record for throwing a touchdown to thirteen different players. That is astonishing. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are only the second running back duo in the history of the NFL to both have double-digit touchdowns, while Freeman has led the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons. Meanwhile this offensive line is a top-five unit in the league to boot. There is no weakness to this offense, so it is going to be fun to see the chess match between NFL Assistant Coach of the Year Kyle Shanahan's offense against Bill Belichick's bend-but-don't-break defense.
Speaking of the defense, the Falcons have seven firs-t or second-year players starters on defense. Yes, this defense was in the bottom of the league in a lot of categories, but they have gotten better every week, culminating two weeks ago shutting out the Packers' high flying offense until the game was way out of hand. They won't have the comfort of playing in the Georgia Dome, but there is a lot to like about this fast and aggressive defense, despite its lack of experience. Vic Beasley is one of those young and inexperienced guys, and he led the league in sacks. Dan Quinn has done an incredible job turning around this team in two years and I think he is going to put his name in the history books with the Falcon's first-ever Super Bowl win.
Score Prediction: Atlanta 30, New England 24
Stally on why the Patriots will win:
I'm not buying into Austen's "under the radar" claim about the Falcons offense. That offense got plenty of props for scoring the most points in the league. The unit that didn't get any credit is the Patriots defense, which gave up the fewest amount of points in the league at 15.6 points/game (more than two less than the closest team).
Defense wins championship and that's where this game will be decided. Despite not having Tom Brady for four games (and getting shutout in one of those), the Patriots still finished third in the league in points scored, so the Falcons don't have as significant of an offensive advantage as Austen has hinted. But the Patriots do have a significant advantage on defense, as the Falcons ranked 27th in points against and gave up 9.8 points more per game than the Patriots defense. Good luck trying to stop the most experienced Super Bowl quarterback in history.
Which brings me to my final point: experience is a huge advantage for New England. This will be the seventh, yes, seventh, Super Bowl appearance for the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Austen, for some reason, tried to liken the Broncos to the Falcons in a game that Denver lost 43-8. I'll keep that comparison going with Atlanta, as both teams were making Super Bowl appearances for the first time in a generation.
The Broncos came back two years later to win the Super Bowl. Why? Because they were inexperienced and then gained that experience by getting their butts kicked. I'm not saying that the Falcons will get beat that badly, but they will be more jittery and inexperienced when the Patriots. When New England is starting to flex its muscle on both sides of the ball, Atlanta will struggle and the Patriots will take advantage.
Score Prediction: New England 34, Atlanta 27